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It is no news that most politicians all over the world are greedy, self-centred and power-drunk especially when they are put in a place of power. It is also a well-known fact that Nigerian politicians are leading the bandwagon of these politicians who know nothing else than being self-centred and practising cutthroat crookedness. A majority of these crooked politicians can be seen in the Southeastern part of Nigeria where greed and corruption hold sway among the political elite.
The average Igbo politician treats politics and leadership like it is a business venture, an avenue to generate capital and revenue for lifestyles that are too bogus or extravagant for them all in a bid to show their power and grandeur and oppress the common masses. This is why corruption and political jobbery is the order of the day among contemporary Igbo politicians and their stooges.
Take for example Abia State or Imo State, these States have had it bad with their choice of leaders in recent times and this has greatly affected the development and all-round infrastructural growth in the States. The States are behind par when compared with their sister States and when it comes to dept profiles and rate of Internally Generated Revenue, it can be deduced that there is something seriously wrong with the statistics and the leadership should be blamed for this. Abia state, just like other states in Nigeria would have been the very best if governors with conscience were elected to run the affairs of the State. Since Abia State was created, it has been managed by very corrupt leaders who did not know what leadership entails, hence they were able to steal almost all the money belonging to the people and use it for their personal gains from former Governor Orji Uzor Kalu to Theodore Orji who succeeded him and then Governor Ikpeazu Okezie who came after, it has been from one regime of professional political thievery and embezzlement to another.
Orji Uzor Kalu was the Peoples Democratic Party’s star Governor in the South-east in 1999, priding himself as a founding member and a major financier of the party. He has consistently maintained that he gave huge sums of money to the party at inception, specifically ₦100 million for its registration in 1999 and another ₦100 million to former President Olusegun Obasanjo as support for his presidential campaign in the same year. Mr. Kalu was powerful as a PDP governor and wielded so much influence as one of the close confidants of the Obasanjo administration. Orji Uzor Kalu, his stooge turned political foe Ex-Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State, and his son Chinedum Orji allegedly gave corruption a more definitive meaning by blatantly mismanaging the resources of the State to a zero point as humongous amounts of money that were intended to fix Abia state were diverted, looted and mismanaged by the trio with little or no repercussions.
Governor Ikpeazu while following in the footsteps of his predecessors derives a good amount of pride and pleasure in squandering Federal Government allocations on frivolities. His tenure has long reeked of corruption and fraudulent activities linked to him and his aides, from contracts inflation to money laundering from all sectors of the Government. And this is despite the fact that he owes many months salary arrears to the Abia State Civil Service workers, pensioners, and school teachers.
This was also the case in Imo State when Senator Rochas Okorocha who was the then Governor of Imo State openly turned the State to his personal account. Bribery, embezzlement, fraud, extortion, and favoritism were the orders of the day during his tenure. He openly looted State funds as fast as they came and dared anyone to stop or tell him otherwise. He expressed his neoptism with no single care in the world when he appointed his close relatives and close associates as a majority of members that made up his cabinet while he was in power. Governor Hope Uzodinma, on the other hand, seems to be continuing from where he stopped in political thievery and embezzlement. From his very devious means of becoming Governor, one could say Imo State is in for some terrible times. Under his tenure, there have been massive allegations of fraud in the civil service sector, he has craftily overlooked the welfare of civil servants and pensioners in the state and so many state infrastructures have been left to deteriorate while he fills his unending pockets with State revenues and Federal Government allocations. Each of these Governors came with their own brazen method of stealing from the coffers of the State’s account leaving huge debt readings and empty accounts for their successors to handle. The successor in return keeps up with the cycle while generating more clever means and methods of siphoning funds and covering their tracks neatly while their wards continue to wallow in poverty and suffering and the State continues to deteriorate.
A State like Anambra, which celebrated the 25th anniversary of her creation in 2016, a State that is so richly blessed in human and natural resources, has long struggled to actualise her full social, political, and cultural development potentials but has failed to do so because of bad leadership from her Governor now senator Chris Ngige to the well known Governor cum ‘Political Thief’, Willie Obiano. From the transfer of funds for MDGs projects and other international partners funds into security accounts to approvals of huge amounts of funds for jamboree purposes which also includes special funding for his favourite pastime with his exotic concubines, Governor Willie Obiano is one Igbo leader that holds a VVIP position among Igbo leaders who are competing on how good they are at political thievery and State funds diversion.
There is also another category of Igbo politicians who derive immense pleasure in jumping from one political party to another in a quest to find where the ‘grass is allegedly greener’ or in other words, where they can easily embezzle and siphon funds with little or no repercussions on them. It is a well-known fact that the All Progressive Congress party which is being run by President Muhammadu Buhari and his cohorts shelters and protects corrupt politicians under her umbrella. They give their members who hail from the Southeast special preferences to embezzle and siphon as much as they want as long as they remit their ‘dues’ to the powers-that-be in the party. This also puts them in a position where they can be used as pawns with the threat of handing them over to security officials if they step out of line just as how they have made examples of a few politicians in this category to keep the others in check.
This same corruption and self-interest among these contemporary Igbo politicians are some of the major reasons for many unresolved problems that have critically hobbled and reduced development in Igbo land. It has led to the poor state of electricity, major hitches in the transport sector, health sector, education sector, road infrastructure, and communications which are core precursors to poor economic development and a major handicap for doing business in the zone. This unquenchable greed does no favour the region and it does more harm than good to the wards under these politicians who most times are at the receiving end of this unquenchable desire to amass fraudulent wealth.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK