26th March, 2013
By Peter Claver Oparah
Imo PDP, that rustic club of free loaders is angry. The members are weeping and gnashing their teeth. They are swearing and cursing. Chei, they want the good old days badly. They want a recreation of the free meal era and they will pay anything to have that era back. That is where they premise a possible ceasefire from their present warfare against Imo State. It is only a restoration of the goody goody days that will assuage their bitter spirit. It is only a restoration of the chop chop era that will hold back their darts and arrows, which they have primed and aimed at the jugular of the rambunctious Rochas Okorocha regime. Nothing, not the swashbuckling snub of Okorocha, not the plethora of projects he is frenetically pursuing, not the array of people-oriented policies he has unleashed on Imo in the last one year will hold back the firing pin of their Kalashnikov, which are presently trained at Douglas House. They will not go home without their booty. Yes, booty sharing is the name of the game and nothing but a decreeing into place a recreation of the booty sharing sessions that qualified as governance before Okorocha came two years ago with his bad luck, will hold back the trigger.
Since their deadly stranglehold was rudely freed from the throat of Imo State in 2011, PDP has remained inconsolable. It has cried itself hoarse about the bad fortune that had been their lot since Okorocha came with his wahala in 2011. Yes, PDP will not easily forget the Okorocha wahala as it revved Imo people into an audacious resistance they have never experienced since their suffocating hold on Imo. Since Okorocha came, Imo PDP had become a haven of distraught and disoriented political wayfarers who do not have the faintest idea on how to start the quest for recreation. They have held meetings upon meetings, strategies upon strategies all aimed at how best to spin themselves back to power and restore the days of free harvest where they share out state resources to their members and dare others to jump to Nworie River. They have met and re-met with the presidency, the national leadership of PDP and all others interested in their tales of woe. In one such meetings with the PDP National Leadership, the Imo State chairman of PDP was reported to have painted a very pitiable picture of the lot of his party members since they were rudely shoved aside by mass uprising. He was reported to have stated how they have lost the governorship, the local councils and all other power positions that financed their legendary orgies and wondered how they will survive without federal patronage. That was enough to reveal what is in it for the members of the PDP. It is survival verged on living off the state and that is the singular reason Imo PDP is engaged in a deadly dance. Life outside power, even when their party controls the almighty federal government, could be really tough. But then, Imo PDP members must do well to ask members of the opposition parties how they have been surviving where they (members of PDP) engage in brazen free loading.
The quest to survive is driving Imo PDP to despair. Practically, they have relocated to Abuja and survive on rations fed by the presidency and their members who hold key positions in Abuja. From there, they have been cooking and perfecting plots and schemes on how to take over Imo. They have been forging propaganda and raw guttersnipes with the hope it will obliterate the stellar performance Okorocha is shaming the twelve years of PDP governance. In one recent report, they drew the daggers they are preparing for Okorocha on themselves over yet the sharing of the $100,000 the presidency allegedly gave them. Yes, it is booty sharing and when you see Imo PDP rev and fret, swear and curse about Imo, just know it is about booty sharing and they can’t wait for the dawn of another endless sharing era. They have been working on multifarious plots to end this annoying interference in their free sharing template and prominent among these plots is generating and circulating enough petitions to keep Rochas distracted for the rest of his first term and like over ripe pawpaw, nudge him for the humpty dumpty fall that will finish him off. In this art of petition writing, they enlist the ready services of EFCC, which Imo PDP and indeed, all members of PDP construe as their attack dog which would be unleashed on anyone giving them skin pain. If Rochas is not giving them enough nightmares, pray who is? So he is a ready meat for EFCC’s onslaught.
One of such recent petitions was the laughable one that alleged that Rochas has chopped a hefty N26 billion the former government left in the treasury when it was sent packing. Many Imolites have been asking that if this is the amount left in the treasury in Imo State after the last four years of the last administration, where is the balance? They ask of the balance because it is an opinion writ large among Imo people that nothing on ground shows that the former regime spent over N500 billion. They feel that if the former government left N26 billion doing nothing, where is the remainder of the over N500 billion it appropriated in four years? It is as simple a logic as it came and Imo PDP should be able to answer this or show commensurate services it rendered with the hefty sum. There should be no pussy footing here. There should be no pranks here and it just demands a straight answer. It is an age old maxim that he who goes to equity must do so with clean hands. I think EFCC has enough petitions to work on this and go ahead to unravel what had been happening to Imo money since not just 2007 but 1999.
But as for what happens to PDP’s N26 billion, we can see it in the thousands of rural and urban roads that are being built all over Imo State. We can see more than N26 billion in the model schools, 305 in all of which over 200 are nearing delivery. We can see it in the hundreds of new public buildings that have been built in the major cities in Imo in the last two years. We can see it on the awe-inspiring transformation in New Owerri; the Concorde restoration, commissioners and legislators’ quarters, Ikemba Odumegwu Ojukwu Centre, and many other laudable projects that have been launched in Imo since 2011. I can see more than N26 billion in the laudable free education policy of the Rochas government, in the 27 brand new general hospitals being built in all the 27 local councils in Imo State. We are seeing all these and this has led us to wonder if there is an imaginary N26 billion that could be salted in Imo since May 2011. The generality of Ndi Imo who know what the state had been since the Mbakwe glorious years are wondering if the Imo of today has such money in the midst of the many projects the Rochas government is presently handling in the nooks and crannies of Imo State. Workers are wondering if such huge tranche exists and they are being made to forgo the idle fonts from which they finance their little idiosyncrasies. Political appointees who have been forced to resign from Rochas government because the heavily padded considerations they used to know of political offices are no longer there are wondering where the N26 billion exists to be looted. Ndi Imo who have not relented in asking where Rochas got the money with which he is financing the gigantic projects in Imo are not excited about PDP’s wild allegation because they know there is no N26 billion anywhere in Imo that could be looted. They all know what N26 billion can do to Imo State presently and how far it can take the present government’s laudable efforts to a dizzying height. Ndi Imo knows that N26 billion can add pep to what is happening in Imo at present to better the lives of Ndi Imo. But they don’t know what PDP did with N500 billion in four years and that is a task they feel EFCC should unravel if it is a serious anti-corruption agency and not an attack dog for a brood of frustrated political share reapers, as the Imo PDP is.
•Oparah wrote from Lagos. E-mail: [email protected]