Monthly Archives: June 2011

GOVERNOR OKOROCHA’S BLUNDER ON THE 10,000 JOB PROGRAMME


Last week, for writing an article about the quick temper of the Imo State governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha and for stating that his hot temper may be his greatest undoing in office, I got an inbox full of abusive mails. Some even side that i have started playing politics of hate and distractions. It is not true that I dislike the governor. I am not against the Imo State government led by Chief Okorocha but had only spoken out against its unpopular policies. I stressed the need for him to pause and ponder before making decisions to avoid mistakes. You see, leadership is a serious affair to be regarded lightly for so many of its impact impinges on the plight and fortunes of many. One way to make the governor stay on track is to keep him on his toes by dragging him to the court of public opinion whenever he makes an irrational decision.

Two weeks ago ,In an odd little rhetorical ramble on radio and television, governor Okorocha announced the suspension of the 10,000 jobs created by the immediate past administration of Ikedi Ohakim and sacked the Chairmen and Councilors of the 27 LGA’s in Imo State. Who doesn’t know that the sacking of elected LGA Chairmen is an illegality that cannot stand the test of time? The governor has no right to dismiss elected Chairmen no matter how faulty the process of their election was. Sources say he is about to announce his Stooges as Care takers of the Councils. It is true that he promised to deliver democracy dividends to the people of the state at the shortest possible time and right what he described as the wrongs of the last administration but blunders don’t cure blunders.

Okorocha once said that he will run a people-oriented government where every decision taken would be anchored on how it would protect lives and property, improve the welfare of the people as well as protect their interest. He also said that he is going to create jobs for the people of the state. Is the sacking of workers in the state also a people-oriented programme? The governor must have been expecting a groundswell of public applause when he announced the suspension of the 10,000-job programme of the immediate past administration.It is only a professional sycophant that will feel duty bound to applaud every government decision ,no matter how patently foolish it may be. To register their displeasure, thousands of workers flooded the streets of Owerri demanding that the governor should relapse on their sack from work.

The governor told the protesting youths that he had already set up a committee to review the 10,000-job programme, with a view to aligning it with the prevailing realities in the state.Imo youths are hungry for jobs .The decision to disengage workers from work is foolish and irrational. Setting up committee to review the job offer is also cynical and an indirect way of telling the sacked workers to go to hell. It is a mockery on thousands of Imolites that help the governor to wrestle power out of the hands of Ohakim.It is also a call for violence and chaos. Okorocha should stop playing politics with the future of Imolites.He should stop throwing the state into unnecessary tension.

When Okorocha was seeking the votes of Ndi-Imo ,he went house to house, he thronged into rooms, not minding the bench on which he sat. He even went round Owerri on KEKE NAPEP speaking sweet talks “your lives will change for the better if you elect me the right candidate “ he said ‘your chicken and your dogs will be given free education and your farms and shrines will be electrified” he assured. Of what use is the governor’s free education without jobs ? All are recognizing that tackling of youth employment is key to poverty reduction, sustainable development, indeed, even stability and peace. I am vehemently opposed to this 10,000 job brouhaha. When you examine the reasons why, I am certain you will agree that this move to disengage workers is a bad idea and is moving Imo State in the wrong direction .It is a contradiction with the shared believe that Okorocha is on a rescue mission. This state has many challenges. When decisions made and actions taken directly deflates job creation , the result is always more problems for the citizens

We all know that Okorocha has been a philanthropist of international repute overtime. He owns about five free secondary schools in Nigeria that are spread across Owerri, Ogboko, Kano, Ibadan and Jos. In these schools, children, mostly of poor parents go to school free. The Rochas Foundation sponsors their school fees, supplies them with books, feeding, transportation and accommodation. But governing Imo State is not Rochas Foundation,neither is it Baba Sala’s nkwobi and pepper soup joint.Okorocha should give the people back their jobs or go tell his rescue mission stories to the birds. Every good government must create jobs for the people .He should resist the temptation of spending quality time in searching for scape – goats for whatever he feels that went wrong with Imo State in the past .The past is past and now is now and it is the time for Imo State to move on

-Kenneth Uwadi writes from Mmahu-Egbema,Imo State,Nigeria

ROCHAS OKOROCHA’S HOT TEMPER MAY BE HIS WORST ENEMY


 So far so good, election in Nigeria has come and gone and we can see for ourselves that the final result of the governorship election   in Imo State is a reflection of the aspiration of the people of the state. Like the saying goes, “Vox populi, Vox Dei,” meaning, the voice of the people is the voice of God, Owelle Rochas  Okorocha is the new occupant of Douglas House Owerri. One cannot be wrong to say that the people love him because he is a philanthropist. Okorocha  has been a philanthropist of international repute overtime. He owns about five free secondary schools in Nigeria that are spread across Owerri, Ogboko, Kano, Ibadan and Jos. In these schools, children, mostly of poor parents go to school free. The Rochas Foundation sponsors their school fees, supplies them with books, feeding, transportation and accommodation.

Okorocha has said it in several places that he is on a mission to rescue the state from the shackles of poverty and under-development. He said that his desire to quickly develop the State could be likened to scenes in a popular film in the 1980s entitled: “Ninety Minutes at Entebbe.” He said that he is in a hurry to develop the state and that Imo will be a well secured state devoid of kidnapping, 419ners and armed robbery. He also said that he will run a people-oriented government where every decision taken would be anchored on how it would protect lives and property, improve the welfare of the people as well as protect their interest. He also said  that he is going to create jobs  for the people of the state. He is  going to ensure that schools are functional and that he is going to embark on massive road construction and rehabilitation in the entire geopolitical zones that make up the state.

Imo people are waiting and watching. The expectations from Okorocha are very high. It is like somebody who goes into a boxing ring to challenge a champion. It is always difficult to wrestle that championship out, and when you do wrestle it out and becomes a champion it is also more difficult to remain as a champion. This is the position he is in for now. He has succeeded in wrestling out power from Chief Ikedi Ohakim  and he has to fight  to be at the top .The masses expect a lot from him. He has good policies if adhered to.

 One thing that I see that may   throw spanner in the works  of the Okorocha’s  administration if not put under control is  the governor’s  quick temper . Okorocha should try to put his volcanic temper under control .Sources say he  has hot temper flowing in his veins and that this  makes him not to follow due process in some of his actions. A lot of  temperament issues have been widely reported nationally about  him. Those who have been on the receiving end of an Okorocha’s uproar include former Governor   Ikedi Ohakim, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Staff of Horn Newspapers, Goodluck Nanah Opiah and many others.

 

An example of  hot head in Okorocha was  when   few days  after he was elected as governor of Imo State , he wrote   letters   to banks in the  state  instructing  them to no longer honour cheques from the Ikedi Ohakim ‘s administration. Ohakim, then was still the Chief  Executive Officer of the state irrespective of his defeat at the polls. There is nothing like the office of the governor elect.   The governor  has to keep control  of his temper .I  remember   when out of frustration for not securing a  venue for a campaign rally, he  took laws into his hands and barricaded four major roads in Owerri including the one leading to Government House. He also instigated his supporters to attack the convoy of  Ikedi  Ohakim who was with former president,  Olusegun Obasanjo. What of during the campaign days when his supporters unleashed mayhem on Nigerian Horn Newspapers. The Newspaper had published a news-story that Rochas was a member of Ogboni fraternity . The APGA chieftain could not hold himself and his supporters. By the time his supporters left the premises of Horn, destruction, desolation and near death reigned supreme.

 

Okorocha should know that for a man of his status   there’s bound to be closer media scrutiny. Recently, he barred civil servants from entering into the state’s secretariat, for resuming late for work. The governor, who visited the secretariat along the Owerri-Port Harcourt express road at 8.30, ordered that the secretariat be locked up when he discovered that many workers were yet to report for work. The governor, who later after hours, asked that the gates be opened, warned that such would not be tolerated in future. Even some of his close pals  acknowledge fuse in him  but say that it cannot affect his success as a governor.

 

Easily jumping into a fray can mar a man. The governor showered this attitude again by sponsoring an   illegal  impeachment of  Chief  Goodluck Nanah Opiah  as the Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly  with only eleven members of the house just five days to the expiration of the tenure of Opiah. Imo State House of Assembly has 27 members and impeachment of the speaker in accordance with the provision of the Nigerian constitution and the House Rules require 2/3 of members of the house. Eleven members resorted into legislative  rascality and lawless by breaking into the chambers and announcing the impeachment of the speaker. The members were instigated by Okorocha  to embark on a vendetta mission against the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state. I was told that the operation was funded with over N500 million naira.

 

To me no one should keep a trigger anywhere  near the governor . His temper can parachute and he blows   someone’s  head off. He also needs good advisers near him always if he wants to succeed. I heard he plans  to in a few weeks  dissolve the 106 newly recognized autonomous communities in Imo state and  sack  the Chairmen and Councillors  of Local Government   Areas in the state. This idea is not a good one . It is too early for the governor to throw the state into uncertainty and tension. He should look before he leap

Kenneth Uwadi writes from Mmahu-Egbema, Imo State ,Nigeria

 

 

 

EFCC: ANOTHER NIGERIAN DISASTER


By: Ephraim Emeka Ugwuonye, Esquire

May 29, 2011

 

Abstract: 

EFCC, as a law enforcement institution, is defective, unnecessary and wasteful. Its leadership is inept and structurally incapable. Its top hierarchy is ethnically and religiously non-diverse, thereby leading to considerable diminution of confidence and credibility. Comprehensive reform of the commission is needed urgently. But President Jonathan may not have the political will and courage to engage in the kind of reform that will be needed either to salvage EFCC or to fight corruption in a broader and more effective manner. The effect of failure to reform and refocus the present anti-corruption efforts will lead to continued degradation of the state of human rights in Nigeria and a significant increase in corruption and crime. This article shall focus on EFCC to illustrate validity of these assertions.

 

Main Text:

      In 2000, barely a year after Nigeria’s last return to civilian rule, I was asked by Obasanjo’s regime to give an opinion on the establishment of a special task force for combating certain species of economic crimes in Nigeria. I understood Obasanjo to be focusing on the category of offences collectively known as 419 and corruption in general. Two years prior, while still working at the World Bank Institute on anti-corruption reforms, I had given an informal opinion on why Obasanjo was a suitable candidate to lead Nigeria in a post-military era. I based my favorable recommendation on Obasanjo’s candidacy on two key qualifications that Obasanjo possessed, which were the fact that Obasanjo was, as we all believed, a victim of government persecution himself and had suffered unjust incarceration, and secondly, that he had identified himself openly with Transparency International, a global anti-corruption advocate.

 

The combination of these qualifications was remarkable because in the same opinion, I had identified corruption and human rights abuse, as the two most significant problems that confronted Nigeria. And I believed that any realistic transformation of the Nigerian state, post military era, must address those two problems directly, comprehensively and urgently.

 

      Some people in Obasanjo’s administration who remembered my opinion on the matter considered it worthwhile to seek my views when they decided to establish the EFCC. I took the position that the Nigerian Police needed a massive reform in order to reposition it to fight the specter of 419 crimes and official corruption. I also agreed that it was necessary to tackle corruption without waiting until the police force had been adequately reformed. In the end, I saw EFCC or something like it as a necessary interim measure to deal immediately with the problems. However, I advised that whatever agency was to be established to fight corruption must be staffed largely from the human rights community and the civil society. I made this recommendation because even at that time I had seen clear and compelling linkages and correlation between corruption and human rights abuses. And I felt that the best people to lead the anti-corruption and anti-crime reform in Nigeria should be notable figures in the civil right struggles.

 

      Also, in my analysis of the problems, I recognized that any major reform could take the form of criminalizing certain objectionable behaviors, which would require prosecutions and imprisonment as disincentive for such behaviors. Every lawyer of average experience would easily recognize that once you approach any social problem from the point of view of criminalization, you would immediately implicate human rights and due process issues. The challenge intellectually and operationally was to ensure that in dealing with corruption and crimes in Nigeria, one must avoid undermining the already diminished status of human rights in the country.

 

With this in mind, I recommended that effort should be made to involve human rights activists in any new law enforcement agency to be established. Conversely, I reasoned that the Nigerian Police should play less visible roles in such agency. I would consider this the key point of departure between Obasanjo’s administration and me when they finally established the EFCC. I had underestimated Obasanjo’s aversion to human rights reforms. His administration placed the same police that it had criticized in the front and human right activists nowhere near. Or even possibly, they were simply too shallow in their analysis or shortsighted in their projections to connect their anti-corruption measures with constitutional safeguards for rights and due process.

 

      It was little wonder that almost right from its inception, EFCC posed a recognizable danger to the liberty of Nigerians. We saw an ambitious police officer in the person of the first Chairman of EFCC attempt to build a status as a serious politician using anti-corruption reform as his launch pad. We heard the tough-talking police officer. We saw the showmanship and propaganda. We witnessed the excesses daily on the pages of newspapers and television screens. We noted his several reversible pronouncements. Then we saw EFCC Chairman complaining and running from his friends into exile. And finally, we saw him as a presidential candidate for a party headed by a man he had openly but questionably identified as key corrupt figure in Nigeria. While many people got carried away by the euphoria of that era, others, including me, were worried that Nigeria seemed to be robbing Peter to pay Paul. In other words, the country was pursuing anti-corruption and anti-crime reforms at the expense of civil rights development and the Constitution. Indeed, I was alarmed. But it was virtually impossible to speak against EFCC at the time when they could use their vehicle to run over the leg of the country’s chief of police with impunity.

