The recent protests carried out in Imo state by aged pensioners demanding their pensions and arrears from the maladministration of Governor Hope Uzodinma have somehow compelled him to come out with claims of alleged fraud in Imo state civil service salary and pension structures to the tune of three hundred and thirty million naira (₦330, 000, 000) lost annually to eight people.
In all sincerity, before going further to explain why Governor Uzodinma’s reason for not paying salaries and pensions, is not just a flimsy one but blatant falsehood, it is important for the readers to understand the fact that this article is not in any way suggesting that fraud should be condoned especially to the magnitude Governor Uzodinma allegedly stated.
Now, Governor Uzodinma claims that he wants to put a stop to the alleged fraud in the civil service before he could pay salaries and pensions. To a rational and sincere mind, does this bogus claim of the Governor really make any sense? Obviously, it is a cheap lie orchestrated to dissuade the minds of some well-meaning individuals in the state who perhaps could ask questions and demand reasonable answers why salaries and pensions are being owed.
The Governor knows quite well that he is not telling the truth about the actual situation of things. His story was simply cooked up to sway public interest and opinion.
If Governor Uzodinma was really sincere about tackling financial crimes in the civil service, he would not have allowed whatever alleged fraud to affect the payment of salaries and pensions in the state. A truthful Governor who in deed has the interest of the masses would have hired the right experts quite in time to thoroughly investigate any suspected issue of fraud and equally insisted that the investigation be completed before the due date for pensions and salaries.
Certainly, it will not take a dedicated team of chartered accountants and auditors to probe and audit financial statements or reports in Imo state more than a month. This job could actually be done in three weeks and at most one month with all the analysis of the investigation duly presented if fraud was basically the reason, the Governor had not paid salaries and pensions for over four months.
It is very well known to all Nigerians, particularly people of Imo, the controversies surrounding the emergence of Senator Hope Uzodinma as Governor, and the role, the Supreme Court played in it.
Sources have revealed that Governor Uzodinma’s loyalty is first and foremost with the Fulani oligarchy that run the affairs of All Progressives Congress(APC) and not necessarily the people of Imo state that he is supposedly leading.
The sources further confirmed that Governor Uzodinma is, ‘appreciating’ the APC cabal that helped him become Governor both in cash and in kind.
Emphatically, it is paramount to state here that there is nothing wrong in showing some form of loyalty to those who helped one in pursing and realising a political ambition but there is everything absolutely, wrong in negating completely, the responsibilities of leadership one swore an oath to uphold and discharge in the first place. The latter is exactly what Governor Uzodinma is currently doing.
With the Governor’s negligence towards workers’ and pensioners welfare in the state, it would not be out of place for anybody to think or believe that the Governor had used the money to further pledge his loyalty to his Fulani masters while hoping to offset the debts in future gradually.
That ugly scenario where workers and pensioners are owed salaries, and pensions respectively has always been a common situation in the country by which the Godfathers often recoup the money they spent on foisting a politician on the masses in an elective position as well as make more than enough money off the state.
These unscrupulous Godfathers in their profiteering nature do not give a hoot about what becomes of the state’s treasury so long as they are getting adequate returns on their investment which usually never ends till the Governor finishes his tenures.
A lot of times, desperation and over ambition make politicians vying for elective positions to cut such a deal with those Godfathers who often decide what happens in the state or the country sometimes, and Governor Uzodinma is acting like one who already had cut a deal.
Governor Uzodinma in a press conference, last week stated unequivocally that his administration was done with their investigation of the alleged fraud but unfortunately he never mentioned when the salaries and pensions would be paid.
This still takes us to the fact that truth had long eluded whatever argument Governor Uzodinma is presenting. If truly, he and the members of his cabinet involved in this saga have completed their investigation as he claimed why was a definite date of payment not communicated to the workers and pensioners? It is very apparent that the state government led by Governor Uzodinma is not being honest with the debt the state is owing.
This issue of non-payment of salaries and pensions are further marring the image of Governor Uzodinma aside his controversial declaration as Governor of Imo state by the Supreme Court despite being in the third position during the gubernatorial election.
Governor Uzodinma has been more notorious in politics than he seemed to be popular, and it would only be right that he starts making some spirited efforts to alter his already battered reputation by publicly apologising to those the state under his leadership owes, and making genuine decision to pay them.
𝐃𝐫. 𝐌𝐚𝐫𝐤𝐀𝐧𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐧𝐲 𝐍𝐳𝐞
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK