Last weekend, the Senior Special Assistant to Sen. Hope Uzodinma on Public Enlightenment, Mr. Standford Arinze Nwokedi revealed that the administration was “frustrating” Imo Contractors who were awarded jobs under the Ihedioha’s brief administration because the former governor inflated rates by awarding Ten (10) pieces of primary school desks at the sum of Four Million Naira (N4m). See his screenshot Facebook post.
This was in his response to my observations in my article that he lacked temperament balance on how to run his office following his juandised posts and persistent threats to people apposed to his views.
As a journalist with no contract attachment whatsoever (and I challenge anyone to show evidence that I have any contract from Ihedioha), the revelation by the government’s publicist shocked me to the marrow. Gov. Emeka Ihedioha must go to jail if he did actually award the construction of ten primary school desks at the rate of N4m!
I then decided to carry out my private investigations. I reached out to contractors and some staff at the IMSUBEB. I demanded for their contracts award letters and read through documented evidences. What I discovered was a complete lie and another blackmail coming from the APC/Uzodinma-led government against the Chief Emeka Ihedioha. (Please see attached contract paper).
The contract specification is “supply and delivery of 100 pieces of 4-seater desks…with thick HDF top surface wood…with high quality hollow steel pipe..all in accordance with IMSUBEB specified specification” at the contract sum of N4M.
What happened is that Gov. Ihedioha through the Imo State’s Universal Basic Education Board (IMSUBEB) had approved the awards of contracts for rehabilitations, constructions, provisions of school desks, boreholes, etc in schools in Imo state.
Information available to me show that the entire process followed Due Process and most Contractors have almost delivered on their jobs and processing payments before the sack of Ihedioha in January. However, on assuming office, Sen. Hope Uzodinma is now seeking to cancel these jobs for reasons unknown to the contractors and even staff of IMSUBEB.
But through the statement on his Facebook account, his aide has informed that it was because Ihedioha awarded ten pieces of desks to contractors at the rate of N4M. This is blatant lie from the government as can be seen from the letter.
Like I have noted above, I am not a contractor, but I have friends, enemies, associates, opponents, brothers and sisters who are fellow Imolites, and some of them are even members of the present APC Government and legislators who bidded and won contracts for these jobs under the Ihedioha government.
The government should find out if their awards of these jobs followed Due Process. If they did, then the right thing to do is to pay them off. There is no need delaying their payments as these jobs are for Imolites and done by Imolites.
Sen. Uzodinma should not fall into the same trap or offence for which Sen. Okorocha was, and is still being vilified. He should abide by his shared prosperity mantra and save these Imo contractors from yet another batch of early death victims as recorded under Okorocha.
There is no need witch-hunting fellow Imolites who may have borrowed from banks to deliver on contracts awarded to them by Government, especially when the money for their payments has been set aside by Ihedioha through the IMSUBEB.
The governor has all his remaining years ahead to create his own jobs and award contracts as a form of empowerment to his cronies and associates if he feels that was what Ihedioha did.
For the government to attempt to deceive Imolites and paint the former governor’s image with tar brush through the allegation that he (Ihedioha) awarded a single primary school desk at the rate of N400,000.00 is wicked, satanic and with sole intent of deceiving Ndimo.
It’s either Senator Hope Uzodinma is desperate to destroy Ihedioha through this recent lie from his Government, or that he is unaware that some of his official image makers who are supposed to be positively enlightening the public about his activities do not entirely understand their roles and therefore require special trainings to purge them of ‘communication militancy and thuggery’ unnecessary in the 21st Century image making profession.
It is incontrovertible that Primary Schools in Imo State billed to use those desks have pupils from APC, PDP, APGA, ACCORD, etc. Playing politics therefore, with such basics will be counter productive and wastage promoted.
Also, giving to the expected hardships that will hit after the COVID-19 pandemic, it won’t be to the best interest of both government and our people should these contractors begin to look the way of taking legal actions against the government. This will not only distract, but also boost the unpopularity of the APC in Imo state as Anti Peoples Conveniences.
*_Greg Nwadike GOC is from Orlu in Imo state, and writes from Abuja the FCT_*