How Okorocha's Deputy Was Impeached

Posted by Cosmas Asogwa On Monday, February 18, 2013 0 comments

He told us that he was on a rescue mission and has just only one term to run as governor but feelers reaching us from the Owerri is that Owelle already has his eyes fixed on a second term and to this ends, heads have began to roll with the Imo State House of Assembly impeaching the State’s Deputy Governor,Jude Agbaso. Twenty five out of the 26 lawmakers in the Assembly approved the impeachment.

The House of Assembly impeached Imo State Deputy GovernorAgbaso was under investigation for an alleged N458 million bribe. The number two citizen has denied the allegation. His supporters have cried foul, alleging that he was being victimised. But the camp of Governor Rocha Okorocha insisted  that Agbaso’s time was up.
The actions of the House was dismissed by the supporters of the deputy governor as stage managed to push Agbaso out of the way, ahead of the 2015 general elections.
The proponents of this view were not swayed by the fact that the ad-hoc committee set up by the House to investigate the financial allegations against Agbaso by a contractor handling road projects in the state indicted Agbaso of the crime and subsequently proceeded to impeach him.
Agbaso, a former Commissioner of Works and Transport, was accused of abusing the privileges of his position by corruptly enriching himself.
But in a spirited attempt to belittle the weight of the accusations brought against him and to curry public sympathy, the deputy governor said that his travail was politically motivated. He alleged that certain people were eager to get him out of the way so that his boss would not be challenged in his second term bid.
He disclosed that the governor, who he accused of witch-hunting him, signed an agreement with his elder brother, Chief Martins Agbaso, to serve only one term and handover to his brother who gave him (Okorocha) the platform to emerge as governor in 2011.
Agbaso also accused Okorocha of inducing the members of the House with financial gratifications to move against him. “The contractor that has been falsely accusing me was actually nominated by Okorocha, who approved the payment of N1.3billion to the contractor for a job not yet done”, he added.
The deputy governor’s brother, Chief Martin Agbaso, described the deputy governor as a victim of political manipulations, ahead of the 2015.
“We are a hard working family and do not indulge in fraud. So, I can state authoritatively that the deputy governor, who is my blood brother, is framed up because of politics. He could not have committed the offence for which he is vilified”, he maintained.
Hard as the deputy governor tries to extricate himself from the allegation, public interest in the ongoing probe of the contract scam by the House has continued to heighten with a call on the lawmakers to ensure that, if Agbaso was culpable of the financial crime, he should be impeached and prosecuted.
The older Agbaso alleged that he had an agreement with Okorocha to do one term. That the impeachment was part of the Okorocha’s grand plot.
The House of Assembly, in a swift response to the deputy governor’s claim, restated that he was indicted by the report of the ad-hoc committee, which independently investigated the allegation against him.
In a statement signed by the Chairman, House Committee on Information, Hon Acho Ihim, the House insisted that Agbaso was merely wiping up sentiment by employing cheap political blackmail to divert public attention from the issues of embezzlement and abuse of office.
The Commissioner of Information, Mr. Chinedu Offor, also described his statements as diversionary and unfounded.

Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State has said the All Progressive Congress will win the polls in Anambra State next year and the South-East in 2015 general elections.
The governor spoke through his Special Assistant on Media (Print), Mr. Ebere Uzoukwa, after a meeting with his political associates on Saturday.
Uzoukwa, who described Okorocha as the beautiful bride in the APC merger said, “He remains a brand well respected by the Igbo owing to his uncommon leadership qualities, and as such APC will definitely win Anambra in 2014 and other South-East states in 2015.”
According to him, Okorocha, who is coordinating the APC activities in the South-East, has started putting the necessary structures on the ground toward strengthening the party for victory in the forthcoming elections in the zone.
On the controversy surrounding the All Progressives Grand Alliance’s involvement in the merger, Uzoukwa said, “The real APGA people, otherwise known as APGA-APGA, are part of the merger, while the APGA-PDP led by our brother, the Anambra State governor, Peter Obi, will join later.”
He added, “We really understand his (Obi) predicament and as an appointee of President Goodluck Jonathan, you do not expect him to declare open support to whatever move that is targeted at sacking the People’s Democratic Party.  However, the spirit of Governor Obi is with us in APC and at the appropriate time, his body, which is presently with the PDP, will definitely join the spirit in APC.”
Okorocha’s associates at the meeting, in a unanimous vote, endorsed the governor’s involvement in the merger, describing the move as “visionary, timely and an important step towards dislodging the PDP and making APC a household name in Imo State and the South-East”.

