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Emeka Ihedioha, Rochas Okorocha Disgraced at New Yam Festival…… + Okorocha is an embarrassment to democracy- Prof. Viola Onwuliri



Irresponsible, demeaning, distasteful and lawless are words that best describe the show of shame following the needless altercation between Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha and Deputy House Speaker, Chief Emeka Ihedioha, at the Iriji Mbaise New Yam Festival, over the weekend. So bad was the situation that President Goodluck Jonathan, who was represented at the event by Foreign Affairs Minister, Prof. Viola Onwuliri, described Okorocha as an embarrassment to democracy and a disaster waiting to happen! Okorocha countered that Imo people have rejected Jonathan and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) because they are worse than the Ebola virus. The Mbaise nation was apparently angry that Okorocha engaged Ihedioha – a son of the soil – in their home turf. The ensuing pandemonium saw Okorocha’s microphone switched off, as people jeered the governor while he spoke. This, to say the least was embarrassing and disgraceful. It is an unbelievable shame that underscores more the culture of intolerance that has crept into the public space. Honestly, the people of Imo State deserve better!

The willful transformation of the 2014 Yam Festival into a political rally of sorts with the governor and the Deputy House Speaker, fighting for supremacy is shameful and unacceptable. One of the hallmarks of political maturity is civility and tolerance. By this unjustified expression of intolerance and bad manners, Okorocha and Ihedioha have brought Mbaise people, Imo State and the entire nation into disrepute, going by their cavalier showmanship, intemperate feistiness and reprehensible waywardness that characterized their utterances at what was supposed to be a cultural jamboree. This was a great disservice to efforts at rebranding Nigeria. Whatever might have informed the torrid exchanges, the actions of the two men; who by virtue of their authority positions and power are supposed to exercise restraint, was a mockery of the admonition that two wrongs don’t make a right.

The shoddy manner, in which the event organizers handled matters, leaves much to be desired even as there was no love lost between Okorocha and the Mbaise nation. Receiving the governor to Mbaise, Ihedioha fired the first salvo, pointedly telling Okorocha that he (Okorocha) would as a matter of necessity hand over to him in 2015, noting that the governor’s exit was not negotiable. Ihedioha also held the governor to task on what he described as “lack of state government presence in Mbaise.” According to Ihedioha, “the major projects in Mbaise are those executed by the federal government. In the few areas credited to the state government, we only see projects that are very poorly executed…It is evident that the governor has run out of ideas, so as a matter of expediency, it is expected that he would hand over the reins in 2015 so we can help out.”

Responding, a visibly angry Okorocha said: “the green cap (referring to Ihedioha’s trademark cap) will not make anybody governor of Imo State and as a matter of fact, there is nobody in the Imo State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who is my match in an electoral contest. My three years in office is more productive than the 12 years spent in the state by the PDP. Imo people have rejected PDP because PDP is worse than the Ebola virus.” As he continued his tirade, the microphone was switched off; and went dead again when he said he had laid the foundation for a campus of the Imo State University to be sited in Aboh Mbaise/Ngor Okpala federal constituency. The crowd booed and jeered dismissing the university as a political gimmick informed by expediency.

The brigandage and confusion degenerated into a free for all between Okorocha’s supporters and those of Ihedioha, but security agents on ground stepped in and whisked the governor away to safety. While many believed Okorocha fled the event long before the breaking of kola nuts and the address of the president, his supporters said he left for another assignment.

From Ihedioha’s perspective, the palpable perception of leadership failure and the deficit in delivery of public goods to Imo people by the Okorocha administration might have culminated in a loss of faith in the governor. But the event was not the appropriate forum for Imo people to wash their proverbial dirty lining in public. Rather, there was no better time than the New Yam festival to rediscover those binding ethos of the Mbaise nation as an integral part of Imo State. The brigandage therefore, amounted to a mindless circumvention of the community spirit and essence of the festival. Trading invectives and casting banal aspersions on each other, at an event that is supposed to showcase those values that define Mbaise nation and Imo State in general, was most inauspicious and must never again be contemplated or tolerated.

