By Ogu Bundu Nwadike,
M.A with agency reports
The out-going governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, prides himself as a very successful, shrewd businessman. He also brags to be a Forbes' rated African billionaire in dollars. This he explains away as the proceeds of his indeterminate business conglomerate that spans several sectors of the economy.
Indeed, the out-going governor confidently and proudly declares that he began hawking wares on the streets before he was ten years. (Read his profile. It's available online.) That implies he must have cognate business experience of over forty five years.
Our checks showed that Rochas has been relating with banks in terms of requesting , obtaining and thriving on credit facilities in billions of naira long before and since his sojourn to Douglas House in 2011 as the governor of Imo State. Therefore, it's right to believe that he should have a good competence in balancing the bank books of his business conglomerate.
Unfortunately, that's not the position. Sadly, the same business mogul is finding it extremely difficult to balance the financial accounts of Imo State under his watch. It's shocking that with barely two weeks to the May 29 inauguaration and handover ceremony, Rochas is still romancing and fiddling with the statements of Imo State's financial accounts. And they are nowhere near balancing yet.
Window to the current predicament of the embattled out-going governor was opened recently when reportedly urged some past Transition Committee (TC) Chairmen of the Local Government Areas to assist him in reconciling the seemingly irreconcilable accounts of Imo State, promising to offer them N5 million bribe each.
According to a report filed by an impeccable source, there was a meeting between the expiring governor and the 2011-2015 TC Chairmen recently. The purpose of the meeting was allegedly to secure their support to present a financial report that doesn't reflect the truth about the income and expenditure of Imo State since 2011-2019, especially in the 2011-2015 Government period.
From the attitude of past TC Chairmen in the State, they don't seem amenable to doctoring LG Account during the 2011-2015 period as the out-going governor has promised to bribe them heavily to do.
A statement by one of former TC Chairmen gave a vivid, lucid summary of what transpired in the conspiracy and connivance meeting called by the beleaguered governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha. It read thus:
"According to one of the TC chairmen who do not want his name on print, disclosed, "We got invitation to attend meeting with the governor. We were specifically told that the meeting was strictly for former Transition Committee Chairmen between 2011-2015.
During the meeting session, we were reminded of the loan secured by the governor during his first tenure in which allocations meant for the LGAs were used as collateral running into billions of naira.
"The governor who was furious in one of our meetings with him, pleaded with us to assist in reconciling the accounts by appending our signatures as Council bosses to some documents he presented before us. The governor assured us that he will allegedly approve five (5) million naira each to us as compensation if we comply with the directives.
"With the amount pegged for appending our signatures to the documents he brought, most of us were willing to comply but we reneged on the agreement due to the attendance sheet which we were specifically directed to skip the date column, a development which most us felt to be a trap!
"On a second thought we requested the governor to allow us meet privately and feed him back with our decision, which he agreed, I doubt if some of us will appear before the governor again,"
The report stated that the meeting with the governor was shifted to Thursday, May 16th.
The above-quoted exposé is certainly pregnant with true life story of the last minute mutilations of the financial records of Imo State to obliterate obvious financial malfeasance and other improprieties by overwhelmed and flabbergasted out-going governor.
If not for his executive fast fingers, why is a very experienced business Capone like Rochas having issues reconciling the eight-year financial account of Imo State, 2011-2019? If not for his cluelessness, ineptitude and incompetence in Government economics, management and accounting, how does Rochas believe that the doctored accounts of Imo State are not open to forensic scrutinizing by the incoming RebuildImo administration after May 29, 2019?
First, records are available of all revenue that accrued to the Government of Imo State and the 27 Local Government Councils in Imo State from the Federation Account 2011-2019. Then, a large part of the internally generated revenue (IGR) in the State are also recorded. Thus, they can be verified by the incoming governor at an appointed time.
It's not surprising that most of the concerned Rochas' TC Chairmen refused to endorse the documents presented to them. They know too well that if they so do, when the time of reckoning arrives, everybody that is implicated in the illegal manipulation and mutilation of the records of the State's finances will face the full wrath of the law and most likely be sentenced to many years in jail. That is a statutory stipulation!
Apparently, Rochas will not be able to present an error-free financial account of his chequered eight-year stewardship. That may not be unconnected to the already established idea that he never envisioned nor anticipated the defeat, loss and failure that Imo people handed him in the 2019 election to truncate his poorly permutated third term bid via the proxy of his son-in-law, Uche Rochas Nwosu.
Otherwise, a two-term, eight-year governor that expected to vacate office on May 29, 2019 ought to have long ago been putting his house in order with regards to the financial income and expenditure records.
That Rochas is still striving rather too hard to balance the statement of financial account he will present in a matter of days hence, smacks of somebody taken unawares. But a pre-planned mission is further discussed with the nodding of the heads by all to whom it may concern. Moreover, a forewarned war doesn't consume a cripple.
Why has Rochas not finished computing and recording the financial status of Imo State? Why is Rochas feigning being taken unawares? What really is going on? Why did Rochas allegedly offer past TC Chairmen bribes of N5 million each to falsify financial records of the LG Councils? The answers to those questions will be unearthed at the appointed time.
Let me pause it at this juncture. But before I sign out, I wish to urge fellow Imolites to be alert and vigilant so that nobody will fall victim of the grave consequences of the subtle conspiracy and connivance that seems to be the last card for check up by the out-going governor Owelle Rochas Okorocha.
Let fellow Imolites shine their eyes and ears and report to appropriate quarters any acts capable of further sustaining the suffering in Imo State.
*Nwadike is a journalist author and public affairs analyst. Sms only 08037146635 (Hotline), 08106819304 (WhatsApp). Email: email@example.com