Culled The Punch

But even amidst the acclaimed wave of popularity of Okorocha, there are still many who are simply not impressed by his approach to governance. One of such viewpoint is Eze who wrote this piece from Owerri< Ezeboko11@yahoo.com> Hear him:
When Owelle Rochas Okorocha was elected Governor of Imo State and people were rejoicing, because, in their erroneous opinion, he was better than his predecessor, Ikedi Ohakim, who was considered not fit enough for the office on moral grounds; someone remarked that in comparison, if Ohakim is a pick pocket, Okorocha is a refined international crook. His antecedents precede and justify this assertion. Ever since he came into office, the people of Imo State have not stopped asking themselves how they could have made the mistake.

His rascality in Imo State and especially his disregard for due process has made a nonsense of all that is pure and decent in the act of governance. Recall that after the election in 2011, even before he was sworn in, he wrote to banks freezing all government accounts. The Attorney General of the federation (AGF) had to call him to order by reminding him that there was a government in place regardless of the outcome of that election and advised him to rein in his inordinate urge to assume power.

As soon as he came on board, he declared war on the system in place in Imo State, doing the unheard of by commercialising the civil service, as well as dissolving the Local Government as a tier of government. He went ahead to violate the constitution of the federation by introducing an ill conceived fourth tier of government that is, obviously, lacking in definition and focus. In Imo State today, there is no local government worthy of the name; yet the allocations to that tier of government has not stopped coming and into someone’s private pocket.
Not too long ago, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) paid the state a visit and arrested two top government officials for questioning on a N44billion scam. He is trying to divert attention from that issue by making a feeble attempt to probe his predecessor.

For him, governance is akin to show business that thrives on razzmatazz. That can be deciphered from his abuse of television air time. Okorocha’s face must appear on the screen everyday even if he has to fight for it as he did in Enugu at a State function where he fought with a protocol officer over sitting position. His colleague, the Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi for him the seat was reserved, however, had to teach him some lessons in humility and decorum.

Towards the 2007 election, he toyed with the idea of running for the presidency on the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). At that time, the ante for the Igbo presidency was at its upmost. But because of the way Okorocha went about it with his nauseating display of wealth from alleged questionable sources, even the Igbo elite said if he was the kind character vying for the position, they would have nothing to do with it. Before then, he was the Chairman of a federal government parastatal, from where he was forced out because he alleged to have compromised.

Now, he is back on the beat. He wants to be a presidential candidate in 2015 and he is trying to buy into the ongoing merger talks by opposition parties, promising to bankroll it on the condition that they give him the ticket. But ambition ought to be made of a sterner stuff which the self styled Owelle lacks. The good thing is that he is going to have to deal with smarter politicians who know who he is and where he is coming from. He abandoned ANPP when he failed to get what he wanted and returned to the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) to accept the position of a Special Adviser. The opportunist he is, he moved on soon after and joined the Progressive Peoples Grand Alliance (APGA) and rode on Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu’s booster rocket into office as Governor. To him, the envisaged mega party that would emerge if the merger talks succeeded would be a veritable platform to re-launch his presidential ambition. Of course, he will fail again and he will surely move on because he is the quintessential fair weather politician lacking in ideology and commitment.

The spoiler he is, he wants to derail the present thriving political dispensation; but Nigerians know him better. The Imo people are earnestly waiting to see how he will account for the billions that accrued to the state through the monthly federal allocation to the local government areas.  Such a character is not who the Igbo nation should offer to the rest of Nigeria as their candidate for the exalted office of the president of the country.
Eze wrote from Owerri< Ezeboko11@yahoo.com>

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