– Josephine Udorji in hot soup over contract scandal
There was drama, anxiety and palpable tension at Imo House of Assembly yesterday, as the honourable members in exercising their constitutional responsibility, screened the commissioner nominees, recently appointed by the governor, to ascertain their competence.
According to our reporter who covered the event, a disturbing revelation was the inability of virtually all the nominees except Associate Prof. (Mrs) Emenalo to recite the national anthem.
Most of the nominees were thrown off balance because, contrary to their expectation and what was obtainable in the past, when they were only asked to take a bow and leave, they were, this time around subjected to serious question and answer series, on national and contemporary issues by the screening committee presided over by Hon. Ikechukwu Amuka of Ideato South State constituency.
With the exception of some of them who were law makers, the rest of them were extensively drilled and most of them showcased their level of mental porosity, ignorance of financial, national and contemporary issues. Those of them who came without their party membership cards were also told to go back and get them before having their turn.
Prof. Nnamdi Obiareri who served in virtually all governments in the state since 1999, dramatized the session as he injected witty and rib cracking jokes that lightened and refreshed the atmosphere. Though, he was not asked to recite the national anthem, he performed creditably by answering questions intelligently. Prof. Florence Emenalo Chizoba from Isu LGA, aside reciting national anthem, performed very well in the question and answer series.
One nominee who sat on a keg of gun powder and is presently in hot soup, in connection with a N300m naira road contract scandal is the immediate past commissioner for Works and Transport, Chief (Mrs.) Josephine Udorji, who aside from not being able to recite the national anthem, could not mention the names of the contractors handling the controversial and questionable road contract, or give an account of how the contract sum was disbursed with absolutely nothing to show, in terms of work already done, at the site.
She was also said to have been unable to answer any of the questions posed to her correctly, no matter how trivial.
The legislators were also irked that the reconstruction of the dilapidated and unmotorable Osina/Obodoukwu road, Obodoukwu-Akokwa road, Umuga-Umume-Nkwakwe road, Umume/Afor Urualla road, Uzor Ubi-Obodoukwu road etc supervised by her ministry are still at sorry sights, more than 2 years after the contract was awarded and the contract sum disbursed without any thing to show for the huge sum.
Some of those who were screened include Hon. Chief Emma Ojineri from Ahiazu Mbaise, Hon. Chief John Achulike Nwawuike from Ikeduru, Hon. Chief Cyril Odinaka Okafor, Hon. Lasbery Okoroafor Anyannwu from Oru East, Hon Ifeanyi Valentine from Obowo, Hon. Getrude Ego Oduka from Ideato South, was also said to have performed very well. Others include Prof. Florence Chizoba Emenalo from Isu LGA, Hon. Blessing Nwamerenini from Ngor Okpalla, Lady Joy Mbawuike from Isiala Mbano, Hon. Obinna Mbata, Dr. Martin Ohiri from Mbaitoli, Hon. Louis Duru from Umuaka in Njaba LGA, Hon. Emmanuel Ilomuanya from Ehime Mbano.
Others are; Dr. Ernest Nwangbo from Umudi, in Nkwerre LGA, Dr. Dominic Obinna Mgbe from Oru West, Hon. Tony Umezuruke from Amakohia, Uratta in Owerri North, Hon. Nwaturuocha Prince Chidi from Aboh Mbaise, Hon. Emeka Benjamin from Ohaji/Egbema, and Barr. (Mrs.) Ngozi Njoku, from Nwangele, Chief Mrs. Josephine Udorji from Urualla in Ideato North LGA.
As far as the nominees are concerned, there is still anxiety and in the air as they are expected to know their fate after today’s plenary session.