A civil society group in Imo State, Imo Bilie Initiative for Social Justice has issued a press statement on Friday 11 March condemning the visit of Governor Rochas Okorocha to Chatham house, London on Wednesday 9 March.
The group described the governor’s visit and speech as an irrelevant pursuit of ego and unmerited fame by a power drunk governor. They claimed that the appearance at Chatham House has no benefit to the sufferings of Imo people, who are currently under severe hardship inflicted on the state by the bad leadership style of the governor who has concentrated the wealth and resources of the state only in the hands of his family members and friends.
The statement said: “It is unbelievable that the Governor would waste our scarce resources on such ego massage at a time when he has run the state into financial insolvency, resulting to the inability of the government to pay complete salaries of workers and pensioners in a state where the majority of the citizens are workers.”
They also accused the governor of blindly imitating President Mohammed Buhari who addressed Chatham house before becoming the President of Nigeria. They alleged that Governor Rochas Okorocha in his characteristic showmanship arranged his visit, went with about 50 people from Nigeria and ended up addressing a hall filled with people from Owerri.
They condemned Okorocha’s tendency to waste the meagre resources of the state on wild goose chases abroad. The statement recalled that the governor has twice gone to Turkey with over a hundred people on each visit on a purported investment drive which has not attracted a single Turkish investment to Imo state.
The group called the trip to London “a failed image laundering venture aimed at diverting the attention of the public from the current investigation of his government for pocketing 2bn Naira [$10m] of the state’s bailout fund”.
The group also asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to thoroughly and diligently investigate the alleged stealing and prosecute the culprits in the looting of the bailout fund.