We members of independent Newspaper Publishers Association (INPA) as stakeholders in Imo State and who are operating and contributing our quota especially in the areas of job creation particularly in the media industry in the state and also, in line with our core responsibility of being the watchdog of the society and acting as a link between the government and the governed in the state, it would amount to a failure both to Imo people and to our constitutional responsibility if we continue to be silent in the face of obvious negligence on the side of the Imo State government under Owelle Rochas Okorocha in rendering account or rather explaining how he has been managing the affairs of the state holistically.
It is therefore on the basis of these that we have now stepped out without prejudice, to demand that Governor Rochas Okorochas immediately without further delay renders the financial account and also explain the following to Imo people:
1 PARIS CLUB FUND: It is a common knowledge that recently the federal government withdrew and released over four hundred billion naira to 36 states of the federation including Abuja from the Paris Club.
Consequently, Imo state reliably got over Thirteen billion (13b) from the same fund. But regrettably, the Governor of the state has neither openly acknowledged the receipt of this money nor explained how he intends to expend or how he has expended the money to Imo people who are the real owners of the money. We therefore demand an explanation.
2. BAIL OUT FUND: In the same vein, in spite of all the controversies surrounding the disbursement of the twenty six billion, Eight hundred million naira (26.8b) bailout fund released by the federal government to Imo State some time in 2015 mainly for the payment of back log of Imo State Workers salaries and Pensioners, Imo people are still kept on the dark about the way the money was spent since over two years now. This has become imperative because of the public outcry by the Pensioners and some workers whose Pension arrears are yet to be offset.
3. LGA FUNDS: Again, we request our amiable Governor to explain to Imo people why he is yet to conduct LGA election since five years of his administration and equally explain how he has spent billions of naira that has accrued to the third tier government since five years now. Or else we may have to publish all the monies that had come to Imo State for the 27 LGAs from the federal Ministry of Finance.
5. AWARD OF CONTRACT: Imo people deserve to know all that is surrounding the award of roads and other infrastructural contracts scattered across the state , the names of Contractors handling or that have handled the contracts etc. We also demand he clears the air on the allegation about non adherence to due process in the award of those contracts particularly non compliance to public procurement Act and lack of Tenders board in Imo State.
6 13% OIL DERIVATION: This is another area that Imo people will want their Governor to explain how much that has come to the state under him as 13% Oil funds for the development of Oil producing LGAs of Oguta and Ohaji/Egbema.
7. URBAN REVEWAL: WHILE WE COMMEND GOVERNOR OKOROCHA FOR MASSIVE ROAD CONSTRUCTION, Imo people demand from him a thorough explanation as to how he is going about the whole process visa viz the observation of due process as many are complaining that they were not given notification before their properties were pulled down.
8. SACK/SUSPENSION OF LGA WORKERS:
This is another area that we demand full explanation from our dear Governor especially now that the matter is raising serious dust and which we are afraid might also give rise to industrial unrest in the state if not well handled.
Finally, we thank our Governor for all the numerous projects he is embarking across the state and urge him to expeditiously proffer answers to these questions as democracy entails accountability to the people as power belongs to the people. He must do this to show his leadership credentials because Imo people deserve the right to know.
Signed BY THE FOLLOWING NEWSPAPER PUBLISHERS:
THE BIG TRUTH
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