Immediate past governor of Imo state, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, has declared to contest the 2015 governorship election in the state, stating that his ambition is to complete the laudable projects, programmes initiated by his administration between 2007 and 2011.
Ohakim, who lamented what he described as maladministration of Imo state by the incumbent governor, Rochas Okorocha, said the level of unemployment his administration curtailed by massive employment scheme has risen beyond proportionate level due to the politically-motivated sack of over 4,000 civil servants by the current administration.
Ohakim, who said he has put behind him issues and circumstances that led to his defeat in the 2011 governorship election, stressed that life is not about falling, but be able to rise again. According to him, “the character of a man is judged by his ability to rebound from adversity and turn it into advancement. If certain things in life work out for us effortlessly, it does not mean that life is without difficulties. All heroes are those who surmount difficulties’.
With this in mind, he said he has decided to contest the 2015 governorship election in Imo state on the platform of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), explaining that one of the basic reasons for him to contest is to implement his programmes and projects that have been ‘bastardised’ by the current administration in the state.
One of the programmes which he initiated but was allegedly bastardised by the Okorocha’s administration, he said, is the drive to provide employment for the vast army of unemployed youths in the state.
The former governor explained that as a policy, Imo past administrations had placed embargo in the state for over 18 years and that to address this, he contacted a consulting firm, KPMG to help in the recruitment of the unemployed youths.
Before this, he said in the schools, especially in the primary and secondary schools, there is a ratio of 189 pupils to a teacher and that the average retiring age of civil servants in the state was 58 years coupled with the fact that most of the civil servants kept changing their age to enable them remain in the job. But on assumption of office in 2007, he employed KPMG to address the growing question of unemployment in the state.
According to Ohakim, “the consultant, the KPMG came up with its report that there are over 700,000 applicants in the state civil service to compete for only ten thousand vacancies”, explaining that the objective of getting a consulting firm like KPMG was to enthrone transparency in the recruitment exercise.
He explained that, due to the transparent recruitment exercise by the KPMG, only 8,000 applicants were successful, but the criteria had to be lowered to enable additional 2000 applicants to qualify. In this, he said 5,000 teachers (75 per cent of these were science-based teachers) were employed with over 250 judiciary officers.
In Imo state, THISDAY gathered that the following aspirants are jostling to contest for the 2015 governorship election in the state. They include the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, Senator Chris Anyanwu, Senator Ifeanyi Ararume and Chief Mike Ahamba (SAN).
All of them would be contesting on the platform of the PDP. The former Minister of Internal Affairs, Capt. Emmanuel Iheanacho, would be contesting on the platform of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and the incumbent governor, Rochas Okorocha, would be contesting on the platform of the All Progressives’ Congress (APC).