The revelations of the Local Government Panel of inquiry in Imo State headed by Eze Duruiheoma, is to say the least mind boggling.
According to the reports submitted to Governor Hope Uzodimma at the Sam Mbakwe Executive Chambers, Government House, Owerri, penultimate Thursday, the Panel said it discovered unimaginable sleaze in the conduct of government business at the local government areas from 2011 to 2019 that saw N141 billion being frittered away on “funny projects”.
Duruiheoma noted that during the period under review, Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs Commissioners, Council Chairmen and contractors were involved in colossal squandering of the LGA allocations and that stealing of public fund was a past time. Duruiheoma who pleaded with Governor Uzodimma to ensure that local government areas are made to serve as the pivot for the development of the society, regretted that under former governor and Senator representing Orlu Zone, Rochas Okorocha, the LGAs were reduced to a bedrock of fraud and criminal diversion of money meant for development.
We want to commend Eze Duruiheoma and his Panel for reaching to the bottom of the rot that had affected the smooth running and development of the rural areas.
It is stating the fact that being the third tier of government, the local government system has performed abysmally to the detriment of the rural dwellers making it the bastion of corruption, with its funds at the whims and caprices of the governors.
While we would have loved the Panel to extend its probe beyond the Okorocha era, we are however appalled at the discoveries that stealing of local government funds was like a piece of cake. This is why most governors who have ruled the state refused to conduct proper Council elections so as to continue to pilfer the funds.
Daily Nigerian Horn commends governor Uzodimma for allowing the different probe panels instituted by the Emeka Ihedioha administration to continue and urge him to cast sentiments aside in implementing the recommendations.
We will however, not fail to warn that his own government should not be found wanting in subverting the development of the local government areas.
Governor Uzodimma can create a niche for himself by conducting a credible local government elections within the shortest possible time.
If he fails to do this, the temptation of stealing the LGA funds will be irresistible. Development of the local government areas to reduce urban migration is a task that
must be accomplished.