By Williams Orji
Five socio-political organisations under the umbrella of Imo Salvation Forum (ISF) said they have submitted a comprehensive document known as Imo Salvation Charter to the state governor-elect, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha which contains some of the major demands of Imo people from his administration in the next four years, which begins from 29 May, 2019.
Ihedioha was announced as the winner of the March 9 governorship election in Imo State having defeated his closest rival Uche Nwosu with over 83,000 votes.
Reading a communiqué to journalists after a meeting that took place on Chidi Akurunwa Street, Port Harcourt Road, Owerri, on Sunday, the stakeholders said their first line charge in the 10-point document submitted to the Governor-elect, is a probe of the out-going governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha which must begin as soon as he takes over Douglas House.
The national coordinator of the forum, Chief Finbar Chidubem A., who is also the President-General of Imo Prosperity Network (IPN) read the communiqué and said that with the emergence of Hon. Ihedioha as governor-elect, Imo has been liberated from Rochas Okorocha and his misrule, adding however that there was the need to set agenda for the in-coming governor so that he would be properly guided on the major aspirations of the people that gave him mandate.
“We are here to inform you, gentlemen of the press, that we have formally submitted a 10-point document known as Imo Salvation Charter to the governor-elect. In the first place, we drew the attention of His Excellency to the fact that the election of March 9, 2019 that overthrew Rochas Okorocha was a massive revolution in which the people were determined to make whatever sacrifice that was necessary to bring an end to the primitive dynasty that he wanted to entrench in Imo.
“Having succeeded in overthrowing the evil rule, it is now time to take stock of what happened in the state in the past eight years which led to the brutalization of our people physically, mentally and psychologically. This is because, not doing so would amount to the greatest disservice to Imo people,” the communiqué stated.
“We have gone round all the communities in Imo State. What everybody in Imo is demanding first and foremost is that Rochas be made to account to the people why he used the hundreds of billions of Naira that was entrusted to him on the behalf of our people for eight years. Imo people are demanding that Rochas give account of the amount of money he used to fund bogus contracts he awarded to cronies without due process. Why he spent billions of public funds to build useless statues of even criminals and outlaws in Owerri while the people suffered hunger and deprivation. Imo people want to know who Rochas allocated the hundreds of landed properties he revoked from authentic owners in and around Owerri,” the communiqué said.
Apart from probing the out-going governor, the Forum listed other important matters that the in-coming governor should address which include reform of the state’s civil service, review of the system of salary payment, nepotism in appointment of public office holders, land allocation/acquisition in the state as well as accountability in award of contracts, among others.
“In our submission to the in-coming governor, we drew his attention to the fact that Imo State public service is in shambles, destroyed by Rochas Okorocha and his co-travelers. Today there is no laid down rules governing issues like recruitment, dismissal, staff placement, promotion, leave matters, everything. There is therefore the need to reform the public service in Imo and bring sanity to the system,” it said.
“We also drew the attention of the Governor-elect to the need to review the huge salary deficit and the irrationality of workers welfare in the state. Currently, Imo state workers cannot even say how much they have been paid since Rochas became governor eight years ago as they are paid anytime the governor wants. Sometimes they are paid half salary, at other times they are paid in percentage while most times they are not paid at all. All these, we want the governor-elect to sit down and review as soon as he is sworn in a few weeks from now.
Apart from Imo Prosperity Network, other groups that form the Forum and who were all represented at the media briefing are Imo Sons and Daughters (ISD), Imo Peoples’ Congress for Development (IPCD), Imo Watchdogs for Transparency and Good Governance (IWTGG) and Women of Imo for Community Development (WICD).