REMARKS BY IMO STATE GOVERNOR, SEN. HOPE UZODIMMA, AT HIS ASSENT TO TWO BILLS PASSED BY THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY AT GOVERNMENT HOUSE OWERRI ON FRIDAY MAY 22, 2020
I am quite glad to give my assent to these two important bills that were passed by the house of Assembly. By this ceremony of my assent the bills are now part of the laws of Imo state to the glory of God.
This ceremony presents an auspicious opportunity to throw more light on why the Executive sponsored the two bills.
As a young state grappling with enormous challenges, it dawned on me that the Imo state Governors and Speakers Pensions and Privileges law No 5 of 2007 was a bad omen. At the age our Governors and Speakers are leaving office, it will not be out of place to assume that many of them will be alive and kicking in the next 15 years or more. This will mean that by then the state will have more than 20 Governors and Speakers qualified for Pensions and Privileges.
I was alarmed that the financial implications for the state will not only be scandalous but indefensible. My simple calculation told me that there could come a time when the state could be spending more than one third of its resources to maintain former Governors and Speakers.
This was unacceptable to me, particularly for a state that has not been able to pay the gratuities of many retired public servants.
It is more so because the same Governors and Speakers also recieved severance allowances, amounting to several millions of Naira, when they disengage from office.
Severance allowances are targeted at cushioning post public office financial challenges for non pensionable positions such as Governor and Speaker. How then can the same category of former public office holders turn around to receive Pensions?
Even more importantly the Pensions Act is very clear that only those who have served in the public service for a minimum of 10 years are personable. Paying governors, Speakers and their deputies who spend a maximum of 8 years or less in office is actually criminal because it is against the law of the land.
Besides we have cases where retired civil servants already earning pensions contest for public office and end up earning double pension as former governors or deputies and as a retired civil servant. In every sense therefore the law in question is condemnable.
It is note worthy that I am supposed to benefit from this law when I leave office as Governor. Yet I called for its repeal. This should leave no one in doubt that I am acting in the best interest of our state and our people. I believe that those of us who have had the privilege of occupying exalted positions must be human enough to resist the temptation of feeding fat on the lean resources of the state at the expense of the people. We must know when to say enough is enough.
So let no one make any mistake about it. The Governors and Speakers Pensions and Privileges law was a bad law that needed to be repealed. It was anti people. It was in bad faith. It was fraudulent.
I could not condone such a law. History and my conscience will not forgive me if i did. I had no choice therfore but to ask for its repeal as part of my government’s recovery agenda. Yes, I needed to recover the billions of public funds that would have been lavished on a privileged few and plough it back to the more important business of developing our state.
I am glad that the House of Assembly members saw reason with me and today this offensive law has been repealed.
The bill to amend the university of Agriculture and Environmental Studies law number 4 of 2019 is a straightforward bill. It merely sort to stick to the original registration particulars of the law on which the National Universities Commission’s approval (NUC) was based, which had no room for a multi campus arrangement. The law, as now amended, only seeks to set the records straight and to build the new university on existing structures at Umoagwo, while we relocate the Imo state polytechnic to another deserving site.
Thank you all for your attention
Sen Hope Uzodimma
Friday may 22 , 2020
*Fighting Corruption is Dangerous*
In Nigeria, bureaucracy enables corruption and any attempt to remove the layers of bureaucracy supporting corruption becomes dangerous. Those who have tried to become reformers in Nigeria end up having their names soiled and reputation destroyed.
There’s this unholy alliance between the endemic corrupt system and the media. Mercantile journalism survive on the patronage of corrupt system. This is why, once a reformer begins to initiate reforms to improve transparency and accountability, articles appear from shady Journalists and entrepreneurial activists, utilizing subterfuge to keep the old system active. We are now wiser; we know the voice of Esau and the hand of Jacob. The idea is to harangue the reformer till he foregoes reforming the system and bow to them.
When HE, Hope Uzodinma was sworn in, understanding that a corrupt system will not permit productivity, he sought to clean it. Cleaning the civil service of ghost workers and leaches who suck the Imo treasury sick. For instance, there are 56,000 civil servants in Imo state (both state and LGA) astonishingly only 17, 000 of them are captured in Pay as you Earn(PAYE) an income tax which is mandatory and deducted from source. In reality, all the 56,000 workers ought to reflect on the PAYE. Also, for the past 10 years the nominal roll of pensioners stood at 30,000 – meaning no one has died and no new retiree has come into the system in 10 years. Clearly, these numbers are front loaded by crooks, who are feeding fat on the general pot of the Imo people.
