-Wear “Ashebi” to mark governor’s one year in office

As if unaware of their role as the third arm of government with constitutional powers to check the excesses of the executive and call them to order when there is need, members of the Hon. Paul Emeziem led House of Assembly are said to have consistently mortgaged their independence on the altar of personal aggrandizement and have turned themselves into a group of praise singers  of the executive, hence they are now referred to as “Onwa Oyoko boys” as reported in an Imo based Newspaper(not Nigeria Watchdog). 

An enraged political activist who simply identified himself as Mr Dom Mgbee said, “The latest in their serial exhibition of what many term crass ignorance and lack of self esteem was their recent appearance in white “Ashebi” at the event held recently to mark Governor Uzodinma’s one year in office. As if that was not enough, they organized a special session on Tuesday March 16, 2021 where each of them praised and spoke glowingly of the governor who in their assessment has performed creditably and deserves an award of excellence for his leadership and administrative acumen”.

Some other  Imolites who spoke to this reporter on the issue, expressed disgust and disappointment that the speaker did not deem it fit to soberly address the issue of non payment of accumulated salaries and pensions of Imo workers and retirees.

They said, “we expected the speaker to sincerely apologize for the government’s inability to pay salaries which is a cardinal responsibility of government and promise to address the issue within a given time”.

They noted that independent investigation has revealed that majority of Imo workers are owed several months arrears of salary including staff of Imo State University, Owerri, ISOPADEC, ADC, and other parastatals. “Some of those who are lucky to be paid at all were either short paid or received staggered payments, which confuses and makes it difficult for them to know how much they are owed and for how many months”.

They also took a swipe at the other lawmakers who, as representatives of suffering and pauperized Imo people did not prevail on the governor to honestly and sincerely address the issue of non payment, delayed and staggered payment of salaries, a situation that has subjected a majority of Imo people, their children, dependents and relatives to untold hardship, lack and penury for no fault of theirs.

“We all know that the state government is being economical with the truth as regards non payment of salaries and pensions. After all, the Hope Uzodinma government at inception said they had, through the diligence of eagle eyed consultants they hired, streamlined the pay roll system, blocked all loopholes and was saving N2b monthly previously siphoned by ghost workers. It was also observed that the list of verified civil servants that were said to have been paid upto date, as published by government was full of irregularities. The names of some retired and dead civil servants were on the list, including the former Rector of the Imo State Polytechnic, Umuagwo, Rev. Fr. Wence Madu, who was said to have retired in October 2020, but is paid salary uptil date, while some of those who are still in service are still being owed, despite fulfilling all obligations and producing all documents demanded by government”.

The former chairman and Chief Executive of National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) Engr. Sam Amadi in a release in reaction to the obvious displacement of priority on the side of the lawmakers, berated the legislators for holding a special session that apparently cost millions of Imo peoples funds that should be channeled towards more important ventures that will benefit the people, just to sing the praises of the governor.

The seasoned technocrat regretted that, “the Imo State House of Assembly held a special session that was telecast live on Channels television to celebrate Governor Uzodinma’s so-called “monumental” achievements. This silliness must have cost the public treasury a lot and the owner of the media outfit is smiling to the bank. Beside, the wasteful and unnecessary financial expenditure, the event and it’s live telecast showed lack of seriousness on the part of the legislature. There is nothing monumental about Uzodinma’s administration so far, as governance in Imo State is still pedestrian. The legislators, who were obviously overwhelmed by the desire to please their principal ought to have written their praise singing tributes as letters and publish them in the newspapers to save cost”.

He advised the governor who he said may have instigated the charade not to take the sycophants serious.