The Imo State arm of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has raised alarm on the amount of money the State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha would allegedly spent for his 51st birthday celebration.
In a statement made available to Trumpeta, the party noted that not less than N300m from the state coffers will be sunk into the project of celebrating the elaborate birthday bash held in Ibadan, Oyo state capital another parts of the country.
According to the statement endorsed by the Publicity Secretary, Chief Blyden Amajirionwu “Okorocha, in a bizarre act of utmost impunity, shut down the government of the state on Sept 21, 2013, when he firmed top officials too far away Ibadan, Oyo State, to a ceremony marking his 51s+ birthday anniversary.
The event, which was telecast live on national television, was held at the Liberty Stadium, Ibadan. Incidentally, what was termed a private birthday party turned out to be a political rally, with chieftains of a particular political party in the South West having a field day with funds from the coffers of Imo State.
“Apart from that, the live television broadcast cost Imo State the sum of N18million. Other expenses which included providing transportation and quartering politicians from across the country in choice hotels in Ibadan and Lagos, put the amount that Okorocha took from the State’s coffers for that show of shame at over N300million.
“The Ibadan event was just the first leg of a planned nation-wide birthday carnival which will be held in all the six-geo political zones of the country. Already, the next carnival has been slated for Kaduna in the North West on Saturday October 13, 2013. The Kaduna event will be followed by four others that will take Okorocha and his court-jesters to Yola in Adamawa state, Minna in Niger State, Port-Harcourt in Rivers State and Ilorin in Kwara State.
“At about N18million per live television broadcast, the six events at the six geo-political zones will remove from the State’s coffers a total of N108 million. At an average of N300million per zone, Imo State is being forced to part with at least N1.8billion by the time His Excellency, Governor Rochas Okorocha, finishes with his birthday carnival”.
While condemning the act, the PDP wondered how a state Governor saddled with the problem of unpaid salaries and allowances to civil servants would go on such jamboree asking if the Governor was elected to embark on such degree of financial profligacy at this point in time?
“The good people of Imo state should ask Chief Okorocha why he elects to embark on such a degree of financial profligacy at this point in time. What is the significances of a mere 51st birthday for a fellow who is not even known beyond Imo state in spite of his claims of national visibility? Has any Nigerian president or head of state ever embarked on a nationwide birthday carnival?
“What is Okorocha taking Imo people for? This is a fellow who said initially that he does not receive salaries and does not make use of security votes. But through the back door, Governor Okorocha fleeces the state of amounts far in excess of the so-called security vote and the amount statutorily approved as salary for the Governor.
“While the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is of the strong view that the people of the state should demand for an explanation from the Governor on these issues, it, nonetheless, urges them to remain law abiding and resolute on their unflinching support for the Party while it takes commensurate steps towards recovering the State from Okorocha and his co-travelers who, from available evidence, are determined to milk the state dry”, the statement added.