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      As this nasty drama evolved over time, there came to office a crazy and most corrupt Attorney General in the person of Michael Oandoaka. He had his own plans. He had to redraw the list of “good guys” to be sheltered and the “bad guys” to be persecuted by the Nigerian state. Ribadu’s list did not correspond with his. He had to seek to change the staffing, not the procedure, of the EFCC. So, he went and appointed a malleable and essentially ignorant woman from the same village as he, and that is Mrs. Farida Waziri, to become the new head of the EFCC. In the course of such adventure, people got switched from the “bad guys” list to the other list. The only difference between Mrs. Waziri and her predecessor is that her incompetence and ineptitude are monumental, overshadowing every other quality she may have. Also, she completely lacked passion and purpose or any sense of mission.

 

When President Jonathan forced Oandoaka from office, one would have expected the latter to go with everything he brought with him, including Mrs. Waziri. But she was saved by the fact that her husband was a sitting Senator and President Jonathan was vulnerable to the Senators who actually put him in power, in the first place. The President really couldn’t touch Mrs. Waziri then because she had her husband, and the Senate President, who haled from the same place as she, supported her continuing in office.

 

      Along the line of its horrible beginning, EFCC remained a worsening disaster. It lacks the ability to redress corruption or crime in Nigeria. Any progress, if at all, that could be attributed to the EFCC has come at a price too hefty for Nigeria. Note that this writer is not the first or only person to state that EFCC failed in its mission. Indeed, and surprisingly, the most vocal recently in admitting that fact is actually the EFCC leadership. (See, for example, page 3 of Punch, Sunday, May 22, 2011, for an article in which EFCC clearly and repeatedly admitted that it had failed, even though it blamed its failure on everyone else including the courts and the judges). It is to be noted that the same Punch Newspaper is probably the most sympathetic to the EFCC causes, and which had previously championed the false claims about EFCC achievement statistics. So, it is safe to say that there is a near consensus on the fact that EFCC is a failure. We must proceed from that premise.

 

Conceptually and policy-wise, the country needs to reform its police force as one of the most fundamental reform measure in the area of fighting crimes and the scourge of corruption. If any progress could be made in the direction of creating new police agencies, it should be in the direction of establishing state police force, and not in duplicating police authorities at the federal level as was done with the establishment of the EFCC. And even if we find a need to create special police force at the federal level, why have two new agencies, EFCC and ICPC, at once and as separate agencies?

 

      In any case, even if anyone must insist on establishing and multiplying these police agencies, one must take into full consideration the peculiarities of Nigeria in staffing such agencies. EFCC as presently staffed is dangerous and a clear provocation to the sensibilities of the Nigerian peoples at large. Consider the implication of the following staffing hierarchy of EFCC:

 

(i)   Chairman –    Farida Waziri (Muslim, North – by marriage) AIG of Police (Retired).

 

(ii) Director of Operations – Lamode (Muslim, North) Deputy Commissioner of Police.

 

(iii) Head of Operations (Abuja) – Ahmad Abdurrahman (Muslim, North) presumably a Deputy Commissioner of Police.

 

(iv) Head of Operations (Lagos) – Rabiu Muazu (Muslim, North) presumably a Deputy Commissioner of Police.

 

Consider the hierarchy of the unit that handled my case, which is known as the Intelligence and Special Operations Section (ISOS), their elite unit:

 

(a)   Head – Abdul Suleiman (Muslim, North) Chief Superintendent of Police.

 

(b)  Deputy – Bashir Abdulahi (Muslim, North) presumably a Superintendent of Police.

 

(c)  3rd in Command – Ibrahim (Muslim, North) presumably a Deputy Superintendent of Police.

 

It is also important to look at the two government officials who exercise oversight functions over the EFCC from the executive arm of government. They are as follows:

 

      (a) Inspector General of Police, Ringim -  (Muslim, North)

 

      (b) The Attorney General, Adoke      -          (Muslim, North)

 

The persons responsible for internal quality supervision of the EFCC, (what you may call the quality control officer) is the Head of Servicom arm of EFCC. Guess who he is. He is Ibrahim Adoke, the younger brother of the Attorney General. He is a Muslim, North.

 

Now, let’s look toward the bottom of the hierarchy. The Abuja cell is directly controlled by the Administration Officer. He is Mr. Alkali, presumably a Deputy Superintendent of Police and a Muslim, North. The two main guards for the cell are Mr. Alieu and Mr. Lawal, both Muslim, North. These men execute the instruction to deny the inmates the opportunity to reduce their exposures to mosquito bites. (Note that these men are probably nice men just following orders from above). They run the cell. They are the ones that conduct constant search and seizure to ensure that no inmate has pen or paper in the cell.

 

Now, I don’t want you to misunderstand the purpose of the above observations. I am NOT suggesting that the EFCC would be better if the above officers were Christian Igbo or Yoruba. Also, I am not necessarily alleging that these men are bad men or that you could attribute any limitations they may have to their religion or ethnicity. Some of the bad guys I met in EFCC came from all parts of the country – Igbo and Yoruba and Hausa/Fulani ethnicity. Conversely, some of the good guys I met there are Muslims from the North. It is not a question of individual qualities of a person. Some of them are actually very funny, which is beside the point. For instance, I will never forget my lone encounter with Mr. Ibrahim Adoke, the head of Servicom in EFCC.

 

I was placed in the female cell in solitary confinement once again on March 23, 2011. On March 25, Mr. Adoke himself came to see me in my cell. The way the cell was constructed, you have to bend down close to the floor to see the person inside. Adoke bent down to speak with me. I was lying down on the floor. He knew that the reason I was placed in solitary confinement was because I was caught making a diary of daily occurrences in the cell and that I had mentioned the names of guards and EFCC officials in my notes. He seemed genuinely disturbed that a human being could be put in such a place, which meant that this was the first time he ever saw the cell occupied by a detainee. I also believe that being a Muslim he might have been concerned about the fact that a man was placed in the female cell, and if I were to use the toilet in my cell, any woman in the open section of the cell could see me up to my navel.

 

Mr. Adoke said: “This is horrible. A human being cannot be put in this place”. This struck me because this is coming from a top official of the organization that built and maintained such a “place”. He instructed that I should be brought out of that cell and returned to the male cell. I told him I was placed in solitary confinement several times before. He looked every inch a gentleman and a reasonable person. When I was brought out of that cell, I looked Adoke straight in the face and smiled at him and we shook hands. I was smiling not just because I was being brought out of solitary confinement, but more so because of the contradictions in Mr. Adoke’s apparent ignorance of the conditions of EFCC cells. Yet, he is the head of Servicom, a group that is charged with the task of ensuring that standards are met. And I did not think he was faking his feelings.

 

I used the opportunity of Adoke’s presence to bring up the issue of the 14-year old girl being detained by EFCC. I explained to him the absurdity of keeping that girl in the cell regardless of whatever their excuses. He agreed with me and assured me that the girl would go home the next day. Then, he personally took me back to the male cell. There was jubilation among the male inmates when they saw me and my things being brought back into their cell. In the awkward moment that followed, I urged Mr. Adoke to improve the conditions of the cell generally. He promised to look into it. Then as he was about to leave, I again extended my hand and shook his. I then asked for his name, the same time peering closer to read his name from his nametag. He quickly covered his nametag with his hand. But I had seen it and I called his name. But he smiled and told me that was only an alias which he uses for his work.

