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Imo’s N18 billion fund from bond intact, says Ohakim’s aide

By Charles Ogugbuaja, Owerri
25 December 2009   |   11:22 am
CONTRARY to speculations, the Imo State government has not started drawing down on the N18 billion bond already secured for the development of Oguta Wonder Lake project and other developmental projects, the Special Adviser on Special Duties to Governor Ikedi Ohakim, Mr. Chikwem Onuoha, has disclosed. In a chat with journalists yesterday, in Owerri, Onuoha noted that out of N40 billion bond which the state had requested for, only N18 billion was received, adding that in line with the specifications for real planning and execution, it would take about four years to plan the wonder lake project, just as it took the Sun City project in South Africa to actualise, urging Imo people to understand it in same light.

Onuoha disclosed that “feasibility study and area mapping” were being carried out by government, saying “only a bit of the fund has been released and it has not been touched.”

He said a non-interest loan of N8 billion was secured from the Federal Government for agriculture projects.

A silos, he said, was sited in Okigwe by the Federal Government with about N5 billion.

On the allegations against him and published in a national daily (not The Guardian) that he worked in concert with Governor Ohakim to siphon Imo government’s money, he debunked it, stressing that he was only supporting the state government to thrive better.

Onuoha said: “I will tell you from what I saw, he (Ohakim) has done very well. If somebody is doing well, we must encourage the person. Nobody can share money to any person in Imo State. Somebody is talking about me this way, it is very painful. You cannot develop this state without borrowing money. Mbakwe borrowed money.”

He added: “You must plan properly. We don’t want to be like Tinapa. That is why we brought international planners.

“I can tell you, the people of Imo will laugh last because what the governor is doing is what will write his name in gold. I want to be part of that history. Achievement is not only about money.”

Onuoha said the governor of the state was committed to make lives of more than four million Imo people to be better, adding that the 14-point agenda was on course. “Things must be sited properly. Projects must be sited according to economic value. It is stage by stage.”

The Special Adviser regretted that there has been negative perception on Ohakim which has subsumed other good attributes he has brought to Imo such as good road network, street lights, clean and green initiative and the Imo Rural Road Maintenance Agency (IRROMA) projects in the local councils among others.