Imo State Government Defends Creation Of ‘Happiness’ Ministry

The Imo State Government has defended the decision of the state Governor, Rochas Okorocha in creating a Ministry of Happiness.

Commissioner for Information, Mr Nnamdi Obiareri said the action was in line with Sections 1 and 92 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

Okorocha had on Tuesday swore in his biological sister, Mrs Ogechi Ololo (nee Okorocha). She is now the state’s Commissioner for Happiness and Purpose Fulfillment.

The action, however, has received widespread criticism by eminent Nigerians over the controversial decision.

But defending his principal on Tuesday, Obiareri said the governor did not violate any section of the decision. Rather, his aim was to serve the people of his state better.

“The responsibility of the governor to create more ministry is clearly captured in Section (1) and (92) subsection (2). So, it is the prerogative of the governor of a state, out of overriding public interest to create as many ministries as possible to serve the public interest,” he said on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

“What the Governor of Imo State has done in creating the Ministry of Happiness and Purpose Fulfilment is to be able to assist Imo people to realise happiness which is the very primary essence of government.”

The state’s mouthpiece further explained that the essence of the newly carved out ministry was to ensure that lives and destinies were being fulfilled in the eastern heartland.

He added, “Imo people must be happy. Imo people must be made to fulfil their purpose in life. The young school leavers who are out there in the street must be made to be mentored.

“The young apprentices that we have all over the place, the 305 youth millionaires that have been created by this government, the women that have been empowered must be made to realise their purpose in life.”

Gunmen Storm Catholic Church In Imo, Abduct Worshipper

A group of armed men visited a Catholic Church in Imo state on Sunday. According to reports they stormed the church and Kidnapped a man.

Twitter user, Missy @Chibelb, said the criminals interrupted church proceedings, shot sporadically and abducted a man.

The incident occurred at St. Camillus Catholic Church, Imo State. She wrote;

“I went to Church this morning, all of a sudden during mass, armed men jumped into the church & opened fire. it was a horrible experience.

People were running in all directions. People falling on others and all I could think of was how this would be my last day on earth.

Turns out, they armed men came to kidnap a Man. They beat him mercilessly and dragged him into their car.”

One Week, Two Dramas: Who Will Save Okorocha From Himself? By Azu Ishiekwene

Whenever I’m about to forget what it means to be a politician in these parts, I remind myself of the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha. He combines the drama and ebullience of Ayo Fayose with the shenanigans and hubris of Wada Nas. The fellow just keeps your jaw agape, making you laugh and cry at once. It happened to me twice last week.

First came the news that Okorocha had rejected the appointment of his daughter, Uju Anwuka, to the Board of the Federal College of Education and Technology, Omoku.

He said he rejected it because he was not consulted and he suspected that it was a Greek gift by unnamed politicians who don’t wish him and his family well.

I’m sure that Okorocha knows by now that if his wellbeing depended on what people, especially those in his State wish, he would be long gone back to his village in Ogboko. The Imo State that he is governing today is, in many ways, a shadow of itself unable to pay its workers
or pensioners and yet having enough to dedicate official quarters to the first family.

Imo is a chattel of Okorocha, a piece of real estate for the governor and his family. I will come to that.

If Okorocha says the offer of a board appointment to his daughter was a setup, he must know what he is talking about. But I still don’t understand why it was his job to reject the offer for his adult daughter.  Wasn’t it possible for him to explain whatever dilemma it
was privately to his daughter and for her to publicly and personally eject the offer for whatever reason?

How many Nigerians who are not Okorochas get such malicious offers of appointment? And God knows that out of the 541 Federal boards in this country you can count on the fingers of one hand those where an appointment means an appointment to work.

Take the National Population Commission (NPC) board, for example. The Board comprises 37 commissioners statutorily appointed from the 36 states and Abuja with a five-year tenure each. They are virtually on the same level with Federal ministers, drawing comparable personal benefits, allowances, and perks.

For all the free milk and honey, in a place like the NPC board, for example, all 37 commissioners appointed after 2006 when the last census was conducted have done nothing in 11 years. No enumeration, no census, nothing. But they earned their allowances and perks
nonetheless.