 

When he left I wondered why on earth should such a senior public official hide his name. I thought it was because of the notes he heard I have been making while in detention and he didn’t want his name mentioned in my notes of any books that I might write about my detention. But even at that, he hadn’t done anything to merit a negative mention in my notes. So, why the fear? Why the secrecy? To understand it, you have to understand the problems of EFCC as an institution. Even the senior officers are not sure of their work because there is no clear policy pathway to the existence of EFCC. They do not understand their mandate. They don’t have a good grip on the policy priorities of the government for them. They are scared of losing their jobs because they did not get those jobs on merit. Nobody really wants to take responsibility and own things. The senior staff like Adoke would like to pass the buck to some junior and inconsequential officers and pretend they didn’t really know what happened. These senior officers hold their positions because a relative put them there. So they are permanently insecure in their positions. I seriously wondered if that was the problem with Mr. Adoke. I also, wondered if he came to see me in the cell because his brother, the Attorney General, who I had a dealing with in 2008 was the one that sent him to see me. And whether the reason he attempted to conceal his name from me after a rather decent initial impression was to prevent me from connecting him to his brother.

 

The point, however, is that in a country like Nigeria, where the Speaker of the lower chamber of the legislature and the President of the Senate, the Chief Justice of the Country, the Ministers, etc are determined by the so-called federal character and religion-based balancing, how come that an important agency like EFCC should be staffed at the top nearly exclusively with officers from one ethnic group and members of one religion? Such a situation would naturally make people from the other ethnic groups and religion suspicious and fearful. We also understand that the way we approach crimes and punishment, and due process, could largely be influenced by our religious beliefs. In an environment where there are no sound institutional safeguards for equality before the law, people will inevitably rely to greater extent, unconsciously perhaps, on their religious values and belief system. If, for instance, you approach modern banking from Islamic banking point of view, you would probably view several conventional banking activities as bad. Also, if you have viewed America as the great Satan, you may be inclined to show no regard to the American courts. So, when you hear that Emeka Ugwuonye’s case was already pending in the United States courts, you may feel this is the best time to scorn the Americans.

 

These subtle and intricate factors of bias could be reduced if you diversify the staffing of a key institution like EFCC. Remember that the test is not really whether the officers are actually biased on religious or ethnic grounds, but rather whether there is a reasonable suspicion of bias on those grounds. It is also particularly striking when you consider the fact that EFCC actually views religion and ethnicity as important factors in their daily operating procedures. For example, every standard EFCC form, particularly its standard Witness Statement Form requires every person making a statement to indicate his “religion” and “tribe” on every page. Now, before you rush to the conclusion that this writer is stirring up something, ask why is it that EFCC makes ethnicity and religion one of the most important things it wants to know about each suspect and each witness. Yet, the government allows EFCC top officials to be solely of one ethnicity and one religion.

 

All this may have nothing to do with it, but it would be reasonable for me to consider the following: Why is it that EFCC officials speak mostly in Hausa language in the presence of non-Hausa speakers? They discuss your case in your presence in Hausa even if you don’t understand Hausa. They speak English only when they say something that requires your response. For example, on February 18, 2011, one Mr. Sambo, who was the Incident Duty Officer at the Lagos EFCC offices told me in English that I would be leaving the cell. He then turned to the guard on duty, an officer from the North and said something to him in Hausa. An Hausa inmate who heard Mr. Sambo whispered to me that Mr. Sambo had just said in Hausa to the other officer that I was not leaving because I “chopped money”. How come that even the non-Northerners in the EFCC staff are mostly people who speak Hausa? Does it mean that Hausa language is a prerequisite to being hired in EFCC, even though overwhelming percentage of the suspects are non-Hausas? The same EFCC staff would never allow a suspect to speak to his relative or even a lawyer in any other language except English, and in their presence. Would this have been the case if you had Igbos and Yorubas or members of other ethnic groups among the top hierarchy of EFCC?

 

Why was it that EFCC management appeared not to have considered the Easter an event of significance that could justify the release of deserving detainees or the speeding up of the paperwork that prevented detainees from being released before Easter? For instance, there were many detainees who could have been released on Easter Thursday (who were actually released a few hours after offices reopened on the Wednesday following Easter). If you had Christians in the hierarchy of the EFCC, it is reasonable to expect that someone would have realized that if at all possible, detainees should be released to enable them spend Easter with their family. If there were Christians in the hierarchy of the EFCC, maybe they would have allowed inmates to call their families on Thursday before Easter in order to wish them Happy Easter. Would these people have treated the Easter period so nonchalantly if they were Christians? What about the fact that once it is 12:00 noon on Fridays, all the officers who can sign release documents close from work because they have to be at the Mosques? It would have been much better if you have among the top officers one or two persons who could remain at work till the end of business on Friday because they would not have religious obligation that forces them to leave work early on Fridays.

 

Even the most non-tribalized person like me is forced to notice these tendencies. Indeed, I consider it so troubling that I had to notice it. I want a Nigeria where everybody would be respected despite his or her ethnicity or religion. In a country where the government has constantly divided the people along ethnic and religious lines and sow the seed of suspicion among them, it is terrible that they would have an EFCC staffed as it is at present. Also, it is horrifying that Nigerian government does not have anything in place to check against potential biases and abuses that are based on religion and ethnicity. What recourse would a person have if he suspects that he is a victim of ethnic or religious bias? It does not matter whether such suspicion is well founded or not. The fact is that there must be some safeguards and some easy and fair mechanism for ventilating such suspicions. And there seems to be none whatsoever.

 

The big question for Nigerians is what President Jonathan is capable of doing about these problems now that he has acquired Presidential power on merit rather than by default. Can his administration address the EFCC conundrum? I believe that the President would let Mrs. Waziri go in the coming months. However, merely removing a misguided chairman would not be enough to reform or redeem EFCC. In fact, the next EFCC boss could be a worse disaster. The President must go further than cosmetic changes. At the very least, he should remove and replace the entire echelon of EFCC leadership. A much bolder measure like disbanding EFCC  or consolidating it with ICPC, at the very least, would be necessary. He must also accompany whatever measure he takes with a radical and comprehensive reform of the Nigerian Police.

