How PDP Prevented South East From Producing Senate President –Okorocha | Independent Newspapers Limited
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How PDP Prevented South East From Producing Senate President –Okorocha

Posted: Aug 9, 2015 at 12:02 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Not long ago,   President Muhammadu Buhari visited President Barrack Obama of the United States of America to discuss some fundamental issues affecting the country.  Imo state governor, Rochas Okorocha who was in the President’s entourage threw more light on the essence of the visit. He also spoke on some crucial issues affecting the state while briefing newsmen in Owerri. Anolu Vincent was there. Excerpts

Rochas Okorocha

Rochas Okorocha

Your Excellency, you were one of the governors who accompanied Mr. President to the United States of America recently. May we know what really transpired there?

Yes, I was one of the governors who recently travelled to the USA, with Mr. President. The President while in America had series of meetings with different groups and a number of functions were set out for us. It was one of the best visits anybody can think of and the reception accorded us at the white House Annex was quite encouraging and reassuring. The white House Annex  is a place traditionally reserved for in-coming  Presidents and we met with seven different groups, one led by the World Bank Brigade Group, the  National  Peace Institute Kerry- the secretary of state and President Barrack Obama described President  Buhari as an impeccable character. I can assure you without any fear of contradiction that the character of President Muhammadu Buhari has attracted many good things for our country and the American authorities have actually seen a man to work with. They now see President Buhari as another Nelson Mandela and they have  pledged to support us in the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency with necessary logistics.

Same Sex marriage:

This is alien to our culture and belief and this did not feature in our discussion with President Barrack  Obama. Marriage is something between a man and woman and we already have a law about this in our country.

President Muhammadu is now more than ever prepared to rebuild a lot of states ravaged by the Boko Haram sects and the United States will assist us in this regard. The Brigade Command Group in US will also assist us. Imo state is polio-free and we will do our best to sustain this. I appeal to our Royal fathers in this regard. The Nigerian community is happy with the APC led federal government. For now, the United States government is more than ever willing to partner with Nigeria in all aspects of growth and development unlike in the past due to the ineptitude of the PDP controlled federal government. You may have heard that one of my sons recently bagged a first class honours in Mechanical Engineering from the Manchester University. My daughter also made first class and I give all honours and glory to God who makes all things possible. The kids have not allowed this to get into their heads. They are quiet, reserved, humble and unassuming, unlike the children of some other prominent individuals in positions of authority.

I am all the more happy that they obtained their first class outside the shores of our country because if they  had obtained it from any of the nation’s universities like  the Imo State University, the insinuation would have been that I have used my position as a governor to buy it for them.

I must commend the nation’s judiciary for allowing parties to function and I have no doubt that they will continue to remain the last hope of the common man. And in this case, I am a common man. President Buhari had indicated strong interest to remedy all forms of electoral violence to ensure that justice is done for all the victims of electoral violence in the last general elections. Recall that my Chief Press Secretary – Mr. Sam Onwuemeodo was one of those mercilessly beaten up by PDP thugs in his ward at Mbutu, in the Aboh Mbaise council area during the governorship election.

Strike by civil servants in the state

We had an agreement with the workers and I sincerely pledged to keep to the terms of the agreement. Unfortunately, they (the workers) for inexplicable reasons chose to breach the terms of the agreement and commenced what they have termed us warning strike.

Before, I came in as a governor, workers including teachers and pensioners were owned several arrears of salaries and gratuities by the past administration.

However, on assumption of office, I entered into an agreement with them and I have always paid them as at when due. Their  inability to see reasons is something that I cannot understand and I want to believe that the strike is purely politically  motivated. They have breached our agreement 90% of our resources goes to the payment of workers salaries and that of political appointees. Over N2billion which the local governments receive are used to pay salaries. I am not really happy with workers in the health sector. Some of the medical doctors in government owned hospitals prefer to treat their patients in their private hospitals and clinics where they make money to the detriment  of the state and its economy. As I said earlier, the workers are not fair to us because I have always paid them their entitlements hence I am convinced that the on-going strike is politically motivated.  I appeal to them to go back to work. We will compare the salaries of workers in Enugu, Ebonyi and Abia states and whatever is their take home pay, we will pay it to our workers.

We have embarked on Biometric verification exercise to pluck all financial leakages and that is what is giving them headache. There are thousands of youths out there looking for job and those of them already employed by the government should count themselves lucky. Shutting down government offices at the expense of the state is not the ideal thing. Parastatals should be able to tend for themselves without depending on government’s subvention for survival.