HE, Hope Uzodinma, for the interest of Ndi Imo, for the sake of our children will have none of this. As a reformer, he is insisting this old system must crumble so that Imo can be free. He has Insisted that every workers’ salary account number be linked to their BVN. The policy is; no BVN, no pay. With the sole intention of ensuring that no ghost is paid in Imo state. Rather than submit their BVN, the old system is manipulating workers, stopping them from submitting their BVN in a bid to make the situation chaotic and utilize public outcry to force the Governor to soft pedal.
They have bought the press and are inserting frivolous stories into every media organization to disparage the Governor. They have gone to the West and have recruited notorious entrepreneurial activists at huge cost. They have bought all rogue newspapers to throw invectives at His Excellency. No way! The HE, Hope Uzodimma will not succumb. This fight, for the collective interest of the Imo people must succeed.
The sanitization of the Imo civil service must hold and workers who are exercising patience at this trying period will be the biggest beneficiaries. Funds saved from this exercise will be channeled to revamping the decaying infrastructure in the state and improving worker’s welfare.
Hold on, the fruit will be on your table soon
Nb: Title was taken from a book authored by Ngozi Okonji Iweala
Photo News: Imo State Government Led By Gov. Hope Uzodimma Donates Palliatives to the Association of Disables in Imo State.
Items donated were:
500 bags of rice
60 cartoons of indomie
40 cartoons of lux soap
42 cases of powder
SUBMIT YOUR BVN NOW TILL 18TH MAY 2020 OR THEIR HEADS RISK LOSING THEIR JOBS
Imo State Government led by Governor Hope Uzodimma has given Ministries, Agencies and parastatals yet another time to comply with the directives to submit their BVN as a requirement to be paid salaries up till Monday, May 18, 2020, to comply with Government directives or their Heads risk losing their jobs.
This formed part of decisions taken at the end of the state executive Council meeting.
The Commissioner for Information and Strategy Honourable Declan Emelumba who brief Journalist after the meeting said there is no going back on the plan to pay salary of workers in the state electronically.
The Commissioner reiterated that agencies and parastatals that are yet to receive their salaries are to blame for non-compliance to government guidelines to this effect.
Emelumba said despite Governor Uzodimma’s directive a few weeks ago, some parastatals and agencies have refused to comply with Government directive regarding submission of their Bank Verification Numbers (BVN).
Emelumba noted that the stance against government guidelines as regards electronic payment more than meets the eyes, adding that no responsible government would remain docile to plot to truncate government efforts on accountability and transparency.
Other issues addressed at the Exco meeting according to the Commissioner include: improving Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) base of the state, prosecution of any person or group of persons encroaching on government property and the banning of all forms of consultancy services for the state
Partners with Imo State Government in the fight against COVID-19.
An audit giant, Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) on Friday, May 8, donated 750 bags of 10kg rice to the Imo State Government as part of the organisation’s contribution in assisting the state fight the pandemic.
His Excellency, Sen. Uzodimma, who received the donation, thanked the PwC representatives for their gesture and promised that Imo State Government will continue to partner with them for a better society.
FEDERAL POLY NEKEDE PARTNERS WITH IMO STATE GOVERNMENT IN THE FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19.
The management of Federal Polytechnic, Nekede,led by the Rector, Rev. (Dr.) Michael Arimanwa on Friday joined the fight against the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic in the state through the donation of an automated and semi-automated pedal operational hand washing and sanitizing device as well as fully automated solar-powered hand washing, drying and sanitizing device.
Dr. Arimanwa noted that the two hand washing and sanitizing devices which they donated to the government were produced with about 80% local contents by the institution, from conception, designed to production without external assistance.
He solicited the assistance of the State government in the building of a technological entrepreneurship centre in the institution.
The governor while receiving the devices, charged them to improve further on their technological innovation by producing a ventilator. He promised that Imo state Government will continue to partner with the school, especially in the areas of research, skills acquisition, ICT training and the fight against cultism in the school.