 

The abnormality called EFCC cannot continue. Examples are abound. Mrs. Waziri drives around town in official armored vehicles. However, the Inspector General of Police does not use armored vehicles and the Chief Justice of the Country does not drive in armored vehicles. Why would an EFCC chairman use armored car when the police chief and Chief Justice don’t? Why should the work of the EFCC Chairman be more important than that of the Inspector General of Police and the Chief Justice of the Nation, such that she needs greater protection than they do? If Mrs. Waziri, a retired AIG of Police, does not consider our streets safe for her, she should resign immediately and go to live in some farm where she would have no need for armored vehicles. After all, if she had done her police work well enough, she would have helped make our streets safe for all. I do not intend to dwell much on the personality of Mrs. Waziri. She is just the most visible sign of the decay and dangers of what happens when an institution is absolutely corrupted and dysfunctional.

 

It is difficult to wish President Jonathan luck, given how abundantly blessed he has been so far. I hope he would get this one right and I pray for him. However, my instinct tells me he will not be any different from the past leaders of Nigeria. This country’s leadership has been characterized by baffling levels of buffoonery. It could be northern buffoonery or southern buffoonery. The fact is that the people of Nigeria have been cheated for far too long. For instance, I would hope that the country would not be wasting millions of highly needed dollars in inaugural celebrations of an election in which thousands of people, including innocent youth coppers, were slaughtered so senselessly. As the country may be embarking on such high-speed squander, millions of its people will not have electricity this weekend. Millions of children are out of school because of striking teachers. Hundreds of babies shall die for lack of medical attention this weekend alone. Millions of our graduates roam the streets unemployed.

 

What Nigeria needs is a rather modest set of events to mark the beginning of a new administration, including some sober reflection to acknowledge the high cost the country paid during the last elections. And after such events, all those elected to political offices should hurry back to their offices to start working for the Nigerian people. Shutting down the entire city of Abuja and freezing all activities just for inauguration would suggest that it might be wrong to expect much from President Jonathan. If he leads the country in the right direction, we must all support him. However, if he fails, we must hold his leadership strictly accountable. And if he falters on such basic issues, it will be hard to expect him to find the courage and political will to address fundamental questions of justice and liberty as endangered by the EFCC at present. And if that were to be case, the menace of EFCC may remain for some time to come.

END.

 

 

Ogoni East –West Road,the Robbers and Governor Amaechi


I was cruising through the East West road, Ogoni  axis of Rivers State last week Friday, heading to Port Harcourt  from  Akwa Ibom  State. Ahead of me was an 18 seater Toyota commercial bus. The bus  was also heading to Port Harcourt. There were families, traders, workers, women and children in the bus including the bus driver, and his conductor. White was the colour of the bus .The clickety-clack of the bus, the deafening blaring of the horn and the noisy engine was like a moving welding workshop. The bus was turned into a church house by the passengers. A preacher being the master, the passengers formed the chorus, they were singing  praises to God. Time was 1pm in the afternoon.

Then I heard gunshots. Armed Robbers came out from a nearby bush, about 12 fierce looking boys. Six of them approached the bus from the front while the others were dogging it. They were all marksmen, and they carried machetes, sticks and guns. The bus driver in distress applied his breaks and the bus came to a halt. I abandoned my vehicle and jumped into a nearby  bush. Gunshots were fired on the air, kpoooo, ratatata. From my hiding place in the bush i was reciting the ‘Hail Mary‘ and watching the robbers and the passengers. Ruthlessly robbed were the bus passengers. Money and valuables, all taken away from them, and to protest and protect, was nobody.

 

One of the greatest ill plaguing the Ogoni axis of the east-west road is armed robbery. That road is now the home of armed robbers. Indeed, the road  is dangerous and  threatening. People are regularly waylaid on this road by armed bandits who rob them of their properties at gunpoint. Cars are snatched from their owners with frightening ease and frequency even in broad-day. Lives are no longer safe on that road. There is general feeling of insecurity all around. No one is sure of his property; no one is sure of his life.

One of the promises that Governor Chibuike Amaechi made during his election campaign four years ago, was to provide security for the people of the state. I believe the life and properties of travellers should be part of this security agenda. Enough  police check points are not on that road that is indeed lonely. This to me is security lapses on the part of Amaechi who is the Chief Security Officer of the State. Amaechi to me is like the typical Papa Ajasco  politician. He always  deliver the I am doing  well for my state  sermon yet he  is  defecating  on the  altar. It is clear, what else to know, we’ve seen it all in Rivers State  and heard it all; it is all talk  more and do less , inaction at its height, quietness in the face of carnage. Perfidy of a pernicious kind. Human life has become cheap. It is up to the government to determine which blood to save or which to ignore.White Elephant projects all over the state. Nothing matters any more to Amaechi  than the loot that he has been re-elected to  cart away. Yeah, looting the treasury to a Papa Ajasco  politician is sweeter than honey. Check out the Eleme Junction to Tank road,that road has become a  death trap but Amaechi is doing nothing .

 

Politicians, when they are demanding for our votes, they will form the Holly-me attitude  and will be telling us  about their redemption agenda. Redemption ni,redemption kor,o jare , na there time-o.Are they not  the ones anointed by God for the common good of the people?. Show me the common good. All I see is the common plunder of the treasury. Amaechi is   securing his empire and every other person can dive the ground. As long as the governor’s children are safe from harm, let’s go to bed. As i talk about Amaechi now,i remember Imo State.As the people of   Imo State are dancing   “Okokoma” over the emergence of Owelle Rochas Okorocha as the new occupant of  Douglas House  Owerri. May the lord help to make him the messiah who is to come.  Me , i dey watch-o .To me our  politicians can be funny .Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State should take immediate steps aimed at putting   an end to these attempts by criminal elements in our society bent on creating a feeling of fear and insecurity among travellers plying the Ogoni Road. I suggest that enough Police check points should be on that road and JTF should be on constant patrol on that road. He  should  also try to provide  more employment opportunities . Once  many of our able-bodied men are gainfully employed there would be sharp reduction in the wave of armed robbery

 

Kenneth Uwadi writes from Mmahu-Egbema,Imo State,Nigeria

 

Manifesto of Owelle Rochas Okorocha


MY PRAYER

Almighty God, grant me the wisdom to appreciate the true nature and value of power, money, influence and their limits. Give me the integrity and wisdom to acquire and exercise them according to your plans, as well as the guidance to use them with humility in Thy service and that of humanity.

Direct me O’ Lord to serve our people satisfactorily by fulfilling their needs in the cause of my service. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

“Be it known to all, that we shall pass through this way but once. If therefore, there is anything we can do to promote peace, justice, unity and good governance in order to save the lives of the numerous poor Ndimo, while protecting the interest of the few rich, let us not defer it,let us do it now. For we shall not pass this way again”. – Owelle Rochas Okorocha (OON).

ABOUT IMO STATE

Created in 1976, Imo State is bounded on the east by Abia State ,on the west by River Niger and Delta State, and on the North by Anambra State, while Rivers State lies to the south. Imo State covers an area of 5,100 Square Kilometer with a population of about 4.8 million persons. The population density varies from 230 per sq.km in Oguta/Ohaji Egbema area to about 1400 Persons Per Sq.km in Mbaise, Orlu, Mbano and Mbaitoli areas.

