The Chief Press Secretary to Governor Emeka Ihedioha of Imo State, Mr Chibuike Onyeukwu, has claimed that the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo [SAN] was wooed into commissioning uncompleted projects by the immediate past governor of the state, Senator Rochas Okorocha.
Mr. Onyeukwu stated this during an interview with Punch on Sunday, saying that Okorocha did not complete any state project in his eight-year rule,
Below are excerpts of the interview:
“The head of the Financial Advisory Committee, Dr Abraham Nwankwo, is in a better position to answer this question because he has the details. However, as contained in his interim report, there was a particular bank that operated 150 accounts for the governor. This was contained in the interim report, but I will advise that you get details of the account names from the committee.”
“The truth is that the former governor, Rochas Okorocha, did not do anything in the state when he was at the helm of affairs. All he did was to plunder the state treasury for the eight years he presided over the affairs of the state.
“At the moment, you cannot ply a single kilometre of road in the state without potholes. There was no single project that was successfully completed.
“For the past eight years under his watch, the state declined in the education sector. In terms of West Africa School Certificate Examination, Joint Admission and Matriculation Board and the National Examination Council Examinations, Imo State, which used to come within the top three, has been relegated.
“If you examine the World Bank rating on the ease of doing business, the state ranks 34 out of 36 states in the country- that simply explains everything. In the health sector, there is no single functional hospital in the state. The only functioning hospital in the state is the Federal Medical Centre. There is no functional health centre or primary healthcare centre across the state. I challenge him to come back to the state to prove us wrong.
“I wish he could take journalists and stakeholders to show them the projects he executed while in office. So, when we say he did not do anything, he (Okorocha) knows he did not do anything. He accessed the bailout funds, the Paris Club Refund and did not use the funds for the purpose they were meant for.
“He did not pay civil servants or pensioners. As we speak, pensioners in the state are owed 77 months. The local government system is moribund, it does not exist. Since June when we came in, the LGAs have started receiving their allocations directly without state interference- this never happened under Okorocha.
“If you have the opportunity, come to the Imo State Government House to see for yourself how Rochas Okorocha left the edifice in ruins. The only projects ex-governor Okorocha completed were those belonging to his family or cronies, there is no single state project that he started and completed.”
“One of the projects the Vice President came to inaugurate was the Mother and Child Care Centre; I can tell you confidently that the project was not completed when that inauguration was done.
“The so-called seats in the Imo International Exhibition Centre that was also inaugurated had been removed. They were all rented seats.
“By the time the project started, most Imo indigenes were wondering what the project stood for, it was just a few months to his leaving office that he gave nomenclature to that project, especially when he discovered that he had nothing to show on the ground. So, we wonder the motive behind most of his projects across the state.”
“Come to Imo State to see things for yourself. It is not as if we are playing politics with these revelations, they are real. We are just trying to intervene now in some of his failed projects. But I can assure you that it will be better to come and see things for yourself and draw your conclusions.”
“As of March 2019, the state owed N103bn. The committee set up by the governor, the Financial Advisory Committee, led by Abraham Nwankwo, is still at work. These statistics I am disclosing now is from the Debt Management Office.
“We are not talking about the ones owed contractors and others that had business with that administration. We also have about $70m owed in foreign currency as of March too.
“Remember that immediately he (ex-governor Okorocha) left office, an absolute garnishee order was filed on him and the latest as at last week has brought the total debt to over N30bn; this is just judgment debt.
“This tells you the kind of administration we had in Imo State under Okorocha. Not just a single project was supervised by the Ministry of Works under Okorocha, everything was conceived and done by him (Okorocha).”