-Describe it as a sham

The purported empowerment of 15,000 Imo youths who the state government claimed were given N250,000 each as startup capital at the Dan Anyiam Stadium last Saturday has been faulted by many discerning and well meaning individuals and groups in the state including the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Imolites for Good Governance, (IGG) a socio-political and cultural group, which described the exercise as a sham aimed at deceiving and hoodwinking the people.

The Peoples Democratic Party PDP, in a release issued by the Director General, New Media, Collins Opuruzor accused the state government of peddling falsehood and trying to score cheap political points with the grant released by the federal government for Imo youths as post COVID-19 stimulus which is supposed to be disbursed at the rate of N500,000 per applicant. “Now, Uzodinma has reduced the figure to N250,000 and the 15,000 applicants they are parading is a hoax.

“To the best of our knowledge, after all the dubious names had been added by government appointees to the data base, only 4,825 names are found in their list. Let them publish the authentic data to challenge what we have said. What will happen to the rest of the money, as almost N3billion is presently unaccounted for in view of this reality”. “They are busy publicizing that they are empowering 15,000 people just to cover a big racket. Why has it become impossible for Hope Uzodinma to tell Imo people the truth? Why would everything be politicized in Imo simply because Uzodinma wishes to portray himself as having been accepted by Imo people? Does he think Imo people are daft?”

He also added that, “To gain some political capital from the whole thing, Uzodinma and his band of propagandists have begun to spew their usual falsehood, that they are the ones empowering Imo youths. I don’t think they understand what empowerment is all about. We are in a state where government has no programs, policies, nor plans. If they had any plans to empower the youths, the first thing would have been to first train the applicants in various skills, so that whatever money they get will go into the operationalization of the skills! But nothing like that was done”.

“Rather, they hired people to flood the entire city and stage a solidarity rally for Uzodinma at Dan Anyiam Stadium. They filmed the crowd just to deceive the world that the ruler is popular among Imo people”.

“Recall that Imo State has not officially lifted the Covid-19 regulations. Why would the same Uzodinma who imposed the regulations be gathering thousands of people at a spot just for clout-chasing? What is the essence of the planned rally for Uzodinma over a Federal Government grant? Since the money will not be handed out to the applicants in cash and since the people they hired are fake, and given the rate of insecurity in the Imo, why endanger the lives of the people just for vainglory? 

A socio political and cultural group, Imolites for Good Governance described the N4b youth empowerment of the state government as “a totally misplaced priority”.

Speaking to newsmen recently in Owerri the Imo State capital, the National Coordinator of the group, Mazi Chinonso Uba (Nonso Nkwa) said the N4 billion naira the state government claimed it disbursed to the youths at the rate of N250,000 each is a wasted effort that would not yield desired  result pointing out that the money should have been channeled towards building cottage industries and factories that would, aside standing the test of time, offer the youths lasting financial support.

The group noted that, “the state government had in November 2020 trained hundreds of Imo Youths in anticipation of empowering them. Unfortunately after a month training program those who participated are yet to be empowered by the government. Its therefore laughable that the same government that ditched Imo youths in November 2020 suddenly decided to dash another set of Imo youths the sum of N250,000 each”.

IGG further described the Empowerment as a political Jamboree to score cheap political points at a time serious measures should be put in place for the establishment of industries and factories to beat down the increasing population of unemployed Imo youths.

Most of the youths according to the group might end up squandering the money given to them on friends and families without investing it in any productive venture thereby diving back to square one of lack and unemployment.

They beckoned on the state governor Hope Uzodinma to as a matter of urgency look inwards and find a lasting solution to the high rate of unemployment bedeviling the state rather than sharing money to the youths in the name of empowerment, noting that given the prevailing economic situation of the state, N250,000 is nothing to write home about.

Speaking in the same vein, other Imolites who described the exercise as a sham and  expressed disappointment at the level of confusion and lack of proper coordination that characterized the exercise which according to them, questioned the state government’s claim that the beneficiaries were chosen and screened at their local government councils.

“Besides, why were they told by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba to expect alerts before they leave the venue when the cheques ought to have been prepared and handed over to them at the venue. Do banks work on Saturday? If for any reason, some of them do not receive alerts after the orchestrated media show that was beamed live, how would Imolites who have been deceived for so long know the true position”, they queried.