There are currently about 2040 primary schools in Imo State with an enrolment of approximately 561,214.There are 4 public technical schools and about 120 private/vocational/ commercial schools. The State school system comprises about 289 secondary schools exclusive of private secondary/vocational/technical schools.

There are two teachers training colleges in the State at Oguta and Nsu. There are about Seven (7) tertiary institutions in the State. Three are owned by Imo State Government while four are owned by the Federal Government of Nigeria. Imo State is divided into 27 Local Government Areas, 3 Senatorial Zones and 36 development centers. Imo is recognized as one of the rice and oil palm producing states in Nigeria; notwithstanding the fact that farming in the State is primarily subsistent .

Imo State has large quantities of crude oil and natural gas deposits which have not been fully exploited. Also the following mineral resources are abundantly available: – Lime stone, Clay, Marble, Zinc, Stones, Coal, etc; all in commercial quantities.

MY VISION FOR IMO PEOPLE

To build an Imo State of our collective dream for this and indeed the future generations.

MY MISSION IN IMO STATE

To rescue Imo people from irresponsive leadership and imminent collapse.

MY MANDATE

To save the lives of the numerous poor ndi Imo while protecting the interest of the few rich.

MAJOR AREAS OF FOCUS – Our Policy Thrust

  • BASIC EDUCATION
  • SECONDARY EDUCATION
  • TERTIARY EDUCATION
  • HEALTH CARE
  • TRANSPORTATION
  • WATER RESOURCES
  • RURAL ELECTRIFICATION/ ENERGY POLICY

Accordingly, we will liaise with the Federal Government to ensure that the state is adequately covered in the National Grid map.

  • The Imo Independent Power Project
  • Natural Gas
  • Waste To Energy
  • WELFARE
  • AGRICULTURE & NATURAL RESOURCES

Fisheries, Cashew, Paints & Adhesives, Baking Powder
Cashew, Rice, Hydrated Lime, Vegetables, Fisheries, Livestock, Plantain
Vegetables, Cassava, Poultry, Plantain
Oil & Gas, Rubber, Cassava, Palm produce, Pineapple, fisheries, Bananas, Plantain, mango, piggery etc

  • EMPLOYMENT GENERATION & WEALTH CREATION
  • ENVIRONMENT & TOURISM
  • SECURITY
  • HOUSING – RURAL / URBAN
  • JUDICIARY
  • SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
  • YOUTH AND SPORTS
  • WOMEN & SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
  • RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS

the State.

  • PENSIONERS
  • Owelle Rochas Okorocha (OON)
  • Owelle Rochas Okorocha (OON)

“A mind is a great thing to waste”. Indeed, a child’s right to education cannot be denied irrespective of background. Education is the greatest gift any responsible government can give to the society. Looking at the streets of Imo State, many children who should be in school are unfortunately roaming the streets hopelessly. These Children, if given the right opportunity can become responsible leaders in different fields of human endeavor.

Dear Imolites, it is gratifying to note that our mission in education is well known to all. All children of Imo State must have free and compulsory basic/ secondary education. In our administration, Every Child Counts (ECC).

As at 2008, Imo State had about 1,296 Primary Schools. Because of proximity and age of pupils, the number will be maintained and our Government will spend between 8.5 and 9.2 Billion Naira over a period of four years; for the refurbishment of the said primary Schools to meet with today’s standard of learning environment.

In addition to this, we will as a priority spend 2.4 Billion Naira on re- training of teachers at this formative all important stage of learning. In our Teach-The-Teacher Program (TTP) we will lay emphasis on Science and Technology to meet the challenges of today.

In recent times, Our State has witnessed over 28% dropout rates for female and 34% for male. This worrisome development must be checked with Radical Education Re-engineering Program (RERP) which will in the first phase require government investment of 21.6 Billion Naira over a 4 year period to set up 120 world class Secondary Boarding Schools equipped with the most advanced facilities in the areas of science and technology.

Our Government will re-organize educational system to be in tune with modern trends and technology. We will rebuild our educational system to focus on the following areas:

1. Entrepreneurship and Wealth Creation (EWC)

2. Practical Education System (PES) which will address such strategic areas as creative writing, Film production and editing, Fashion designing, mechanic, carpentry / Joinery / Craft Making, neighborhood Security / Surveillance Inter- alia. All these and more will be established within the Imo Vocational Village (IVV) to be established in the three senatorial zones.

3. An innovation of Teach-The-Teacher Program (TTP) will be set up to reshape and upgrade our present falling standard of education.

4. Introduction of a Culture Based Education System (CBES) which will bring back our cultural values.

5. The re-introduction of craft and civic education in our primary schools.

Our tertiary institutions now moribund will be upgraded and maintained to compete with others in line with learning and research, through collaboration and exchange programs with Tertiary institutions within and outside the Country. We will make our University Education entrepreneurial and result oriented.

Our graduates shall no more end up with theory only, but in addition acquire practical education to function in the global market. Our Government will review downward the present high cost of school fees paid in our State tertiary institutions.

“Health is wealth and a healthy person is a wealthy person” Dear Imolites, it is indeed regrettable and unacceptable that less than 10% of our population have access to the first intervention basic healthcare.

Unfortunately, pregnant women and their babies die during childbirth and infant mortality is very high due to inadequate and often times non-availability of first intervention medical facilities. Our Government policy is anchored on, Health At Your Door Step (HYDS)

We will provide functional and sustainable healthcare centers within the reach of the rural communities through a Well Equipped Container Clinic (WECC) powered by solar energy and manned by well trained and certified medical personnel. Children within the age of 1- 10 years, pregnant women and elderly people from 65 and above will have free Medicare.

All emergency cases must be attended to without pre-conditions under our administration. We will ensure that there is a functional and well equipped General Hospital in each Local Government Area of Imo State. The government under Owelle Rochas Okorocha will re-introduce Health Education and Sanitary Inspection Program. We will as a matter of health policy priority build a world class Referral Hospital in the State to attract patients and health seekers from other states and outside the country. The referral hospital will also earn foreign exchange for the country.

The present system of transportation in Imo State can only be described as chaotic. Our administration will effect improvement in the following areas:-

ROADS

The primary objective of our road network development programme shall be the construction and rehabilitation of all major roads linking the 27 Local Government Areas in the State. In addition, our Administration will re-introduce the Public Works Department (PWD), for the basic maintenance and rebuilding of roads. We shall also deploy the use of Enzyme organic soil stabilizer to tackle the deplorable state of rural or Local Government earth roads state wide. This technology will save the State Government over =N= 320,000,000.00(Three Hundred and Twenty Million Naira) annually on road maintenance.

We will ensure that all roads in the State have adequate drainage system to aggressively check the menace of soil erosion, which has isolated some communities and made farming impossible for others.

In addition, our administration will effect improvement in the following areas:

1.  Improvement of road signs, development of road maps, standardized street naming and numbering aimed at reducing traffic congestion in the cities of Imo State.

