Education, job creation and security top priority list Governor Rochas Okororcha of Imo state announced yesterday to the cheering of enthusiastic crowd of Imo citizens shortly after being administered the oath of office with his deputy Chief Sir Jude Agbaso at Dan Anyiam stadium Owerri.
Immediate past Governor Ikedi Ohakim, his deputy Ada Okwuonu as well as Speaker of the State House of Assembly were however, conspicuously absent at the occasion graced by former governor Achike Udenwa, governor Peter Obi of Anambra State, Chief Victor Umeh, national chairman of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) governorship candidate of the party for the 2007 election Chief Martin Agbaso and other distinguished personalities.
Okorocha who arrived at the venue with his wife and six children took his oath of office at exactly 12 noon after the deputy governor Chief Agbaso was administered the oath by the Chief Judge, Justice Benjamin Njemanze.
Okorocha who burst into songs of praise after his swearing in declared the day a day of freedom, a day of emancipation and a day of restoration for Imo people saying democracy has really started in the state and never again shall an Iroko decides who governs Imo people but the people themselves.
“The May 5 supplementary election remains a great day in history. I see before me a great thing to happen. I know you expect much from me. You believe in me and you trust me. I will perform and I will not disappoint you. Your peace is my peace; your pain is my pain. Where you are, there I will be.
“Just few days ago the outgoing governor Ikedi Ohakim issued staff of office to over 160 traditional rulers. Appointment letters for his 10,000 thousand jobs were released to the beneficiaries within a week. Just few days ago he signed N18, 000 minimum wage for workers. Imo allocation stands at N2.2billion. Imo is not worthy to borrow from any bank because of over borrowing. Even on that I will perform. I will not give any excuse. I will deliver”, he said.
Reeling out his priority areas, Okorocha declared free education and warned that any parents or guardian who refused to send his child or ward to school will face the law. He said he was prompted to declare free education out of his belief that the best that can be given to a child is education as a child without education is a futureless child.
He said Imo has a lot of security challenges and noted that peace has returned to the state since his election because there is a new spirit among the people to move forward. In this regard, he promised to tackle security to the fullest.
“I don’t believe in crime fighting but crime prevention. The criminals are all in our communities and my administration will create a black book for them. No criminal shall go unpunished as far as this administration is concerned”, he said.
On the issue of job he said his government will do a lot to keep everybody busy. He said that he would rescue the few remaining industries in comatose position in the state. He warned civil servants in the state to be serious with their jobs noting that the era of truancy and coming late to work is gone with the old order.
He said: “Our civil servants must stand up and face the challenge. For every single worker, there is a corresponding person waiting to take over your seat if you don’t perform”.
He advised unemployed young men and women in the state looking for jobs to be close to their God henceforth because his government will go to churches to collect list of such job lookers and this will ensure that those to be employed are spiritually certified.
Governor Okorocha did not ignore the health sector as he said that his government will review the issue of health with serious concern. He said he is worried by the issue of justice and fairness and therefore will appoint a special assistant in charge of that to ensure that innocent persons are not kept in prison custody because they have no big man to bail them.
He said: “No innocent person will be kept in police or prison custody anymore. At the same time, no criminal will go unpunished no matte his connection. I therefore warn the big men who are fond of issuing orders to Divisional Police Officers to release detained criminals stop it henceforth or they will replace such criminals in prison.”
Assuring that his government will be grassroots based, Okorocha said his government will create fourth tier of government, Community Government and the seat of power, Douglas House is now in the communities.
He said he was not interested in probing his predecessor, but in auditing the accounts of the state. “This government is not interested in witch hunting anybody. What we are interested in is auditing the account of Imo state. I have no business looking backward”.
He said of the immediate past governor: “Ohakim said his name is Ikiri. But since I won the election he is my brother. I have separated my brother from Ikiri. Ikiri has gone to the bush and my brother has gone back to Isiala Mbano. From today, Ohakim is no longer Ikiri but former governor.
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