I do not give any monthly subvention to any of the Owerri-based media outfits, yet they are doing well. How do they survive?. Why can’t our media establishments do the magic wand which these information houses do to survive? We are wasting money on individuals who are not productive.  Teacher should not go on strike because this will affect our free education programme.

Security situation in the state

We are doing our best to protect lives and properties. Recently, a dangerous criminal who had been terrorizing, kidnapping and killing innocent people has been arrested. He is Henry Chibueze (aka Vampire) aged 28 from the Nwangele council area of the state. Vampire has since confessed to have been involved in several kidnappings, killings and maiming of people, including the gruesome murder of three  brothers. In his confessional statements, he admitted that four people he kidnapped died in his custody and that he killed his girl friend who stole the sum of N45million belonging to him.  Vampire even attempted kidnapping judges of the state election petition Tribunal and when the  security men got wind of this, they gave him a hot chase but he escaped with bullet wounds  which  he sustained after engaging the police in an exchange of fire.

He was trailed and eventually arrested in Ohafia, Abia State in the house of a close relation of his. I commend security agencies for a job well done. I have set up a joint task force comprising soldiers, police and DSS to deal with the issue of insecurity and there is calm now in a number of crime and crisis ridden areas such as  Ohaji . We have kept a tab on all the bushes and forests at Avu and Irette in the Owerri West local government area to dislodge hoodlums in their hide outs.

As a I said earlier, we are taking steps to address the issues of kidnapping because a kidnapper is a kidnapper and you do not treat a kidnapper on the basis of where he comes from. From now henceforth, any hotel that harbours criminals will be demolished and the owner arrested and prosecuted accordingly.

Marginalization of the South East in the appointment of service chiefs by President  Muhammadu Buhari.

As a matter of fact, no section of the country will be marginalized by the APC led federal government. Appointments have not taken place. Mr. President has not appointed ministers and when this is done, the South East will have its own slot. What the President did in the selection of service chiefs is to let the locals handle their own affairs. The North East has the commitment to tackle the problems affecting their people in respect of the Boko Haram  insurgency. Coming to the leadership of the National Assembly, you  will understand that there  is no ranking member  from the South East who  is of the APC. The PDP rigged the Presidential/National Assembly elections and stole all the mandates given to the APC in the South East. They did this so as to continue to dominate the three arms of the government, but they never knew that they would be doing a great disservice to the South East because if they had allowed the wishes of the electorate to prevail, definitely, the APC would have got the position of either the President of the Senate or the office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives. *****When I was telling our people of the need to embrace  the APC and to vote for all candidates of the  party in the last elections, some people thought that I was crazy but today I have been vindicated. The PDP took us several years backwards in development and growth****.

Although, our people in the South East could not be allowed to produce either the Senate President on the speaker of the House of Representatives because of the result of the  last elections, it does not mean that we will not be  accommodated in the scheme of things.

The PDP divided our  nation by making the  psyche of the people to think that they come from  different background. Nigerians should use President  Buhari to strengthen  the unity of the nation because he is a  detribalized leader who abhors corruption segregation and dichotomy in all their ramifications. We of the APC are not strange bedfellows. We understand ourselves, our party’s manifestoes and Mr. President is the leader of our party just as the governors of the states are leaders of their parties in their respective states.

Allegations of abandonment of projects in the state

Our 27 general hospitals will soon be completed and equipped. The hotel projects and stadia at  Orlu and Okigwe will also  be completed in no  distant time. We are constructing roads on the industrial layout, installing solar lights and engaging new companies for power solar lights and before December this year, the state will be stable-power wise.

The Ahiajoku convention centre has been remodeled into Imo Chamber of Commerce, Trade and Industry. Our relationship with the Turkish authorities  is ok and we are working with 100 industries, and factories and my trip to US is part of factory, factory, industry, industry, job, job business for our people. We have extended links with Zimbabwe to facilitate our industrial drive.

Recent introduction of monthly environmental sanitation exercise after several years of accumulated refuse in parts of the state

Our people should not be told to clean up their surroundings in this 20th century. Our people should learn to keep their premises neat instead of waiting for   a-day officially designated as environmental sanitation day. We will soon get a company to take care of waste in the state.

Reduction of cost of governance

I have already done this by sacrificing my security votes and this has led to the execution of numerous capital projects in the state such as the construction of stadia, the Imo International Convention Centre (IICC), 305 Schools, the new cities of Orlu and Okigwe, several kilometers of  roads. We have commenced the construction of flyovers and that  at the Imo State University  roundabout will be  completed soon.

Our people will undoubtedly appreciate my administration when I leave office because I have drastically reduced the cost of governance which has given birth to the realization of many projects in the state. The reduction of the cost of governance will also manifest in the composition of my new cabinet.