Professionals from Ohaji/Egbema/Oguta/Oru West of Imo State are frowning at what they described as unprovoked attacks on the immediate past Deputy Governor of the state, Gerald Irona, by agents of the state government.
They are expressing their displeasure on the platform of their League of Professionals via a statement jointly signed by its Secretary, Nwando Ethel Anyasinti, and Public Relations Officer, Oloko Okwudiri.
They are alleging that funds of Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (ISOPADEC), were being diverted, and warned that ISOPADEC funds are statutory and must not be diverted for whatever reasons.
“ISOPADEC funds are statutory. Forty percent of thirteen percent derivation is not difficult to calculate. It is strange that Staff of ISOPADEC are being owed for about four months, while billions of Naira accruing to her in the last six months cannot be accounted for.
‘’It is also strange that six months into this administration, the Commission does not have a Board; not even a Managing Director. This is unacceptable.
‘’Our attention has also been drawn to the fact that counterpart funds paid by one of the multinational companies in the state for Awarra Court Area electrification project in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of the State, amounting to One Hundred and Fourteen million (N114m) lodged in ISOPADEC’s UBA account is no more there.
‘’We have equally been told that about Two Hundred million Naira left as savings by the immediate past ISOPADEC management, in the same UBA account has been withdrawn, without traces. About three billion Naira, being ISOPADEC’s allocation for six months can also not be accounted for.
“We are still studying the situation and may have no option, but to seek judicial review, in an event that the state government does not come clean on ISOPADEC. This distraction strategy is dead on arrival. Imo people are wiser than this”, they said.
According to them, agents of the state government are allegedly diverting attention from issues of governance in the state, and advised those running the affairs of the state to show capacity, while governing with the fear of God.
“We have observed lately, the serial attacks on the person of the immediate past Deputy Governor of the State, Gerald Irona. First, it was a faction of the Imo State chapter of the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE).
‘’Next was our brother, a former member of the House of Representatives, Goodluck Opiah, followed by the Imo State Commissioner for Information, Declan Emelumba. Some others were social media attacks on his person.
‘’Our investigations revealed that all the attacks are sponsored by agents of the present administration in the State, with the primary objective of diverting the attention of the citizens on critical governance issues. We condemn this cowardly act and warn all those behind it to desist forthwith and focus on governance.
‘’Recent developments in the state have kept many wondering if anyone is really in charge of the affairs of Imo State. Workers are being owed for months; Pensioners are being owed alike; protests are experienced daily on the streets of Owerri and these are serious red flags.
‘’We have been wondering what the billions of Naira that have entered the state in the last six months of the present administration were used for. Hunger is on the increase, while state officials are busy sounding like broken records daily. ”
“Imo people are fed with outright lies daily by agents of the government. If it is not pensions today, it is Ihedioha tomorrow; next tomorrow, it is Okorocha and the next, Gerald Irona. No responsible government that is ready to make a difference will tow this dangerously unproductive line.
‘’Instead of coming up with issues to distract the people, probably, as a result of not having a blueprint for governance, the Governor Hope Uzodinma-led administration should convoke a stakeholders’ summit where issues of governance in the state could be discussed. This could be held virtually, as the Covid-19 pandemic persists.”