I write to condemn in absolute terms the silence of the Imo State House of Assembly over the heavy corruption allegations levelled against the Speaker of the Imo House of Assembly Chief Benjamin Uwajumogu by Ikenna Samuelson Iwuoha. Iwuoha, an activist and former Aide of the Speaker last month revealed to the whole world the Speaker’s reckless and massive looting of the Imo treasury.
In his testimony made available to media men, Iwuoha, who worked under Uwajumogu for three years, disclosed how fraudulent contracts for road projects worth billions of naira were awarded by his former boss without due process to the extent that some of his aides were equally awarded road contracts.
Also Uwajumogu’s friends who were residing abroad were asked to return home, which they did and road contract were given to them as fronts even though they never had any experience in road contract assignment and execution.
Asphalt materials for the road contracts were also procured from plant in Owerri owned by the Speaker. As usual, the Speaker’s Media Aide has called Iwuoha all sorts of names saying that he was making cacophonic noise.
For all the attention that Iwuoha’s revelation has elicited, not one member of the Imo State House of Assembly, as far as I know felt outraged enough to call for a probe. None of the State’s law makers seems curious to find out who stole what as mentioned by Iwuoha. None cared to find out how monies were diverted, and where some of them may be found.
I have heard no disenchanted murmurs from any of them. Ralph Miliband once said that the hottest place in hell will be reserved for those who sit on the fence in the face of great moral crisis. Albert Einstein on his part said that the world is a dangerous place, not only because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.
The silence of the members of the Imo House of Assembly over the fraud in the Speakers office is not acceptable. We must reject corruption. We must not accept it as normal. Corruption is like cancer.
Cancer makes lives exceedingly miserable. Corrupt politicians are punishing the rest of us. They don’t show respect to the common good of the citizens, thereby retarding development. Corruption in public office in all its manifestations is a dehumanizing evil force that must be fought with all the energy that we can muster. We must not allow Imo State to be painted as a State that tolerates or even encourages corruption.
I call on the leadership of the Imo State House of Assembly to constitute a probe panel that will investigate the allegations levelled against the office of the Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly by Iwuoha.
If the Leadership of the House fails to constitute a probe panel to investigate the Speaker and invite Iwuoha to tender his evidences then the whole world can agree with me that the members of the Imo House of Assembly are indeed the 27 thieves that I have been talking about.
The Imo State House of Assembly Speaker has tons of questions to answer. He should tell us how he got the money he used in acquiring an asphalt plant six months after he became speaker. He should tell us how he got the money to acquire eye popping mansions at Aba, Umuahia and Ihitte -Uboma. He should tell us how he got the money to buy 15 mansions in Owerri. He should tell us why he converted the Imo State Abuja Liason Office to his own private use of which he spent 500 million naira in turning it into a private hotel.
He should tell us how he got the money to build a-750 million naira private hotel in Lagos. He should tell us why he is using the Imo Assembly money in funding the private businesses owned by his sister, Dr (Mrs) Chidinma Uwajumogu.
He should tell us why he abandoned his responsibilities as Speaker and went outside his confinement of duties to award road contracts to himself via his friends and to inexperienced contractors in Imo State.
We are talking about stealing from public coffers which is a crime against the progress of Ndi-Imo. We must oppose legalized official looting wherein political officers loot the state dry. We must fight all those that are insensitive to the plight of Ndi-Imo.
Uwajumogu is looting billions of Imo tax payers’ money in a state where 80% of her citizens live on less than 600 naira per day, in a state that has almost 10,000 children on the streets-children without parental care, without shelter.
I call on Organizations and individuals in Imo State including labour unions, trade unions, human rights groups, staff unions in universities, students unions, youth groups, activists and socialists, locally and internationally to join me in demanding a probe of the allegations against Speaker of the House and if he is found guilty, he should be removed and prosecuted with the aim to reclaim all monies looted in order to massively invest it in education or health care or even roads that will eventually create jobs to wipe out poverty. Save us o’ God.
Kenneth Uwadi, Mmahu-Egbema, Imo State, Nigeria