Following the inability of the shared prosperity government of Senator Hope Uzodinma, to meet most of its financial obligations to the people of the state, with several workers, (civil servants and local government employees) and pensioners not paid their statutory salaries as at when due, citizens of the state who are privy and can attest to the jumbo allocations received regularly by the Governor, since December 2019 and now, have continued to query the reasons behind the inability of the government to meet all financial obligations. They are also afraid that the #2billion monthly Internally Generated Revenue may have developed wrongs and laundered abroad at the expense of Imolites.
The query is sequel to the sighting of available records showing that the 27 LGAs of Imo state received a gross total allocation of four Billion, two hundred and fifty-nine million, three hundred and fifty two thousand, four hundred and twenty one naira, forty four kobo (4,259,352,421.44), for the month of September 2020.
The monthly statutory allocation for October is at the verge of being released to Imo state, any moment from now, yet there is no indication that the state government has one kobo in its coffers since nothing is working not even the Covid-19 testing centre at Orlu road.
Apart from the fact that most contractors have withdrawn from the roads in Owerri even at dry season when they are supposed to do everything to asphalt the already graded and some primed roads since Christmas is almost here, workers have continued to lament none payment or what has come to be associated with hope Uzodinma, as staggered payment of salaries, to all categories of workers including teachers, staff of Imo polytechnic and those of IMSU.
Imo lawmakers and staff of the house of Assembly are even worst hit with allegations of salary discrimination and marginalization against opposition lawmakers which has never been witnessed or heard of since the dawn of our nascent democracy in 1998.
The same applies to the Imo State Universal Basic Education Board (IMSUBEB), where the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) Abuja, thought and considered it wise to freeze the accounts. The freezing of IMSUBEB accounts has therefore thrown the establishment into total confusion and disorientation which means that the Governor has not been able to muster courage and the political will to appoint a new board to oversee the administration and management of the agency which Owelle Rochas Okorocha turned to a cash cow using former chairman and white label.
Contractors, who took loans from banks to execute a number of classroom blocks for the 2016, 2017 and 2018 UBEC years, cannot be paid despite several protest to back their demand. Almost eleven months into his tenure, the governor Hope Uzodinma appears to be at sea of confusion and totally disorganized on what to do with the several reports of the different judicial panels of enquires constituted by his predecessor Emeka Ihedioha, all of which he inherited with their reports already turned in.
This ineptitude over what to do with reports of the summary panels has also affected most of the contractors assembled by Okorocha in 2012, some of who successfully executed their road projects, previously some of which were officially commissioned and certificate of completion acknowledged. The affected contractors had severally petitioned Okorocha for payment but that fell on deaf ears until ihedioha set up a judicial panel of inquiry to verify and ascertain the veracity or otherwise of their claims and counter claims.
The Iheaka judicial panel of inquiry according to our sources, recommended that about eight of these contractors with genuine certificates of standard jobs, should be paid without further delays to cushion the excruciating pains on them and their families.
Presently apart from Port Harcourt road Owerri which is Federal road being reconstructed by the state government at all other roads projects, including Chukwuma Nwoha, Shoprite, MCC/Uratta, Worldbank, Federal secretariat roads owerri have stopped due to non-payment of debts or contractual agreements already incurred in the construction of such roads with the contracts for Nekede-Ihiagwa and adjoining roads revoked on the basis of none-completion by the contractors after collecting mobilization of far above one billion naira paid by the previous administration that awarded the contracts. It means that the Governor has not spent any of the monies he received as Federal statutory and internal revenue on road construction, since his assumption of office on January 15,2020
This brings Imolites to the question which every concerned citizen and patriot of Imo state is asking every day. If the shared prosperity government of Senator Hope Uzodinma cannot pay salaries of Civil servants including primary and post primary school teachers and pensions to retirees, and yet cannot pay debts owed road construction contractors after the thorough investigations and scrutiny by the Justice Iheaka’s judicial panel of enquiry, what is he doing with all the money received monthly and the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) now running into billions of naira monthly, and which the shared prosperity government received international award.
Sources at the local government areas gave this graphic picture and illustration. One that the state commissioner for finance, Chuk Chukmeka is usually kept in the dark over revenues received. Instead, the States Accountant General alone, attends JAAC meeting at Abuja, collects the huge allocations and hands over all the monies to the governor who pays his interim Management Chairman (IMC) about #2million monthly salary each to keep quite. The governor, it was also learnt gives each LGA, what is now called a salary-Stipends of maximum of #15million monthly. Some receive paltry #10million, some #12million as the case may be. What happens to the rest of the money is any body’s guess?The LGA with the least monthly allocation is Nkwerre. For the current September 2020, Federal allocation, Nkwerre LGA received #124million. The highest is Isiala Mbano LGA with #188million, followed by Mbaitolu with #172milion and Ohaji/Egbema with #170million. When you subtract an average of #20million representing salaries of chairmen and councilors, and staff of LGA every month, the rest of the money goes into private purses. From this record of #15million for salary monthly, it becomes clear also that the #44million monthly wage a bill approved for each LGA by Emeka Ihedioha was therefore over bloated and fraudulent. But the subsistent fraud presently is unimaginably and unacceptable.