Chairman of the Imo State PDP chapter, Barr. Eze Duru-Iheoma recently granted an interview to Leadership News. Read excerpts from the interview.
What is your assessment of Okorocha’s government?
My honest assessment, it is a government full of motion without movement. You may see people trying to pretend to be doing things and you ask what those things are for? You see so many elephant projects, you see heroes square, Ojukwu’s square, at the end of the day the question is, how do these things affect the lives of ordinary people. And the essence of government is to try to improve the lives of the people not to build skyscrapers and all sorts of fancy things. How has it impacted on the economy of the state?
Are you saying that projects like mega city project, free education to tertiary level are not laudable?
Let me take this university free education. It is an idea conceived in confusion. From day one, the proponents of this idea were not sure what they wanted to achieve. That is why from time to time they kept amending it. Initially it was free education for every Imo child, in order to ensure that something is got out it, it now became free education only for Imo students at the Imo State University. Well you will agree with me that you find Imo students all over the universities or tertiary institutions in Nigeria. So why do you single out Imo State University or Michael Okpara College of Agriculture. They are the only people to benefit from the programme, why? As if that is not enough, look at the modality for benefiting from that programme, it’s full of confusion. Pay N50, 000 here you go to a traditional ruler and do this, is that how to run a programme? It lacks credibility, the programme is not transparent and it is dubious in the extreme. And of course the students who are supposed to benefit from this programme are the people complaining so what I am telling you now is what I heard from them. So who is deceiving who? Now what other things are you talking about, mega cities; see, these are grandiose plans and I think a child should first walk before he runs. You don’t just get up one morning and do this, people naturally get there. There will come a time Imo State will grow, Owerri will grow and when Owerri grows of course it will over flow and overflowing is before long you wont know the difference between Owerri and Orlu, between Owerri and Okigwe, that is what mega city is all about. It is a process of natural growth, it’s not something you impose, it’s not something you create by fiat.
This school in Wetheral Road, it looks impressive and it’s one of the projects this administration has accomplished, how do you look at that?
You see, PDP we are not sadists, we are not cynics who never see anything good. When we see a good thing we say it and when we see a bad thing we say it. When you talk about a new school, now in the context of education and schools development in Imo state, I, as a person, and I’m sure PDP also, we want a general development of our schools. Don’t forget that every school or most schools today until recently belong to government. Until certain school were handed over to their former proprietors otherwise every school in Imo state at a time belong to the government. So if every school belongs to government it therefore means that government has an equal responsibility to every school in this state. You can therefore not look at government achievement in the educational sector in terms of one beautiful set of building, it’s wrong. Our schools are falling, the infrastructure is simply not there, that’s what we’ve been talking about.
Sir, the other time it was reported that this administration has penciled some of your members for appointment as sole administrators. What’s the true position?
Well, all that I will put down to rumour. To start with, the government was told in very clear, very unmistakable language that it has no power to appoint sole administrators or transition chairman to run the affairs of any local government, it doesn’t have the power to do that. And our position is, tow the path of the rule of law, we cannot allow any of our members to be part of any illegal contraption. Solad, transition chairman and all that, and in any case the tenure of the elected local government council chairmen is still running. That is what the courts are being called upon to look into, so we cannot undermine the same effort. It will be so unreasonable, we will not do that.
Sir what’s your take on this community government council?
We have said so many things against that contraption. In any case, recently the stakeholders of this party took a definite stand on it and advised every community to resist it because all over the world government is getting slimmer. And how does government get slimmer, by withdrawing from the lives of the people. Government all over the world, in America in this recently concluded presidential election the debate was slimmer government and bigger government. How do you achieve slimmer government by getting government withdraw from so many activities affecting the people. Allow the people to run their lives. So when government starts getting involved in the affairs of communities that is a sure recipe for chaos. Government has no business interfering in the way communities run their affairs. Most communities before now were running the best administrations anybody could imagine. That was why they could give themselves so many things government could not have given them. So if they were able to do all these things with the kind of administration they had for themselves why would you fault it. Why would government want to impose a town union in a community? Why would the government want to tell the people how to run their affairs? Why.
What do you think is the way forward because you are a stakeholder here? Is it enough to say this is not right or we don’t want this, what is the way forward?
The way forward is to discourage government from going ahead with those anti people policies. We’ve said it loud and clear; please desist from all these things that are capable of destabilizing our communities. You can imagine the acrimony building up in the communities because of this their CGC. I know about two or three communities that are in court over it, is it necessary, dissipating energy over nothing.
The elected council chairmen went to court, what is the party doing about the matter?
What is the party doing? I think the question should be thrown at the government. What is the government doing in order to resolve this impasse? And if you ask me, I tell you nothing to the best of my knowledge. It is not for the party to plead with the government to come and resolve this matter; it is the government that ought to reach out to the party.
What is the party doing about the decamping of PDP members in the State House of Assembly?
What happened in the House of Assembly is well known history now. What happened was, immediately after the election the government of Imo State cajoled PDP members who were in the majority, cajoled four of them and dangled carrot of whatever before them and they got them decamp to APGA.
Of course, what they did is unconstitutional and the law is very clear. The law says a member of the House of Assembly shall vacate his seat if he leaves the party that sponsored his election during the time of the span of that House and joins another party. So, it’s automatic, you do this, look at the consequence and that’s what we have.
Source: Leadership News