Multiply this waste in about 541 places, including the College of Education board, where Okorocha would have us believe that his daughter was ruthlessly set up, and you will understand why the biggest favour anyone can do us is to scrap the boards, including the one where Uju Anwuka has been offered an unsolicited letter of employment. The board members should all go home.

But the College of Education board recusal was just one incident. It was, for Okorocha – my governor, my governor – one week, two dramas. The second was at the Children’s Day leadership summit hosted by the Imo State government and broadcast live on Friday, May 26.

I thought it was a day when any modest host would lead from behind, allowing the children to take the stage as they share their hopes, aspirations, and disappointments with us.

In a country where one million children die of preventable diseases yearly and where 40 percent of children between the ages of six and eleven have no access to primary education, I thought the generation of leaders that has been responsible for this mess would be ashamed to
preach to the same children whose future they have eaten along with their own.

Not Okorocha. He shamed shame. The summit stage was his shrine with his life-size pictures emblazoned in a backdrop. They provided a throne for him on his altar, while a few aides and security men squatted, almost incognito, on a low bench behind the governor’s
throne.

Speaker after speaker mounted the stage to speak of how the governor has turned their night into day. They spoke of how he makes the sun to rise and the rain to fall and how the state could never see the like of him again in our lifetime. His Excellency grinned through it all as
he fiddled with his trademark sash.

Hardly anything was said about leadership or the tens of hundreds left behind.

I didn’t see civil servants who have been compelled by Okorocha to forfeit 60 percent of their monthly salaries and still don’t get paid the balance regularly. I didn’t see pensioners who traveled all the way to Owerri, the State capital, to sign off 60 percent of their 24-month pension arrears and yet are not getting the balance regularly. I didn’t see elders of communities who levied themselves to support Okorocha’s fourth-tier community government but who have apparently been conned.

Only the whitewashed crowd was invited. Depressingly, they also recruited children, who took turns to praise the governor in exchange for plastic hugs from him. I’m trying hard to remember the lessons the children learnt about leadership but it’s the charade that keeps coming to my mind.

I know that with Okorocha nearing the end of his second term, there’s  nothing we can do to make him change his ways. He will continue to reign like an emperor and we must bow or be bended for his good pleasure.

His fingers are in every pie. His wife, Nkechi, is the only person in Nigeria who has more government portfolios than Babatunde Fashola: she supervises the Ministries of Women Affairs, Works, Health and the Office of the Secretary to the State Government. His son-in-law, Uche
Nwosu, is the Chief of Staff, and a government building is named after one of his daughters, Uloma Nwosu. Imo is Okorocha’s chattel.

Is it too much to ask that he should leave the children out of his drama the next time?

As for the rest of Imo and other states afflicted with wolves in sheep’s clothing, the lesson is to be a little more careful the next time you vote. That’s your only insurance.

Ishiekwene is the MD/Editor-In-Chief The Interview magazine and board member of the Paris-based Global Editors Network.

Rochas Okorocha, dragged To Court.

 

 
 Rochas Okorocha, Imo State Governor and four of his aides have been dragged to the National Industrial Court by the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Imo State chapter, for allegedly  withholding and slashing of their monthly pensions.

 Three claimants and officials: Messrs Gideon Ezeji, Livinus Ashiegbu and Fabian Agba want the court to declare unconstitutional, a letter issued to Imo pensioners by the state government slashing their monthly pensions by 60 per cent.
The originating summons filed at the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, Owerri Judicial Division, marked NICN/OW/144/2017, which contained claims and other facts of the suit was made available to Daily Sun yesterday.
The court pointed out  that section 210(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) states that pensioners in Imo public service, including the second to fourth claimants have right to pension.
They are praying the court  to declare that Okorocha acted unconstitutionally when he slashed  the accrued sums due to the pensioners in the public service of Imo by 60 per cent.
The claimants want the court to set aside the letter/form prepared by Imo government under  Okorocha, addressed to the Accountant-General and entitled “Letter of Set off in Respect of my Outstanding Pension Arrears.”
The pensioners  demanded the court to make an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants, by themselves, representatives, successors or whatsoever name called from implementing, executing the content of the said letter/form.
Ezeji, the Imo NUP state chairman explained that the union approached the court as the last resort, adding, “we have exhausted all avenues for a peaceful resolution of this matter, yet nothing meaningful  came out of our efforts for  Okorocha to do the needful.
“The leadership of NUP oppose the slashing of the  meagre money we receive as monthly pension because our governor publicly said that there is no economic recession in Imo and his lifestyle and that of his appointees support that position.
“It will be an aberration for the state that is economically buoyant to trick its pensioners into forfeiting their legitimate pension which the state government had refused to review upward for more than 10 years now and so, we want the court to interpret the relevant sections of the constitution,” he said.
Ezeji  said hearing on the suit has been fixed for Tuesday April 4, 2017, saying “pensioners will attend the court sitting in Owerri in their numbers next Tuesday in spite the failing health of some members who are now owed about three years pension arrears.”

