About a month and half ago, the news of the concession of the state hospitals to a Muslim hospital management firm based in Abuja broke. Until the news broke, Imolites had no inkling that their commonwealth in health service industry were on the concession block and therefore, were quite surprised. Some where angry at the development, and even some did not believe the news, until the commissioner for health confirmed the news. The development has lead to numerous rumour of other Imo people’s commonwealth either conceded, sold, or currently on the block for auction, or concession.
There are rumours as to the sale or concession of Concorde Hotel, sale or concession of the refurbished State Assembly quarters built by Dee Mbakwe. Furthermore, it is rumoured that the even the State Secretariat on Port Harcourt Road, built by His Excellency Achike Udenwa is also under the auction block for concession or outright sale. Some even currently believe that Adapalm has also been conceded or sold. These Rumours should worry every Imo citizen and the Rescue Mission Administration.
We pride ourselves that we leave in a democracy. And the leader of Rescue Mission administration, His Excellency Owelle Rochas Okorocha reminds us all in most of his public address that his Government is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. If this is not propaganda rhetoric, then the government should come out and clear these rumours by answering the following questions with facts and evidence:
First, was the concession of the State hospitals done by open bidding to at least allow our sons and daughters, who are doctors given the opportunity to partake in the concession of our commonwealth?
Secondly, why was the Imo House of Assembly not allowed the opportunity to debate such concession in a democracy, since they are the representatives of the people of Imo State?
Thirdly, if the concession was a planned affair, it must mean that Imo government believes that a private hospital management firm is better placed to deliver an efficient healthcare delivery service to the people of Imo State. If that is then the case, why is the Government spending the state limited resources in the construction of new hospitals in each of the 27 local government councils of the State? Does the Rescue Mission Government of the State believe that the construction of these new hospitals does add any value to the State?
Furthermore, the rumour going around in the State is that not only was the State hospitals conceded to a Muslim hospital management firm, but the new hospitals under construction in each of the 27 local government areas of the state, a northern Muslim is also handling these contracts?
If this allegation is true, does it mean that no locally owned construction company can undertake the building of these hospital structures? By the way, was there any open bidding process for these contract jobs as required by Law? These questions Imo people would want to know the answers from the government.
Additionally, what exactly is the commercialization policy of Imo Rescue Mission? Local Newspapers reporters broke the news few weeks ago, that some construction equipments of the State Ministry of Works were silently sold to an Ideato businessman on Okigwe Road. The Deputy Governor did rescind the sale due to the controversy generated by such a silent sale of the people’s commonwealth. Yet the rumour persists that the entire assets of IRROMA, valued at 12.5 billion by the United Nations Development Agency may have been sold under the commercialization policy. Imo people would want to know whether these rumours are true. Has the IRROMA assets of Imo State been sold? And if so who are the buyers and how much was realized from the sales? Was the sale of these enormous state assets at least done in the open by open bidding?
Presently, on all local radio stations, there is a jingle by ENTRACO informing shop owners and market men and women to go to ENTRACO office and purchase a garbage bucket at N3,000.00 Naira. The past administration of Ikedi Ohakim purchased thousands of garbage buckets which is said to have surfaced in FMC Nassarawa, and Lagos Island. The question to Rescue Mission government of Imo State is whether these Garbage buckets were also sold in furtherance of the commercialization policy of Rescue Mission Government.
If the Ohakim’s administration provided these garbage buckets at no cost to the citizen, why is rescue mission charging N3,000.00 Naira for a Garbage bucket, when any citizen could purchase the same from plastic container dealers at about N500 per bucket? Isn’t this official racketeering by Rescue Mission Government?
Recently, the long municipal buses acquired by the previous administration to aid transportation of citizens have completely disappeared. The 27 Hilux pick-up trucks meant for each local government IRROMA engineers have completely disappeared from view. Even the carcasses of these assets are not even visible in any of our state’s terrain. The rumour that they have all been sold as part of Rescue Mission Governments commercialization policy persists. Please can any official of Rescue Mission Government of the State clarify the air on these rumours?
Finally, little over a year and half ago, the major thoroughfares of the capital city of the heartland of the Igbo nation were very well lite from dusk to dawn everyday. Owerri was well lite because the previous Government purchased tenths or hundreds of generators to ensure that the capital city of the heartland state of the IGBO Nation was never in darkness. But darkness has returned to Owerri under Rescue Mission. Consequently, adding criminality and all kinds of vices because as they say “evil thrives in darkness”. The rumours in the state is that Owerri has remained in perpetual darkness because these generators purchased by the previous administration have all be sold pursuant to the commercialization policy of this administration. Is this true? If not, what is responsible for keeping Owerri in the dark? But if it is true, how much was realized from the sales of these generators. Was due process obeyed in the sales by subjecting such sales to a public auction?
I raise these questions for our Government because our people say“Akpata atufuo anagi ejiya aba ogaranya”. If the government does not publicly answer these questions, then there is no way Imo could be better under rescue mission. These are very serious issues raised by these questions and they do not only need answers but proof from the government that Imo is not on the auction block it is not necessarily a bad thing but when our commonwealth is secretly and silently sold without due process, then we do not know whether the seller and the buyer is one and the same. Such a situation is evil. For Imo to be better we must make every effort as citizens to return Imo in the hands of God and it must start with our leaders.
DR. KELECHI OKPALAEKE