Gov Okorocha, Iwu At War Over Poor State Of Imo Economy
Governor Rochas Okorocha is now at war with Prof Maurice Iwu, former National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Chairman of Imo Economic Development Initiative (IEDI), over the claim of the latter that Imo State’s economy has taken a nosedive under the watch of Governor Okorocha.
In a letter to the Governor by the IEDI dated January 5, 2018 and signed by its Chairman, the group said they were concerned that the domestic debt of the state has risen from N26bn in 2011 to N93.27bn as at 31 December 2016.
“We aware concerned about the rising domestic debt. As at 1st December 2016, according to the Debt Management Office, Imo State was owing 93.27 Billion Naira, up from 26 Billion in 2011”, said the group.
The IEDI also took a swipe at the projects of the Governor, saying that they are not sustainable. They said: “A review of the State’s sustainable index, a report which profiles the viabilecononyand sustainability of states shows that Imo State ranked number 22 in the whole of the country, a marked decline from the 17th position it occupied on the same index three years ago (2015)”.
According to the group, Imo State under Governor Okorocha has failed in the Ease of Doing Business in the country as the state ranks 34th out of 36. The IEDI also lampooned the Governor on the poor state of what they called legacy industries, saying: “We are concerned about the poor contribution of legacy industries to job creation efforts, despite considerable government investment in these industries. These legacy industries include Adapalm, Standard Shoe, Cardboard and Packaging, and Resin and Paint Industry”.
IEDI also condemned the Governor for his inability to attract funds from multilateral funding and donor agencies, noting that in the past funds from those agencies were useful in funding government projects.
The Prof led group which said they had held a meeting with the Governor on the issues also condemned the Governor on his Mass Transit policy, saying that the transportation challenges in the state “have been heightened by the stopping of tricycles from plying the major roads without the provision of an adequate alternative means of mass transit”.
But in a quick reaction, Governor Okorocha agreed that a meeting was held in the Government House Owerri with IEDI and that the issue of the debt profile of the state was raises by the group, saying that he does not owe any bank.
“However, on the debt issue the governor said his administration does not owe any bank anywhere in the country or outside. That, the N93 billion was an accumulated debts right from the creation of the State in 1976. And remarked that he has managed the debt profile of the State as governor and that is the reason some States with high IGR and allocations owe N241 billion, N155 billion, N140 billion, N311 billion, N157 billion, N142, billion respectively as shown in the record of Debt Management office as at December 2016, but regretted that the Prof. Iwu group only picked Anambra State in comparism with Imo, leaving many other States owing from N100 billion to N241 billion”, Governor Okorocha said through a press release by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Sam Onwuemeodo.
“The governor concluded by Challenging the team to compile all his achievements and the achievements of all those before him to see whether his repeated claim that the achievements of his administration have exceeded the achievements of all those before him since the creation of the State in 1976 both Military and Civilian put together.
“The governor added that the ban of Keke Operations in the State Capital was one of the reasons there was no report of any crime in the State throughout the Christmas and New Year celebrations. And then urged them to support his administration because it meant well for the State and her people”, said the press release.
The IEDI was also accused of disclosing details of meeting held with the Governor, saying that “On all that was discussed at the meeting, the government believed that they were not for public consumption or for the media since it was agreed that such meeting should be held from time to time”.
The Governor regretted that “in less than forty-eight hours, the story of the meeting was everywhere in the media with some of them quoting from the document Prof. Iwu read. Which means the team released the document they came with to the Press. And by so doing, justifying the initial observations of the governor concerning the timing of the meeting and the political inclinations and aspirations of the key members of the team.
“For that reason, we do not think that Prof. Iwu and his team deserve our respect again having abused the highly concentrated respect we had extended to them, since one does not eat his cake and still have it.
“We have always maintained that the 2019 election will be left for Imo people to decide at the Poll with regard to who will govern the State after Governor Okorocha. It is not by tricks. We have our achievements to show the difference between us and all those before us. And they know that it will be difficult for Imo people not to listen to Rochas when the time comes with regard to his monumental achievements. It is going to be achievements galore versus propaganda stuff. And your guess will be as good as mine on the one that would mean much to Imo people when the time comes”, said the Governor.