2.  Covering of all drainages within our metropolitan cities to provide pedestrian walkways.

3. The ring roads kept in abeyance will be completely resuscitated and new roads will be constructed to open up the rural areas for economic and social activities.

4. The regulation of the plying of heavy duty trucks (vehicles) within certain areas of the cities during certain periods of the day.

5.  Efforts will be made by our administration to actualize the status of Sam Mbakwe Airport as a functional International Cargo Airport.

Presently, we have about 76 major water schemes and about 64 motorized boreholes in the state. We will aggressively embark on rehabilitation of existing schemes while working on an Independent Water Project to be solely financed by foreign Water Companies on a Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis.

Our administration will ensure that rural electrification is adequately provided for in the communities of the State.

In addition to the above, we will initiate Public Private Partnership projects aimed at establishment of Independent Power Projects (IPP) in the State. We will in this regard vigorously pursue the development of an independent power generation scheme with a recognized international energy company. The project will target to provide a minimum of 100MW generating capacity necessary to meet our short and medium term growth in energy demand.

One of the key economic objectives of our Administration will be to have a state and economic system with secure energy supply sufficient to meet our projected economic growth levels. Since the national electricity supply system cannot be relied upon as a catalyst for industrial growth, we will pursue alternative options aimed at achieving energy supply security.

We will accordingly establish an Energy Projects Implementation Unit (EPIU) in the office of the Governor which will be charged with the responsibility of pursuing various energy related investment projects covering energy supply and conservation issues, demand, site management and as well as deal with issues in policy.

We will in this regard vigorously pursue the development of an independent power generation scheme with a recognized international energy company. This project will target to provide a minimum of 100 MW generating capacity necessary to meet our short and medium term growth in energy demand.

Presently, supply of power by Power Holding Company of Nigeria PLC to Imo state is between 12 and 18 MW which is generally rationed.

The State has abundant natural gas reserves capable of supporting such projects (IPP) and there will be a coherent state energy policy in place to ensure prudent utilization of our natural gas resource. This will be pursued in conjunction with Power Holding Company Nigeria PLC. Our abundant natural gas resources will be utilized and leveraged upon to form a crucial backbone for the industrialization of Imo State.

Working with a private sector operator, we will generate power through the over 300 metric tons of waste generated in our urban area daily . Our pursuit for the cheapest and cleanest source of energy will keep receiving attention till we achieve uninterrupted power supply at the lowest cost.

iv.)  Our Environment, Our Future

Currently, gas deposits are being flared by multinational oil companies operating at various locations within the country. These are associated gas found during extraction and production of oil. Imo State is no exception as we have over the past four decades witnessed the flaring of this key economic resource.

The environmental impact has been immense. Accordingly, our administration will be committed, in partnership with environment agencies, to the gradual reduction and elimination of gas flaring in our State.

v.)        Energy And Industrial Free Zones

Energy supply security will be intrinsically linked with the creation of industrial free zones in the State. These zones will be created to support manufacturing for domestic and export market, supported by carefully designed fiscal incentives and aimed at encouraging the establishment of various manufacturing operations within the State.

By guaranteeing secure energy supply and by investment in gas pipeline infrastructure, Imo State will have a competitive edge over many states within the country. Manufacturers want reliable and secure energy sources and our State can conveniently provide them with both.

vi.)       Gas Transmission System

The State will pursue the agenda of creating Industrial Gas Pipeline Network {IGPN}that will supply affordable gas to the industrial zones in Owerri, Okigwe and Orlu. These projects will be implemented through Public/Private Partnership (PPP).

By encouraging companies to set up manufacturing base in our State through a combination of a secure energy supply channels and generous tax regimes, the state will begin to witness a significant decrease/reduction in its unemployment rate.

vii.)      Bio-energy Policy

With increasing environmental awareness across the world, there has been renewed impetus and drive by various governments world-wide to diversify their energy sources. Imo State is well positioned to be a major producer of bio-fuel for local and export market.

We have arable land for cultivation of energy crops such as Jetrofer, Palm Trees, Cane, Cassava etc. we will through a Public Private Partnership, pioneer the research and development of bio-fuel for local and international markets and are determined to lay the foundation for a sustainable bio-fuel industry for the benefit of the State, its citizens

We will within the first six months rebuild the Old Okigwe road secretariat and convert it to a hostel facility for Imo State University, to alleviate the sufferings of students.

Indigent but brilliant Imo Students will be awarded scholarships on a continuous assessment basis. Government will reward hard working civil and public servants by promoting deserving workers. All allowances and pensions / gratuities will be paid as at when due.

Imo State indigenes who are talented or who excel in sporting activities will receive adequate encouragement from our Administration. State wide competitions in the areas of sports, science, essays, mathematics, security (most crimes free community),most peaceful community, sanitation, arts and culture etc. will be organized periodically.

“Agriculture is the biggest employer of human resources”. Imo state which was self sufficient in agricultural products up to the Mbakwe’s regime, now depends on other states for up to 80% of her food supply. It is painful that such a situation exists while we have Urashi, Imo ,Njaba rivers etc, that have swamps for rice and other crops production all year round. Through these rivers, upland irrigation is possible and will be made so. Our administration’s agricultural policy will be based on specialization.

Every Local Government Area will be charged to embark on a particular agricultural product. All the local Government Areas will be encouraged to concentrate mainly on Agriculture and Education.

We shall also take advantage of our upland grassland at Okigwe Agric Zone for the development of livestock. We will encourage the production of fish protein by aiding the supply of fish meals and fingerlings. Effort will be made to increase palm produce and its derivatives. Our government will also encourage subsistence farming by providing tractors on community basis as the Asian Tigers did. In 1964, Eastern Nigeria was adjudged the fastest growing economy in the world based on agricultural development. Imo State was an integral part of that assessment. We will elevate Imo State to its previously well known level of prominence in agricultural and food production.

For purposes of managing and taking full advantage of the abundant natural resources of the State to move her forward, we will create six agriculture and industrial zones, viz:

a.) AHIAZU/EZINIHITTE/ABOH/IKEDURU/IHITTEUBOMA–

Palm Produce, Vegetables, Poultry, Rice, etc

b.)       OWERRI NORTH/ OWERRI MUNICIPAL/MBAITOLI -

Live stock Cassava Processing Fisheries, etc

c.) ORU EAST/ORUWEST/ORLU/ISU/NJABA

d.) OKIGWE/ONUIMO/IDEATO NORTH/IDEATO SOUTH -

e.) EHIME MBANO/ISIALA MBANO/NKWERRE/NWANGELE/OBOWO

f.) OWERRI WEST/OHAJI EGBEMA/NGOR OKPALA/OGUTA –

We will build on the existing agro-allied industries and create the platform for ensuring that more of such industries are established as is required, along the lines of the six agricultural zones. For products like cassava which is universal to all parts of the State, the administration will ensure that there is at least one cassava processing facility in each Local Government Area.

