Open frank letter to Governor Rochas Okorocha – By Aku Obidinma

As a citizen of our great Imo state, I write you this letter as you celebrate your golden jubilee birthday as our Executive Governor. Firstly I wish to express my profound gratitude to the almighty God for granting you a successful and fulfilling life which has culminated into your emergence as our Governor at this momentous time of our history in the journey to democracy.

I therefore join other millions of your well wishers in wishing you a happy birthday and many happy returns. However, this auspicious occasion Your Excellency has elicited the need for concerned citizens like me to write you this frank letter as a citizen’s view of your administration so far.

Your Excellency as you are aware, your election enjoyed the greatest goodwill and support ever from the citizens of Imo state which resulted in your consequent burning desire to better the lives of Imo people through your interesting pre and post election promises and policies such as free education, job creation, massive road construction, infrastructural development, etc. The extents to which these promises have been achieved so far remain an issue begging for understanding by the citizens. The fact that the speeches and body language of Your Excellency points to an intention for development of Imo state cannot be over emphasized, yet such should also be properly discerned and analyzed to determine the veracity of this intent or otherwise.

I will start in this appraisal by appreciating Your Excellency’s efforts in ensuring that your promised free education scheme is able to kick off at least at both the primary and secondary schools not minding the hiccups associated with it so far, however I hope that this program will be effectively upgraded to the higher institutions this September as promised by Your Excellency. I am particularly happy that Your Excellency has stopped the idea of sharing N100 monthly to pupils in the primary schools monthly as such makes no meaning to the development of these children but rather portends a great danger of love for money habit into these near tabula rasa minds.

Moreso I wish to draw the attention of Your Excellency to the low quality of education characterizing our public schools as a result of poor infrastructure and low motivation of teachers and other school administrators. Your Excellency should also re examine the decision of the Government to hand over some public schools to missions as this has led to the closure of some notable schools in some communities who have refused to relinquish such schools to the said missions.

As you are aware Your Excellency, Imo state churns out the highest number of graduates in Nigeria and as such there is a paramount need for the Government to embark on projects and creation of incentives that will lead to job creation in the state.  In your maiden broadcast Your Excellency harped on your plan to revive the moribund Avutu modern poultry, Imo shoe Industry, Adapalm, Oguta lake tourism center and many more which in near two years of the Government nothing has yet happened. It is therefore burdened on Your Excellency to ensure that these projects which can have rippling employment creation impact in the economy of the state are given urgent attention. I also wish to draw the attention of Your Excellency to the need for the construction of an independent power plant which will serve as security for our economic prosperity in the future since power is the basic for economic development. I also wish Your Excellency will look into the setting up of cottage industries, and promotion of small scale enterprises as well as encouragement for co operative ventures in the state as needed incentives for job creation.

The relationship between the state government and our elected federal law makers also gives me worry as a citizen. There seem to be no synergy between these two bodies and the result is the lack of federal presence in the state so far in the last two years. I therefore encourage Your Excellency as the father of the state to initiate this needed cooperation to ensure that our state benefits begins to attract adequate federal presence especially now that our son is the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives to complement your development efforts.

A very serious issue I intend to draw Your Excellency’s attention to is the non existence of a 2012 fiscal year budget in the state. I am very worried as a citizen on how Your Excellency has been able to run the state fiscally in 2012 even as we approach the month of October without a budget yet in place. The continuous use of a budget draft estimate in governing Imo state for over six months runs contrary not only to our constitution but also to the simple knowledge of economics, since the budget is meant to guide the spending, income and subsequent retires of same. I therefore pray Your Excellency to immediately ensure that a fiscal law by way of budget for 2012 is passed as other states are now working on their 2013 budgets.

Once again I wish to reiterate my commendation of Your Excellency’s desire for rapid development of infrastructure and roads in the state, however the poor organization of this motive has created untold hardship to the citizens. The indiscriminate and unselected pattern with which road construction was embarked upon by Your Excellency with meager funds cannot be said to be too well. As a citizen I would prefer road construction to have been done on priority bases in relation to available funds by reputable and known construction firms other than what I see now where lawyers and shop sellers are constructing roads without bills of quantity nor duly signed contract papers. Though Your Excellency has promised to tackle these roads as soon as the rains ceases, it will suffice it to inform you that Imo is now invested with bad roads in every corner of the state. At the smallest drop of rain this days Owerri is held stand still by hold ups while people now trek home.

A very serious concern here is the disappearance of the state mass transit luxury buses acquired by the previous administration from the roads. These buses to a large extent helped to ease the transportation challenges in the state but suddenly we do not see them anymore and people now trek how from the town to the satellite villages where the buses were designated to ply especially during the rain. Your Excellency has to address this issue swiftly as the people are now suffering a lot as a result of this.

It is no more a secret that those whom Your Excellency entrusted with the assignment of keeping the state clean, especially Owerri the capital city has performed abysmally. Owerri city which prided as the cleanest city in Nigeria is now turning to a garbage haven. Refuse is now littered indiscriminately all over the town with some refuse dumps staying over a week with its overflow before evacuation. The more annoying of it is that such delayed evacuation exercise is done with disruption of traffic for hours which affect economic activities on such roads and areas. It is pertinent that Your Excellency at this time will review the entire sanitation plan and strategy of the present regime to ensure that Imo regains her place of pride in the comity of states.

 

As a youth who has been on the streets for so long in the course of activism and quest for good governance in our society right from my University days in the mid 90’s, I shall not forget to remind your Excellency of Your dwindling popularity amongst the youths in the state. This shrink in Your Excellency’s popularity cannot be separated from the emperoic and dichotomic style adopted in coordinating issues concerning the Youths by Your Excellency’s Commissioner for Youths and sports.

It is a known fact that the Hon. Commissioner for Youth and sports Mr. Kenneth Emelue has failed in motivating and mobilizing a unified Imo Youth in support the government, rather what we have seen is his continued sectionalization of youths in the line of “Agenda youth” and “Non Agenda youth”. There has never been a time when youths of this state have remained idle and defocused more than now because the peanutal subventions which dates back to the Mbakwe regime given to youth organizations to aide their various activities which help to keep them busy has been stopped by the present regime under  Mr. Emelu Kenneth.

Moreso the youths of the state presently have no justified representation at the National youth parliament as it is only the Commissioner’s wards who nepotically are doing so as against the election of three youths, one each from the three zones of the state to serve in this capacity. Even representations and participation of Imo youths in international seminars and training sponsored by the ministry of youths and sports to the chagrin of Imo youths has virtually remained an exclusive preserve of the commissioner’s kiths and kin. His tenure has been one of ineptitude which necessitates urgent action as Your Excellency stand the risk of transferred aggression from the youths as a result of the actions of the commissioner.

In conclusion I once more wish Your Excellency many happy returns on Your 50th birthday which you incidentally choose to celebrate in America and pray that Your Excellency will see my letter not from the Nigerian traditional political eyes of partisanship or opposition but rather from that of a true citizen who is interested in nothing but good governance and the success of Your Excellency’s regime.

Thanks and God Bless.

Comr. Aku Obidinma (Abdul)


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