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A New Year Message To Imo People From Imo Bilie Initiative For Social Justice (IBIN)

By Imo Bilie

Our dear good people of Imo state, we bring you compliments of the season in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. As we mark the birth of our saviour and prepare to step into a glorious 2017 it is important we reflect on how we have faired in the fading 2016 in the hands of the state government whom we surrendered our mandate to as a guide to our expectations from the government in the coming 2017.

By our assessment as a civil society group we wish to declare that the Imo state government under the present administration has performed abysmally in 2016 on it's mandate of providing good governance to the people of Imo state.

While the country as a whole witnessed economic recession which led the Federal government and some state government's to reduce cost in spending, yet the state government kept wasting our scarce resources on trivial things. An example of this is the long convoy still maintained by the Governor, his deputy and other government functionaries.

The current Christmas decorations and carnival where millions of Naira is spent on jamborees attests to this. To our amazement we saw roundabouts and foot bridges constructed by the administration with millions of tax payers money demolished by the same administration that constructed them in less than three years.

In the area of infrastructure, the government did not change nor improve on the quality of poorly constructed and unfinished works she has littered the state with . While solidly constructed roads and infrastructures by previous administrations were demolished by the government, they have been replaced with poorly constructed ones. We saw roads spoiling while under construction, newly constructed road tunnels turn to water funnels and newly constructed flyover with heavy cracks while still under construction. Standard procurement procedures are not followed in the award and execution of such contracts while information about the contractors are shrouded in secrecy

While our non oil producing sister states like Anambra and Ebonyi who are not in the federal ruling party are making waves in agricultural diversification and wealth creation in their States leading to prompt payment of workers' salaries in their states, yet Imo with her 13% oil derivation money has nothing to boast of in this regard. Our once fledging Ada palm, Imo rubber, Avutu poultry etc with all the billions of Naira which the government claimed to have injected into them yet they are still in comatose states. Farmers in the state are on their own without any meaningful incentive from the government.

The pathetic situation of workers and pensioners in the state cannot be over emphasized. The payment of workers have been slashed by 30% without promotion and allowances while that of pensioners as low as it is has equally been cut down by 60%. The government has also tried to implement an illegitimate three working days arrangement in the state.

We are worried that the state government is increasingly becoming intolerant of criticisms and opposition, there is an attempt to muzzle or silence divergent views and intimidate opponents.

Our National Coordinator; Activist Aku Obidinma has been engulfed in a legal battle for daring to speak out against some of the ills of this administration. He is currently in detention at the Owerri prisons, on charges bordering on defamation and incitement. We trust that the judiciary will live up to its billing as the fortress of the oppressed and vindicate him of the trumped up charges are

In the light of the above highlighted failures of the government among many we therefore charge the good people of Imo state to rise up to the occasion of holding the government accountable for her actions and policies as this is the only way to ensure the executive recklessness in the state is checkmated. Presently IBIN is demanding from the government the details of the N26.8b bailout fund, the construction of 27 hospitals, the ADF South Africa group deal and many other tunnels and road projects done by the present administration. As we march into 2017, let us gear up for good governance which has no alternative. We call on our brothers and sisters in the civil society, academia, corporate world as well as political class to rise up to the defence of democracy in 2017.

God bless Imo state.
Okey Aduradu
(FCT Coordinator, for National Coordinator)