Last weekend was indeed replete with global shocks and revelations. In the English Premier League, obviously the most beautifully packaged football league in the world, groundswell of shocking defeats ruled the score sheets as all of Manchester City, Leicester City, Manchester United and defending champions, Liverpool were brought to their knees in their respective games. Even in the Spanish La Liga, Barcelona could not reenact their impressive run even at home.
The shocking results witnessed in Europe took a form of mind boggling political revelations in Imo State.
Governor Hope Uzodimma, in continuation of his efforts towards reviving as well as building the APC as a great party and at the same time meeting with the state leaders of the party, visited Barrister Chima Anozie otherwise known as Home Base in his Orji, Owerri North country home, last Saturday.
That reception by Home Base for the governor came barely few hours after the Camp Hope and some Coalition members of Imo APC had what was later tagged “Reconciliation Meeting” at Imo Concorde Hotel Owerri on Saturday, October 3, 2020 put in place to galvanize support and ideas for Uzodimma’s reception by Owerri zone.
It was at the country home of Anozie at Orji, Owerri later that evening and in the presence of Imo State APC chiefs, including commissioners, house of assembly members, the chief of staff, the secretary to the state government., former government personalities like Sir George Eche and few others that Uzodimma delved into shocking revelations that ostensibly was a clear indictment of Sir George Eche, the former secretary to, and accountant general of, the government of Imo state.
With his fact sheet glued into his palms and his gaze steadily directed at his patronizing audience, Uzodimma, like a priest of a deity about to announce to the community what the gods have proclaimed, explained to the Imo State APC leaders that he had been doing his best since he assumed office on January 15, 2020 in spite of the constraints of inherited scandals.
According to him, “I have been doing my best, trying to ensure that all sectors of governance in the state are taken care of. When we came on board, we discovered that we cannot achieve much if we continue with the old order of salary and pension scams. Thus, we commenced a thorough verification exercise. As a matter of fact, the revelations were earth shaking and mind boggling.
“You cannot believe it that a civil servant of level seven, for instance, was taking home the salary of a level 12 worker. On the other hand, a civil servant who retired as a level eight worker was being paid as level 15 pensioner. This is in addition to ghost workers and ghost pensioners. It was that bad. And these sharp practices were dealing devastating blows to the meager resources of the state. How can any state survive under this kind of regime and be able to attend to the pressing welfare of the people.
“So, what do we do? Of course we stopped payment for a short period in order to block all the leakages. From here, the opposition and all those who benefited from the scam moved in, organized protests and sponsored newspaper articles against us to distract us. We know them. But we were not deterred. Today, I can tell you that we have made tremendous success in spite of the pressure of this “organized scam sector”. We have discovered the scam and we are working assiduously to block all the loopholes.
The Governor continued, “my happiness is that some of you who were part of the Rochas administrations are here and really cannot claim ignorance of what I am saying”.
Pointing and looking directly at Eche, the Governor thundered, “Eche was an accountant general, a permanent secretary and the secretary to Imo State during the eight year reign of Rochas Okorocha, he cannot controvert that what I am saying is true. The positions he held were very strategic, perhaps directly or indirectly involved in the dirty salary and pension scams at some times or all the times during the period”.
These remarks – inadvertently or otherwise served a most embarrassing moment to Eche as eyes winked and lips tweeted at the weighty and witty remarks of the Governor who concluded by asserting that despite the sabotage the government is undaunted in their quest to flush out the salary and pension cabals.
“Let me tell you that, despite all the odds, we have paid more than 90 percent of pensioners and workers. The few remaining are those that have issues with their BVNs, banks or names. In the next one month, it will be completely over”.