Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha’s plan to allegedly spend over N600 million to beautify the state for the forthcoming Christmas and New Year celebrations, has been described as callous and a misplaced priority by immediate past Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief Emeka Ihedioha.
The former lawmaker wondered why the state government should budget such a huge amount of money on Yuletide when people of Imo State are passing through untold hardship as a result of unpaid salaries and pensions.
We’d earlier reported that Imo workers embarked on a street protest yesterday in Owerri over their unpaid salaries, with some state government establishments owed as much as 13 months’ salary arrears.
In a press statement by his media aide, Mr. Chibuike Onyeukwu, Mr. Ihedioha noted that the 27 local government councils had been comatose for years, while several industrial disputes had remained unresolved.
“There are several unresolved industrial disputes, while the state’s infrastructure base has collapsed. Today, there is palpable lack of vision for the genuine development of the state, but the government chose to embark on such inciting and frivolous window dressing”, Ihedioha fumed.
Giving the present administration in the state flaks for conceiving such idea to spend over N600 million, Ihedioha lamented that “despite the prevailing widespread disenchantment being expressed by citizens, who recently called for his immediate impeachment over the alarming rate of hunger and insecurity occasioned by the inept handling of issues of governance and unrepentant deceit so far exhibited by the Okorocha led administration, the governor has refused to repent or address such concerns and other critical issues”.
While acknowledging that “preparations for Christmas celebration is a tradition all over the world”, Ihedioha, however, said, it was “ridiculous and indeed smacks of insensitivity for this government to spend over N600 million on decorations when families can no longer afford their meals and basic needs as a result of non- payment of salaries, pensions and other entitlements”.
The former deputy speaker and governorship candidate of the PDP during the last general elections in the state, also frowned at Governor Okorocha’s refusal to constitute his cabinet six months after being re-elected for a second term.