Former governor Ikedi Ohakim of Imo State has condemned the inability of the Rochas Okorocha led government to pay judges and judicial staff in the state, their statutory emoluments, inspite of the enormous resources, presently accruing to the government.
He said this in during an interactive session with newsmen, “an evening with the media”, held in his 3 bedroom bungalow in Prefab, Aladimma Housing Estate, Owerri, the Imo State capital.
The Okohia, Isiala Mbano born stalwart of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), recalled that when he became governor in 2007, the first set of people he summoned for a meeting on the way forward was judges. “I did this because of the tremendous respect I have for them and the cardinal role they play in our society”.
He noted that it is very appalling that the different arms of government that should be independent for effective governance have suddenly become appendages of the executive arm, and now go cap in hand begging for funds which they are deliberately denied. This he said is to ensure their consistent attachment and subservience to the executive. “This is an aberration that should not be so”.
He averred that, if the government fails to pay the judges and judicial staff their salary by the 18th of March, 2018, he will personally lead a protest march against the rescue mission government and “if it warrants me to go naked I will do that”, to highlight some of its disturbing excesses, abuse and misuse of power.
According to him, the 3 bedroom bungalow in Prefab, Aladimma Housing Estate in Owerri municipal, where the sit-out was held was acquired, long before he became governor and is the only building he owns in the state, and regretted that “these people have amassed so much wealth and built several eye popping mansions at the expense of the people and yet, are unable to pay the salaries and allowances of judges and other judicial officers.
On his political ambition, the former governor said, he is still a member of the PDP. “Some people have constantly asked me if I forget anything in government house and the answer is yes. I forgot something in government house”. He said, the people were denied their mandate in 2011 and it behooves on him to lead in reclaiming that mandate. “People have been drawing my attention to the pitiable plight of Imo people and I will definitely do something about it. The over 5 million naira monthly salary I pay myself is enough to sustain me but I am deeply touched and concerned about the suffering of the people whose rights are being trampled on”, and will not keep silent”.