The Supreme Court Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma on Monday, April 27th, 2020 in a broadcast to the people of the state to commemorate the administration’s 100 days in office raised issues that were lamentably tinged with implicit and explicit fallacies, misconceptions and deceits aimed at either to usurp or refute the uncommon accomplishments and profound footprints of the short-lived People’s Democratic Party (PDP) government and Rebuild Imo Administration headed by Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, CON .
This unfortunate development is viewed by the Rebuild Imo Team and the vast majority of Imolites with worry and resentment thereby necessitating this response desirable to set the record straight to ensure that truth prevails.
The misconceived issues and the reactions of Rebuild Imo Team are accordingly and specifically contained as follows:
In the broadcast, Uzodinma stated that he inherited a sorry state of affairs on assumption of office on January, 15th 2020. This is obsessive falsehood and inconsistent with comments credited to him on assumption of duty.
In his maiden broadcast, Uzodinma promised Imolites that he would continue with the governance structure, roadmap and foundation laid by Ihedioha government.
Consequently, he has been struggling to clone Ihedioha Vision. Moreover, In the same speech he used to commemorate his 100 days in office he reiterated his tendency to continue with the 25 roads projects commenced by Ihedioha administration. In this realization, it is illogical to claim that he inherited a sorry state of affairs. Besides, it is on record that Ihedioha administration was appraised as the best overall performing state in ICT Development by the National Council on Digital Economy.
It was also ranked as the fastest growing economy in Nigeria by Business Day Newspapers, a leading economic journal given the manner the administration revitalized and reformed all the key sectors of Imo economy within seven months.
Uzodinma told Imolites that he has restored his stolen mandate through the Supreme Court.
This is laughable because the only recognized mandate that needs to be reinstated is the one Imo electorate collectively bequeathed to Ihedioha on March 9, 2019 through the electoral process.
His claim that he inherited an empty treasury is another fallacy and malice that must be addressed.
Let him therefore tell the good people of Imo State how he was able to pay salary of workers in January and to offset other government expenses.
It is on record that within the seven months Ihedioha administration lasted the government never borrowed a kobo and yet it was able to undertake huge infrastructural development projects including the reconstruction and rehabilitation of 25 roads.
It is regrettable that in less than three months Uzodinma government has borrowed billions of naira without concrete achievements to showcase after 100 days
It is largely deceptive for Uzodinma to state that he inherited a civil service that was disillusioned, disoriented and dispirited. This is because within 100 days in office, Ihedioha administration commenced tangible reform of the civil service.
Consequently, the government increased the salary of workers from 70 to 100 percent and regularized and standardized the monthly payment structure of staff towards restoring the dignity of workers and motivating them for enhanced productivity. The backlog of the local governments’ workers salaries were also cleared.
The regime also addressed recruitment, promotion, appointment, disengagement and other problems in the civil service through a committee set up to look into the avalanche of petitions that inundated government and impacted adversely on the civil service. The whitepaper on the committee’s report was painstakingly considered by the Council in December, 2019.
Contrary to Uzodinma’s claim that his government did not get hand over note from Ihedioha administration; in his farewell statement, January 18th 2020, Ihedioha directed all his principal officers, LGAs Interim Management Committee heads and members, Commissioners, and other aides to undertake a comprehensive hand over to the incoming government.
He also directed those who were in possession of government vehicles to return them accordingly. This directive was absolutely complied with.
Moreover, the Principal Secretary to Ihedioha, Head of Service and the Accountant General in Ihedioha administration equally worked with Uzodinma’s new government and were in the position to fill necessary hand over gaps.
It is inaccurate, fraudulent and misleading for Uzodinma to also claim in his speech that the public sector was riddled with corruption and fraud when he assumed duty. At the commencement of his administration, Ihedioha took concrete steps to curb corruption in public service.
He abolished 250 government accounts and introduced Treasury Single Account (TSA) towards plugging financial leakages in the public sector and to ensure that there was accountability, transparency, openness and zero corruption in government business. Besides, he revitalized the moribund Bureau of Public Procurement and reinforced derelict Ease of Doing Business Desk in order to enthrone due process, confidence building and trust in government business. Imo under Ihedioha also adopted International Public Sector Accounting Standards ( IPAS).
These far-reaching modifications earned Imo under Ihedioha’s watch a preeminent award as the least corrupted state in the country by the National Bureau of Statistics and other relevant international development agencies based on survey carried out in the 36 states of the federation during the second half of 2019. In addition, multilateral organizations such as USAID, Water Aid, World Bank, AFRIXIM Bank and a host of others expressed penetrating interest to do business with Ihedioha government.