In carrying out the above initiative, we will seek the active participation of relevant players among the organized private sector. In a two phased approach, we will ensure food security and sustainable end to perennial food shortage.

Phase one will be the provision of enhanced seedlings, top quality organic fertilizers, hybrid stems, plant suckers and crop protection products to farmers across the six agricultural zones.

In phase two, we will acquire land and partnering with  private sector operators, embark on a large scale cash crop farming initiative that will require extensive funding and technical input. The land owners will either be paid compensation or crop and profit sharing arrangement is evolved.

To support the above scheme, an integrated irrigation scheme will be developed in the key agricultural zones of the state to ensure all year round crop production; where necessary, green houses will be established. Co-operatives will be established at various farm gates in each of the six (6) agricultural zones to facilitate export of products or sales to processing plants. This will also be targeted at boosting agricultural and food production and the mutual exchange of skills and knowledge.

We will seek massive foreign direct investment for the development of the State’s agricultural potentials. Privatized agro-based industries will be monitored adequately to enable the Government and people of the State to realize the full benefits of such privatization.

Our industrialization policy will be based on the setting up of Industrial Villages in the three senatorial zones. We will in collaboration with private investors (Local and Foreign) rebuild and resuscitate the moribund factories such as Avutu Poultry Plants, Standard Shoe Factory at Owerri, Clay Factory at Ezinnachi, Paint and Rasin Factory at Aboh Mbaise, Aluminum extrusion plant at Inyishi, Adapalm Plant at Ohaji, Cardboard factory at Ebenator and others.Our administration will also create the enabling environment for investors within and outside, to invest in Imo State, in order to create more job opportunities for our teeming youth population now overwhelmingly unemployed.

Our administration will develop tourism in line with our cultural values .We will strategically partner with renowned waste management experts for effective and sustainable conversion of our waste to wealth through Public Private Sector Partnership (PPP).There will be an organized system of waste separation, collection, deposition and recycling. We will put in place a landscaping programmes that will conform to professional standards in modern aesthetics and still remain environmentally friendly.

Our administration will put every effort in place to tackle the menace of flood and erosion in the state.

The Governor is the Chief Security Officer of the State, while the Commissioner of Police is the Chief Law enforcement officer. As a result we shall partner together and synergize to make Imo State the most secured state in Nigeria.

The security votes over the years mostly in the recent past have astronomically increased from under 100 million Naira (N100,000,000.00) before the advent of the civilian administration, to the staggering amount of about three billion Naira (N3,000,000,000.00). From authoritative sources, out of the 3 billion Naira (N3,000,000,000.00) security votes as budgeted in 2011 State budget, the State Governor spends above One billion Naira, the Speaker of the House of Assembly takes home Five Hundred Million Naira ( N500,000.00 ),the Secretary to the State Government two hundred and fifty million Naira (N250,000.000.00),while the Deputy Speaker’s take home is two hundred million Naira (N200,000,000.00) to mention but a few of them in the name of security votes.

Regrettably, instead of this money being used for the purpose for which it was budgeted (Safety of life and property of people of Imo State), it has become a veritable conduit pipe to siphon public funds into private pockets within and outside for which no account is given.

Consequently our administration will reduce the security votes drastically, the savings thereof will be used for economic development and job creation which will directly or indirectly reduce the crime wave in the State. We will with the aid of modern communication gadgets and trained personnel, embark on intelligence gathering and sensitization to aggressively fight the surge in crime in our State. We will also as a matter of State policy embark on neighborhood security policing under a new Imo Security Scheme (ISS) incorporating Mass Security Network based on community security administration.

“What is good for the goose is also good for the gander”. We will put in place a quality housing program with emphasis on Rural/Urban Housing Development with functional infrastructure- water, electricity, roads, ICT, etc.

Our government considers ownership of homes a basic necessity and will do everything possible to achieve this by the introduction of Easy Own a Home Housing Scheme (EOHHS) to enable individuals own houses. We will partner with the private sector for a comprehensive housing initiative; particularly in the key urban centres of the State. The target in this regard will be to put a stop to the growth of slums in Imo State by the provision of decent and affordable housing in the key urban centers of the State.

In order to maintain the independence of the Judiciary, our administration will create, a self accounting system thereby eliminating interference by the executive. We will also introduce the system of verbatim recording in the courts to expedite the dispensation of justice. The salary and welfare of junior judiciary officers will be improved in line with that of their counterparts within the federation.

Our government will encourage dispute resolution to promote out of court settlements.

Our administration will invest in the development of science and technology. We will indeed sponsor our undergraduate and post graduate students to pursue courses in these areas in both local and foreign institutions on government scholarships. These in turn will help in pursuit of our industrial revolution endeavors.

Our administration will invest heavily in youth development by building Youth Development Centres (YDC) in all the 27 Local Government Areas of Imo state. This will enable them to acquire skills and techniques for growth and development in this age of globalization. It will also help in engaging our youths meaningfully to dissuade them from involvement in social vices such as youth restiveness, cultism, kidnapping, armed robbery, prostitution, political thuggery, etc.

We will endeavor to restore the glory of Imo State in national, continental and world sports competitions. Scholarships and other incentives shall be given to our contingents that excel exceptionally in sports activities, to inspire them and challenge the up-coming talents.

Our Administration will create the enabling environment for women and social development by making sure that our qualified women are given unhindered opportunities to participate in politics and leadership positions. We will indeed support the girl child education, thereby discouraging them from early marriage and other social vices.

We will build Total Women Training and Skill Acquisition Centers (TWTSAC) in all the three Zones of the state, to empower the women folk to acquire global skills for self development and independence. We will also build recreation parks in strategic places for relaxation and social development.

With special regard and honor to God Almighty and His continued blessings, protections, show of mercy, love and deliverance; our administration shall create the Bureau for Religious Affairs under a Senior Special Assistant to the Executive Governor to take care/handle all religious matters as affecting the State.

We will sincerely and gracefully collaborate / partner with the constituted Church Authorities and their clergies in all ramifications to move our State forward. We will continually honor and respect the Men of God in our State to the Glory of God. We will also create a special annual thanksgiving day to appreciate God for

“The labourer is worthy of his wages” – Matt 10:10. It is sad to realize that our aged pensioners, who have served the State and Nation, go through humiliating processes to collect their monthly pensions. Our Government will effect prompt payment of outstanding pensions and payment of monthly pensions and gratuities ensuring that no pensioner suffers unduly under any circumstance. In other words our Government will adequately address the issue of nonpayment of pensions to deserving pensioners.

CONCLUSION

“I have asked one thing of my creator; to bless me that I may bless others, to give me that I may share with those who do not have; because on my own I can do nothing ,but I can do all things through HIM that strengthens me”

“The greatness of a people is not dependent on the amount of natural resource available but directly dependent on the efficient and effective harnessing and management of the available human and material resources coupled with the vision and character of the leadership. This I pledge to accomplish as a covenant with the people of Imo. Together we can make it work.”