Former governor of Imo State and an aspirant for the same office in 2019 Chief Ikedi Ohakim has disclosed the reasons why he deposed an affidavit on his first four years in office as well as on what he plans to do from 2019 if he wins the state governorship election next year.
Ohakim recently deposed a 35-paragraph affidavit at an Owerri High Court in which he among other things vehemently denied allegations of corrupt enrichment and diversion of state funds, challenging any concerned citizen to take him to court to prove him otherwise.
The affidavit which generated public curiosity especially in Imo State also stated what the former governor intends to achieve and how to go about them from 2019 going forward, if elected.
In an exclusive interview Friday, Daily Times asked Chief Ohakim why he chose to swear affidavit on his past tenure and his future plans, something that has not been heard of in Nigeria in the past.
His response: “I went to the High to swear affidavit so that whatever I say to the people of Imo State henceforth will be legally binding between us; and that I can be held responsible for my words.
I did that, knowing that no one has taken such step in Nigeria before. If you check, more than 99 percent of politicians in the country just make promises merely to deceive the people and take their votes without making efforts to fulfil those promises.
“In the past, many prominent personalities in this country have made promises to do only one term as presidents and on grounds of which they were handed over party nominations but at the end of their tenure, they reneged and went ahead to re-contest.
Look at the case of current Imo State governor Rochas Okorocha who signed agreement to do one term even in the presence of some church leaders as witnesses, yet he failed to keep to the terms of the agreement and now even wants to do a third term through a crony.
“If you recall, somebody wrote a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alleging that I diverted N9billion meant for the dredging of Nworie River, which was actually an NNDC project and therefore had nothing to do with me as Imo State governor.
When late President Yar’Adua heard of the petition, he called me and said ‘Your people must be very wicked for linking you with this matter.’ Yar’Adua was very angry with our people for that.
Allegations against me were baseless, frivolous and unsubstantiated with most of them bandied by Rochas and his cohorts, including the lies that I slapped a Reverend father which never happened.
That is why I went to court and swore the affidavit so that if anybody can prove that I took Imo State’s money I should go in for that,” Ohakim said.
According to him, there was no promise he made during his campaigns for the 2007 governorship election that he did not fulfil adding that he left N26billion in Imo treasury before leaving office.
In the 35-parapgraph affidavit by Ohakim which was titled ‘My Covenant with Ndi Imo,’ the former governor stated that he shall seek the votes of the good people of Imo state for one term in the 2019 and that in cognition of his privilege and informed knowledge of the affairs of Imo State,
he has the bounden “moral, political, economic, social and spiritual responsibilities to the people of Imo State of Nigeria and humanity at large, to challenge and address the wasteful, treacherous, deceitful, capricious, autocratic, totalitarian and perceivably draconian malady that has entangled Imo State of Nigeria between 29/05/2011 and the time of this Oath.”
He said that his current mission include to address the urgent issues of Economic Revival; Loot Recovery; Reconciliation and Return of Imo State back to the hands of God;
liberate Imo State from the rapacious and capricious mismanagement of the affairs as well as the callous and mindless misappropriation of the resources of the state; re-erect all good governance structures deliberately and ignorantly demolished by Governor Rochas Okorocha;
purify the system; restore our Christian and Traditional values,seek adequate closure on a discredited era and to prepare the next generation of leaders and return our state to a more civilized brand of politics devoid of thuggery, gangsterism and brigandage within 4 years,
even as he said that he was ‘constitutionally qualified, mentally matured, physically sound, competent, experienced and that I understand completely the “NUTS and BOLTS” of Imo State government.”
He went on to say that ‘having acquitted myself in my first term as Governor who handed over to Governor Rochas Okorocha, I enjoy a unique governance experience and institutional memory to hit the ground running at the blast of the whistle, to rekindle hope for a future anchored on democratic rights, due process, economic growth and job creation;
that I wish to state categorically: that in my first term as governor, I conducted the day to day running and management of the affairs of Imo State with utmost probity, sterling integrity, transparency and due process.
That I obeyed all court judgments and orders and respected rules of engagement in the contract system, without exposing the state to any commercial risks;
that consulted extensively and worked harmoniously with all stakeholders in the state; that as a result, there was no judgment debts against my administration, no contract failed and no contractor made away with tax payers money in spite of the fact that we deliberately stimulated the economy and created wealth in the State by deploying over 2000 local small-scale contractors for projects,” among many other averments.