It is also preposterous and filthy for Uzodinma to deceive Imolites with the flawed claim that he restored power and water to the State Secretariat and rehabilitated Otamiri Water Scheme in Owerri municipal. Imolites are fully aware that all of these were achieved during Ihedioha’s administration.
The records are incontrovertible and verifiable. Ihedioha administration reconnected the secretariat to the national grid on September 14th 2019 through the Imo Power and Rural Electrification Agency established by him on September 8 2019 to extend power supply to Imo communities.
Similarly, Ihedioha-led government reinstated the Otamiri Water Scheme in September with USAID’s financial assistance after making available the counterpart fund
Besides, Uzodinma displayed increased absurdities and illogicalities with his claim that the state now saves N2b monthly through the application of BVN security to the salary of individual workers and his ostensible clamp down on ghost workers. It is whimsically amusing and inconceivable that a state that has a monthly wage bill of N2.5b will be saving N2b monthly from ghost workers. The implication is that Uzodinma government has mystically brought down the wage bill of the over 56,000 workers from N2.5b to N 500m. He has thus saved N6b from workers salary in the past three months. The compelling questions therefore include: Why has his administration been unable to pay workers regularly? Why has he been borrowing to run the government?
Consequently, we challenge Uzodinma to publish what the wage bill of the state was under Ihedioha and what it is now for Imo people to judge for themselves. It is however important to add that Ihedioha administration genuinely undertook workers biometric verification exercise and introduced clock- in- clock- out as veritable measures to check the ghost workers menace.
Uzodinma’s assertion that his administration raised the monthly Internally Generated Revenue of the state from N600m to N1.2b amounts to brazen and flagrant misrepresentation of a well-documented income data of a state, unfitting of a governor. The unassailable truth is that Ihedioha administration, at inception in May 29, 2019 met the IGR at N250m and scaled it up to N1.187b as at December 31st , 2019.
Ihedioha stated this articulately in his January 1st 2020 State Broadcast on paragraph 2.7 that the IGR had risen to over N1b. This was made possible through the introduction of TSA, strengthening of existing revenue sources and strategic creation of new revenue frontiers.
Contrary to Uzodinma’s allegation in the speech, Ihedioha did not really make use of consultants in the revenue generation drive and this significantly accounted for the huge success the administration recorded within a short time.
Uzodinma should therefore prove that his government has added to the IGR figure Ihedioha left behind
Again and again Uzodinma lied to Imo people by informing them that his administration tackled flooding challenge in Owerri. A government that was inaugurated during the dry season like Uzodinma’s regime cannot lay claim to grappling with flooding that is yet to manifest. Ihedioha administration came into existence at the peak of the rainy season. The submerged nature of Owerri at that time forced him to take extensive steps towards confronting the situation.
Through ENTRACO, the government desilted Owerri Municipal towards galvanizing the blocked drainage system and it yielded desired results. The government also mobilized relevant professionals who brought their expertise to bear in combating Owerri flooding.
It is also imperative to straighten the record on the issue of the vehicles Uzodinma distributed to the permanent secretaries. In contrast to the impression intrinsic in the speech, the vehicles were procured by Ihedioha administration shortly before the government was forced to step down through the Supreme Court’s fraudulent and controversial ruling. The records are available.
Similarly, Uzodinma’s statement that his administration has revived ADPALM and is currently producing 300,000 metric tonnes of oil daily is not only deceptive but figment of his imagination which speaks volumes of the character of the person at the helm of Imo affairs. In all thoroughness and frankness, Ihedioha administration undertook a considerable percentage of the rehabilitation process.
The truth is that production is yet to commence. This can easily be verified
Uzodinma’s allegation that Ihedioha administration appropriated N800m in the 2020 Budget for the renovation of the Governor’s Office is a sham and smacks of ignorance. There is no such subhead.
It is also condescending and incorrect for Uzodinma to contend in the speech that some of the contractors handling the 25 roads projects initiated by Ihedioha have absconded. None of them has withdrawn. The truth is that the work so far undertaken by most of the contractors has surpassed the initial payment made by Ihedioha administration.
Accordingly, the contractors are waiting for further payment from the present administration to enable them continue with the projects .Besides, all the contractors engaged by Ihedioha have bank guarantee and insurance cover which would hamstring them from abandoning the work.
Hon.(Barr.) Uche Onyeagucha,
Secretary to Government of Imo State (Emeritus)