By Johnbull Chikwe
Imo State governor, Chief Emeka Ihedioha has dismissed criticisms over his decision to invest billions of Naira into undertaking expansion works on his houses in his village and his New Owerri residence.
Speaking through the spokesman of his Campaign Organization, Mr. Kissinger Ikeokwu, the governor implied that he is ashamed of the house he owned before he became governor, hence, had to upgrade the house to meet up with his new status as State governor.
Kissinger, who currently serves as the Secretary to the Imo State Board of Internal Revenue, described Ihedioha's Civic Center residence as one of the most modest of the houses around that highbrow estate. He explained that the house is a 'mere' bungalow with a penthouse and a sitting room that cannot contain more than twelve sitters.
However, this explanation has been faulted by those who are familiar with Chief Ihedioha's residences both in Owerri and Mbutu. The houses were among the most exotic, with an internal decor that would have cost billions to put up. Also, in contrary to Kissinger's claim of the house been situated in a less than 1000 square metres land space, those familiar with the property, believe that the land on which it is built could not be less than 3000 square metres. The idea of trying to sell the former deputy speaker as a man that is not given to ostentatiousness is also untrue, as Ihedioha has been rated as one the most ostentatious politicians in Imo State.
As someone rightly pointed out; if a house is comfortable enough to serve for two governorship campaigns, and also serve him through the period he served as a principal officer of the National Assembly, why is the governor in a haste to modify these buildings, even when he hasn't put up a single brick for Imo people?
To answer Kissinger's question about why it really matters that the governor is upgrading his personal houses in less than three months in office, I think Kissinger is well aware of why this matters, but chose to ask, for the sake of asking.
Ihedioha as a governor, no longer owns himself. He is answerable to the people for every single action he takes and the timing of these construction works and the procurement of landed properties on which these houses are being built, is suggestive of fraud and insensitivity. How could a governor go about constructing new houses and purchasing lands in less than one month of being in office? He leaves us with no other option but to believe that hr is using our money to embark on these personal projects, while the people languish in want and dilapidated public infrastructure.
The argument that the governor could have afforded to build such edifices if he wanted, before becoming governor is also baseless. If he could afford to build them, why didn't he build them? Or he never believed he would ever become governor?
We expect the governor or his aides to tell us how much these personal projects of his are costing Imolites and how and when he will be refunding us.
IMO EMEBIALA OZO!