Ihedioha’s plan to concession ITC raises concerns
• Imo Assembly passes 2020 appropriation bill of N197b
The decision of Governor Emeka Ihedioha to concession the Imo Transport Company (ITC) has soured the relationship between the workers of the company and state government.To express their ill-feelings, the workers embarked on strike before Christmas.
However, Imo Peoples’ Action for Democracy (IPAD) called on Governor Ihedioha to reverse the decision, insisting that it did not follow due process.
Coordinator of the Imo-based civil society group, Marjorie Ezihe, and the secretary, Chibundu Uchegbu, noted yesterday that the habit of taking decisions unilaterally was the bane of the immediate past administration in the state, which, according to them, led to the emergence of the Ihedioha-led administration.
The statement read in part: “Leaders who are elected democratically must possess the capacity to govern democratically. This includes due process, open government partnership, inclusive participation and transparency.“Governor Emeka Ihedioha of Imo State has concessioned Imo Transport Company (ITC). The document authorising this concession exercise has been duly signed and delivered. The concessionees will be taking possession of the most lucrative industry in Imo.
“The process, ab initio, was unilaterally conceived, facilitated and finalised by the governor, with sheer disregard and disrespect to the widely preached ‘due process’.”But the state government argued that the concessioning was done in the best interest of all stakeholders, apologising to all commuters whose movements were disrupted.
Special Assistant to the Governor on Research, Mr. OguBundu Nwadike, in a statement entitled ‘Understanding the Need for Concessioning ITC’, said: “It’s really sad that for what has been underscored as personal aggrandisement, some unscrupulous power and money mongers that the Rebuild Imo administration has dislodged with the impetus of rule of law and due process, could compel workers of ITC to down tools at a time like the yuletide, when their services were needed most.”He added that the Commissioner for Transport, Sly Enwerem, had clarified the rationale behind the concessioning in a media briefing on December 24, 2019.
Meanwhile, the House of Assembly, on Tuesday, passed the appropriation bill of N197 billion for the 2020 fiscal year before proceeding on Christmas and New Year holiday.
Governor Ihedioha had on November 27 presented a proposal of N197.6 billion to the Assembly presided over by Dr. Chiji Collins before it was committed to the House Committee on Budget, Finance and Appropriation chaired by Uche Ogbuagu (PDP, Ikeduru).The Guardian gathered that the passage was sequel to the adoption of the Ogbuagu-led committee’s recommendations.
The proposal involved N91.4 billion for recurrent expenditure and N106.2 billion for capital expenditure.Addressing the lawmakers, the Speaker said the Assembly would exercise its oversight powers and function of strict implementation.He expressed satisfaction that the proposal was scrutinised properly and passed within the January to December budget circle, stressing the preparedness of the lawmakers to support the governor to deliver the government’s programmes and policies.
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