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Saturday, June 3, 2023

Imo: Enough of The Unjust and Rotten LGA Caretaker System, By Kenneth Uwadi

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I have said it several times that as a young man one of the artists I followed his music is the late legendary Afro-beat maestro Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Fela did a lot of songs, most of which are about the misrule of our government and even the western imperialists. Fela did a song titled: ‘Beasts of no nation’ to protest the evil apartheid regime in South-Africa. And back home, Fela through his songs exposed so many evil in government dealings. ITT (International Thief, Thief), VIP (Vagabonds in Power), Teacher don’t teach me nonsense, Sorrow, tears and blood and Authority Stealing are a few among many work of legendary Fela. I remember his song title Army Arrangement; I heard Fela singing and saying 2.8 billion Naira oil money missing.

It is 20 months this September that the government of Chief Hope Uzodinma has been in office. One thing with me is that when things are done well, I speak, when they are not done well, I will also speak. My voice was loud during the administration of Rochas Okorocha. The Uzodinma’s government has unleashed a neo-liberal attack on workers and poor masses by making the local government councils in the state redundant. Imo state councils are suffering from a form of Dutch disease. There is mass suffering and poverty in our rural areas in the midst of huge material and human resources. The past 20 months have brought fundamentally nothing to workers and poor masses in our councils  in term of infrastructural development and improved living standards.  The 20 months have only recorded collapse of our councils, unemployment, jumbo pay for top government functionaries, brazen looting of the councils by those in government and their business allies, and criminal transfer of public properties to private vampires for their profit-first interests. 

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The continued use of Caretaker administration in Imo LGA’s instead of elected council men is prescribing and administering poison as medicine for the chronic ailment of the Imo economy. The infrastructures in our LGA’s  such as roads, water, education are  in a state of stagnation and utter decay. Currently most rural  roads are in deplorable conditions causing virtual paralysis in economic activities with a number of incalculable lives and vehicles being lost and damaged. Things are so ugly  that the road linking Egbema to Owerri via Adapalm and also through Izombe have become so bad to the extent that the transport dislocation arising from this is a thing to shed tears, hot bitter tears. Public education has become so neglected to an extent that only those who have no options send their children and wards to public schools. Increasingly, most children of the thieving capitalist elite are being educated in the best private schools and tertiary institutions locally and internationally. 

Apart from a tiny layer of top political office holders in the state, top civil servants and judicial officers, together with their capitalist backers and mentors, majority of working class Imolites continue to earn miserable poverty wages. I will always speak against any pre-occupation or implementation of socio-economic policies that can only make life harder for the overwhelming majority of Imolites .Imo state LGA’s must come back to existence. Elections should be conducted and elected council men be put in place. Imo State has become one of the most unequal societies in the world, with the richest 20% of Imolites getting 55.7% of the state’s total income while the poorest 20% are left to struggle for just 4.4%.. This is not an isolated opinion. Indeed this is the opinion of the mass majority of Imolites. The most serious aspect of Imo’s problems is the poor and hopeless condition of the youths. Today unemployment has become a permanent feature of the life of Imo youths.

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Therefore, quite naturally, the first instinctive wish of every suffering working person and poor  Imolite is the  desire to get rid of the present unjust, rotten LGA caretaker system in the state. Most ordinary people, and even substantial layers of the rich and middle class elements, most earnestly desire an elected council government that would make life better for the rural areas. Unfortunately however, as things stand today and unless checkmated the continuous  use of Caretakers in the Imo Council , will only yield greater and unprecedented mass poverty in the midst of plenty and a never thought of political instability and social nightmare. Let us do the right thing. I need not say more.

-Kenneth Uwadi lives in Mmahu –Egbema, Ohaji/Egbema LGA , Imo State. 

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