Sequel to reports of alleged monumental looting, unlawful acquisition and misappropriation of properties of the state by the Rochas Okorocha administration, Imolites at home and in the diaspora have called on the Hope Uzodinma administration to give more momentum to the it’s orchestrated determination to recover all stolen and ill acquired properties of Imo State in line with his earlier promise to the people.
The President General of Olu Owerri, the socio-cultural umbrella body of the nine local government areas of Owerri zone, Chief Martin Opara in a telephone interview with this reporter said, “we stand on the resolve of the people that all stolen and unlawfully acquired property of the Imo people must be recovered from former governor Rochas Okorocha, his cronies, agents and siblings.
These include the IBC quarters at Orji that was converted to Rochas Foundation College, Akachi Estate where the Royal Palm Spring Hotel is located, former Eastern Palm University (now Kingsley Ozumba Mbadiwe University), the expansive Spibat quarters and over 30 plots of land taken on one street alone among numerous others scattered all over the state”.
“This is a test case that will make or mar this administration. We therefore urge Governor Uzodinma to redeem his image because there are already speculations that he is negotiating behind the scene to be given some of the properties while he clandestinely reacquires some. This is an unhealthy development that will create a serious credibility problem”.
“There is also the issue of the bailout fund which Okorocha in very questionable circumstances and without recourse to civil service rules, procedure and guidelines entrusted in the care of his son-in-law to administer, and preside over it’s disbursement. The issue has remained unresolved despite the heated controversy and public outcry it elicited. The scars of the damage wrecked by the misappropriation of the fund is still visible, as Imo State civil servants and pensioners who ought to have been settled with it are still protesting and languishing in poverty, hunger lack and deprivation”.
“We have already lost confidence in the government because of the feelers we are getting. The onus is therefore on him to prove us wrong”.
Also commenting on the issue, a security expert and political pundit, Chief Zeek Martins Nnadozie, expressed his unalloyed support for the recovery of all unlawfully acquired properties of the state and her people by not only Rochas Okorocha but also by any other person; without minding whose ox is gored.
Reacting to a question, he said, “it is highly regrettable that most of the people involved rushed to court to impede the recovery process even when most of them have no respect for due process and rule of law. For instance, former governor Rochas Okorocha who did not obey a single court order during his 8 year tenure quickly rushed to court to halt the recovery process.
He was even said to have attempted to get the Presidency to intervene but was told to allow rule of law to prevail”.
The Organizing Secretary of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Imo State, Hon Stephen Anugwom said, “it is very obvious that the Hope Uzodinma led APC government is not sincere in its approach to the recovery process.
How does one explain or justify the sudden loss of speed and tempo in the recovery process which he flaunted in his bid to be accepted by Imo people who expressed reservation about the way he emerged as governor of the state”.
“We urged him to shun all kinds of obvious and subtle sentiments and step up the recovery process and ensure that all properties of the state are recovered without exception. This is our stand and obviously that of majority of Imo people”.
When contacted on the issue a one time Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the state, Prof. F.C. Dike (SAN), who is also Chairman, Orlu Elders’ Council said, “we, on the platform of Imo State Elders’ Council have already made our position on the recovery of unlawfully acquired or misappropriated properties of the state known. It was published and aired in the national media. If Governor Hope Uzodinma, for any reason fails or to recover the looted properties of the state in line with our stand and the clamour of well meaning Imo people, he becomes accessory after the fact by aiding and abetting the alleged offences”.
Also speaking during a phone interview yesterday, Chief Uche Ejike Uche(Dimkpasaa) , the State Coordinator of Dr Sam Ohabunwa Organization and former Deputy National Chairman of APGA said that Uzodinma should not encourage bad precedence where someone serves out his tenure and brags that until his predecessor accounts for his tenure, he will not.He recalled how Okorocha in an interview Insisted that until Chief Ikedi Ohakim renders account of his stewardship,he won’t be answerable to anybody and that is gradually playing out.
He advised Uzodinma to be mindful of the that property recovery is so dearly to Imo people and he must not politicize it, adding that such move which was not initiated by him but Ihedioha should be seen as a populist program that should be sustained for the interest of Imo people.
A cross section of Imo people who commented on the issue expressed disappointment at the way and manner the Hope Uzodinma shared prosperity administration suddenly developed cold feet in it’s previously hyped intention and determination to recover all illegally acquired properties of the state, pointing out that the sudden loss of tempo in the recovery process has given rise to all kinds of unhealthy speculations and insinuations that will lead to rumour mongering, loss of confidence and ultimately deter the people from keying in and whole heartedly supporting the programmes and policies of the state government.