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Monday, 16 May 2016

Before Our Dear Imo State Grind To A Halt (OPINION)



One has watched with concern the pain and anguish that is strangulating the people of Imo State.It is disheartening to note that the chubby looks on the face of the average Imolite is fading away, giving way for frustration, anger and regret. They never fail to lament the terrible times that has impoverished them, made them look like followers without a shepherd.

What is presently happening in Imo State is clear case of economic stagnation that has hit the citizenry so bad. Hunger has crept into the homes of many as majority of the citizenry only pray for divine intervention to change their sorry situation
.The churches have become the places of succor as they beckon on God to deliver them from political and economic bondage that has been their lot in recent times.

The coming of the Rescue mission administration of Rochas Okorocha brought so much hope to the people. Many can recall how the streets of Owerri went into wild jubilation when Okorocha was pronounced winner of the 2011 governorship election.

Five years after, the story is not the same. The jubilation has given way for regret and despondency. What the people see and can attest to are bogus projects such as roads and gigantic empty halls.Some of the projects which the government always counts as its achievements do not have economic value.

It is also not false that Owerri and environ has lately seen brand new infrastructure that has only succeeded to change the landscape of the city. They simply add nothing to the stifled Imo economy as unemployment among the youths have reached a frightening point.  

There is hunger and despondency in Imo State. This is not an understatement, rather a true picture of a State whose people are merely seeking for the unthinkable to salvage and remedy their situation.
It has never been this bad in the eastern heartland which is one of the oil producing States with little or no militant activities to disrupt the gains inherent from being one of the States that produce that “black gold” the nation depends on for survival.

Certainly, Imo is in dire straits. There is economic meltdown and nothing; absolutely nothing seems to be working.    One word to summarize the present state of Imo is discontent. Workers salaries are irregular. When it comes, they get 70% of their pay.

In the month of May, payments for February salaries are just streaming in.  There is despondency in the civil service after  Labour engaged in a  bitter confrontation with the Okorocha government in January 2016 after it announced the sack of 3, 000 workers.Yet, Imo State received a whopping N26 billion as bail out from the Federal Government for the sole purpose of paying workers salaries.
With a stifled opposition that rarely oppose government policies and a House of Assembly that have become playthings of the executives, the present government has field day experimenting with policies that only suits his fancy and his unconventional style of governance.

At the moment, the Imo State university lecturers are on strike over issues that border on non- payment of salaries. The State owned polytechnic may soon join the strike, all in a State where education is proclaimed to be free.  Workers in the state judiciary went on strike to protest cut in their pay. Pensioners are not faring better. Some are owed up to 35 months.  

The local governments have become appendages of Government House, Owerri.  Elections to elect local government chairmen as stipulated by the Constitution have not taken place since the present government came on board five years ago.
Basic necessities of life such as water supply are totally out of the reach of the commoners despite the much trumpeted reactivation of the State water scheme.  Demolitions of private businesses by the State government has further compounded the woes of those who embarked on self help effort  

Imo State is on the verge of grinding to a halt with no remedy in sight for a people so resilient but stifled by a government that runs governance like fiefdom where stagnancy has firm tap roots.   

Echefu  Wrote From Owerri

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