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4 Dec 2013

Imo: I shake my head in disbelief — Duruiheoma, Imo PDP boss

*Okorocha has failed in all sectors
Imo State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Eze Duruiheoma (SAN) in this interview insists that the PDP did not lose the 2011 governorship election in the state. He also dissects the administration of Governor Rochas Okorochas and says there is no cause for cheer. Excerpts:
Imo PDP lost the gubernatorial seat in the last election. What really accounted for it?
It must be generally acknowledged that the so called loss till today remains controversial because there are so many outstanding issues. The so called loss and so called victory were declared when Oguta results, at least officially, were not in.
And when it is recalled that Oguta has registered voters of over 67,000 then you ask: Why would Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, declare somebody who had 40,000 or less than 40,000 votes difference between him and the other party and that is PDP, the winner of an election?
Is this why PDP lost in Imo?
This is part of what happened. It looks like there were too many interests in that election. And one such interest could have accounted for why INEC should declare somebody the winner when all the results were not in.
Coming home, I must admit that PDP was in a pretty bad shape at the time we went into that election. We were riddled by all sorts of internal wrangling. There was clear and palpable disunity in our ranks. In fact, after the election, stories were told of how some of our people worked against our party.
We acknowledge the fact that things were not quite well with us. We were not in a very healthy state before we went into that election. We went into that election factionalized. People who lost tickets, may be under questionable circumstances became disgruntled and decided to punish the party. But even at the poor state of health, we could have won that election. The story is now history and we have put it behind us and we are looking forward to the days ahead.
What is the situation now in Imo PDP?
We have taken stock of those things that happened. We have since resolved that some of those things that contributed to the type of anger in the membership of the party are not witnessed again. For a start, we have what we call “Mobilization Committee”. They have been going round the state and sensitizing and reconciling PDP members. They are doing a marvelous job. If you remember very well, the rebellion against PDP started with Owerri Municipal. We have addressed that problem sufficiently. I think today, PDP is very strong.
So many people are coming back as a result of what they have seen us do. We have stabilized the party sufficiently. We have stabilized Imo PDP along the lines of fairness, equity and justice. The administration in Imo State today is also helping us to realize our dream. Some people like me, knowing some of the characters in the government, are skeptical about them. From day one, I told anybody that cared to listen that these people are not serious. Well, at that time, so many people did not quite believe me but today, they come to me and say “you spoke from point of knowledge.” Everything I predicted has come to pass.
How is Governor Rochas Okorocha helping PDP to realise its dream, given the belief that he has done more work than his predecessors?
Who told you? How many jobs has he created since he came on board? Have you forgotten that one of the first things he did on assumption of duty was the summary sacking of beneficiaries of Ikedi Ohakim’s 10,000 jobs?
Those youngsters are still rusting at home, courtesy of the governor’s order. Imo State has recorded more protests from aggrieved Imolites than we had in the Udenwa and Ohakim administrations put together! This definitely is not a good testimonial.
When the governor’s aides and some uninformed people associate the administration with what they call “giant developmental strides”, I look at them and laugh. Honestly, what are we celebrating?
How is the economy in Imo?
Take it or leave it, the administration in Imo State is a one man show. It is only one man that knows the price of everything government is spending on. If this administration has spent about N200 billion on its self inflicted rescue mission, the question is: Where is the money? If the money is within the economy, the people should feel the effect. What has sadly happened is that even in the midst of plenty, people are still starving.
Is there no sector you can give this administration a pass mark?
Absolutely no sector! Let me go through them one after the other. I heard from a reputable medical practitioner a few days ago that all the government medical institutions in the state are grounded, except the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri.
What any responsible government would have done is to find out why the hospitals are not functioning. Your findings will inform your course of action. If it is low patronage, what led to it? If it is lack of facilities, you address it. The Teaching Hospital is in Orlu and as a teaching hospital, it is supposed to be a referral medical institution. Why is it not performing that role? Honestly, the whole thing sickens me.
Now let us look at the so called free education programme. To my mind, it is the greatest scandal. It is a massive fraud on Imo people. Each time I think about this free education, I shake my head in disbelief because there is scarcely any family in the state that does not have a graduate. After going  to school what next? They are wallowing about without gainful employment. Why does the administration not address it? Before now, it was widely known that government offered scholarship and bursaries to deserving students. What happened to this programme? That is something a responsible government should address. Honestly, the free education programme was not well though out. He only wanted to score a cheap political point. Is anything free in this world?
Is it in Adapalm that there is no controversy? Today, there is a controversy as to who bought Adapalm. There is also an on-going controversy about who bought Concorde Hotel, Owerri. Of course, the word they use these days is concession. I am just being charitable to say that.


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