Ihedioha: Unearthing Okorocha's landmines in Imo

By Valentine Amanze

On May 29, 2019 the mantle of leadership in Imo State fell on Chief Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from Owelle Rochas Okorocha of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
During his inaugural speech, Governor Ihedioha re-echoed what was the obvious in the state: His predecessor left empty treasury and a high debt profile. Earlier, Okorocha
had announced that he left behind N42.2 billion for the new government to start on a solid foundation.
Precisely, on April 5, 2019, Okorocha inaugurated boards of 38 parastatals, advising them "not to fear over possible dissolution by the incoming government" and "to deploy their wealth of experience to ensure that they bring the desired results in their respective boards and parastatals."
Besides, Okorocha hurridly inaugurated a six-man committee, headed by Prof. Chima Iwuchukwu, to set up six new universities, two colleges of education and four polytechnics, which he claimed were fully ready to resume academic activities. Very laughable.
As if that was not enough, two days before he left office, Okorocha appointed new accountant general and 15 new permanent secretaries.
He also advised the new governor to utilize the N42.2 billion, which he claimed he saved, on the payment of the state’s mounting debts including payment of gratuities, pension arears and salaries.
Of course, government is a continuum. The state debts must be paid irrespective of who is at the helm of the affairs.
While Okorocha did not make a proper handover to the new government, he should be ready, if invited, to explain certain decisions he made while in office.
But I feel appalled on why Okorocha decided to appoint and swear-in new officers in the eve of his departure. Does he think that Ihedioha would leave the statuesque especially when he failed to co-oporate with him for a smooth transition to the new government.
Okorocha’s new appointments in the state were at best to set up traps for Ihedioha’s failure. Why did he appoint a new accountant general and others if not to cause confusion and disaffection? Were there really vacancies?
If Okorocha had about N42.2 billion in the coffers of the state government, why was he oweing salaries, if not for wickedness?
The truth of the matter is that Okorocha was a failed project in Imo State. He never thought his regime would end one day. Therefore there was no need for him to plan for tomorrow.
It is also worthy of note that he had some positives especially in education.
While he would not be taken serious on finance management and the existence of new universities, polythecnics and colleges of education, his free education at all levels remains a legacy that must continue and improved upon.
It is however obvious that Okorocha has laid landmines for Ihedioha’s failure with his hurriedly assembled jesters and high debt portfolio.
But with the caliber of technocrats that would work with Ihedioha, the new government would not be a prey to Okorocha’s landmines.
But while executing his own projects for the Imo people,
Ihedioha must re-examine seriously the privatization of government parastatals and investments by the immediate past government. It was alleged that most of the government’s properties were sold at ridiculous amount to some government officials under Okorocha’s supervision.
Again, Chief Ihedioha, beware of sycophants and hypocrites in the state.

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