 

 

 

JSS2 student falls off mango tree, dies in Imo (photo)

A JSS2 student of Umuerim Secondary School in Owerri, Imo state, has met his untimely death after falling off a mango tree inside the school compound. According to @giftaugustineugochinyere who shared the sad story on Instagram, the unidentified boy was said to have been chased the first time he fell from the mango tree by seniors. But he went back in pursuit of unripe mangoes after the seniors left.

JSS2 student and only surviving member of his family falls from a mango tree and dies in Imo State

it was gathered that he died right on the spot after falling off the tree the second time. He is also said to be the only surviving member of his nuclear family, although nothing was said about what killed his parents and siblings.

“Oh my God! This happened before me.A JSS2 STUDENT (name withheld) of UMUERIM SECONDARY SCHOOL OWERRI, IMO STATE. died yesterday(03/04/2017) around 3:00pm after he fell from a mango tree while trying to pluck the unripe fruits!..The boy fell once and his seniors chased him, after they left, he decided to continue where he stopped which led to his terrible death thereby falling for the second time with his head. According to Some individuals, they said’The boy don’t have parents, he is only living with his Uncle, therefore, he is the only surviving person in their family… MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PEACE…#Amen#… ”

https://www.instagram.com/p/BSdqJ_oBvkC/

 

Gunmen Kills Bank Customer in Owerri

There have been a tragedy in Owerri the State captain of Imo State, where is was said that gunmen suspected to be armed robbers shot a bank customer few meters away from the Government house in Imo State.

Eyewitnesses said the victim was shot dead by the dare-devil armed men when he allegedly refused to handover the money he withdrew from a bank few meters away from the scene of the crime.

The spokesperson for the police in the state, Andrew Enwerem, who confirmed the death of the victim to our correspondent on the telephone, said that the victim, a male, whose identity had yet to be known as of the time of filing this report, had finished transaction at bank on Wethedral Road before the suspected robbers pounced on him.

The police spokesperson said that on coming out of the bank, the victim noticed that some strange faces were trailing him; he quickly jumped into a Toyota Camry being driven by a woman he did not know.

Enwerem stated that the gunmen quickly ran after the car and eventually caught up with their target as a result of a traffic jam in front of another bank very close to the State Government House.

Agriculture: Imo State Gives 1,000 Farmers Rice Imput

Dr. Edwin Uche Executive Assistant to Imo State Governor on Poverty Alleviation said the government distributed inputs and paddy rice to 1,000 rice farmers.

He said: “Besides providing farmers with high-yielding rice seedlings, inputs and finance, we engage experts, who will put them through the process.

“There is arrangement for off-takers to buy off what they will produce.

“We believe through this approach and financial checks by officials of Bank of Agriculture, the sky will be the limit of farmers venturing into this agribusiness initiative.’’

The executive assistant said the government planned to join the league of commercial rice producers.

“Imo has the potential to be among the net producer and exporter of rice because of factors counting in its favour,’’ he added.

NAN reports that Okigwe, Ideato North, Oguta and Ihitte Uboma are fertile for rice cultivation.

Uche noted that Nigeria made impact in rice production on the continent and Imo would key into the drive.

“Agriculture is a sector capable of providing employment. This is the new drive being pursued by the Federal Government and the Governor Rochas Okorocha administration,’’ he said.

The executive assistant advised the beneficiaries of the programme to utilise the opportunity because it could transform them into rich farmers and employers.