It bears restating that what played out could be a prelude to “do-or-die” elections in 2015; especially as the blame game has continued. Professor Onwuliri told journalists after the event that Okorocha was not interested in the festival but just came to create confusion and derail the event. She said: “Since Okorocha assumed office in 2011, he has never attended the Iriji Mbaise until this one that precedes the election year. This is not the ground for venting personal animosities. He even left before the actual ceremony began. He just brought trouble to the event and this is an embarrassment to the state and its people. I am positive that by 2015, we will all have a chance to redress this anomaly.”

Ihedioha, reacting to an Imo state government statement, asking him to apologize to the governor for the embarrassment and disgrace at the event, instead asked Okorocha to apologize to the Mbaise people for defiling their custom and tradition. “The deputy speaker and other Mbaise leaders believed that it was the governor who actually owes the Mbaise people an apology for disrupting the event after coming late in his characteristic manner and defiling the treasured cultural values and tradition of Iri Iji Mbaise,” a statement by Chibuike Onyeukwu issued on behalf of the deputy speaker said.

Ihedioha discounted as a blatant lie, the claim by Imo state government that he did not welcome the governor to the event, noting that though Okorocha had ulterior motives for attending the festival after spurning invitations in the past three years, he still gave him the courtesy of welcoming him as chief guest of honor. The statement clarified: “It is on record that the deputy speaker did not only welcome Okorocha to the event but also enjoined him to accept the kolanut offered to him as chief guest of honor. Ihedioha said Okorocha’s recourse to attacking him simply confirms the fact that “the governor holds him (Ihedioha) in trepidation and is at a loss as to how to address his growing popularity and acceptance among the Imo people vis-a-vis his (Okorocha’s) fast declining rating among the people.”

While the point is to be made that there is enough blame to go around, it can only be to the utter shame and ridicule of Mbaise nation and Imo State as a people unable to get their act together. Apart from underlining the low quality of leadership in Imo today, it simply reinforces the cynicism of outsiders about Imo citizens who have largely become a band of docile and complacent people, who concur in the despoliation of their land by their passive indifference and cold complicity in the face of reckless, arbitrary and criminal dissipation of their commonwealth by corrupt, inept, clueless and lawless leadership. Imo State should not be embroiled in such destructive, distractive, unhealthy and volatile disputations rooted in ego-offensive personality cults, the type that is setting other states on fire and creating cleavages and tension. A man’s public comportment after all, is a reflection of his character.


– Huhuonline

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Controversial Sterling Bank caught in the act! CBN sanctions, parades officials for hoarding new naira notes [VIDEO]




Officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have discovered N6 million of the new naira notes hoarded in Sterling Bank Plc, Ado Ekiti branch on Bank Road, Ado Ekiti in Ekiti State, having received the funds for over two weeks, THE WITNESS reports.


In a trending video on social media, seen by THE WITNESS, a man who identified himself as Oluwole Owoeye, a deputy director of CBN, while monitoring the distribution of the new naira notes in the state, was seen questioning the bank officials as to why they have not uploaded the funds into their Automated Teller Machines, (ATMs), despite having six of the machines in place.


The CBN director also announced a fine of N1 million for each day the fund was in the bank’s custody.


The CBN official said, “I am currently at Sterling Bank, on Bank Road as part of the new naira notes monitoring compliance with the guidelines by CBN. They have N6 million, which they collected from the bank for almost two weeks, they have not disbursed any. They said they are yet to configure their ATMs, I do not know why that and I have brought attention to the penalty clause of N1 million per day, because they have five ATMs here, they have no reason for keeping this money.


“The zonal service manager, Tunde Onipede promised that by 10:00am latest tomorrow (Monday), because I told him by latest 10:00 am I’ll be here and I want to see the machine dispensing this money.


“What is the name again? Olumide Owolabi (Service Manager, Ado) & Motunrayo Babayele. My name is Oluwole Owoeye and I am a deputy director of CBN.”



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FCMB Manager Arrested For Hoarding New Naira Notes



A manager of the First City Monument Bank (FCMB) branch in Osogbo, Osun State capital, has been arrested for allegedly preventing Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) loaded with cash from dispensing money to customers.

The spokesperson of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offenses Commission (ICPC), Azuka Ogugua, in a statement on Friday said the cash bundles were loaded into the ATMs while still wrapped, and as such, could not be dispensed through the machines

“The ICPC Compliance Team in Osogbo has busted an FCMB in Osogbo, Osun State, where some ATMs were loaded with cash with their wrappers un-removed, thus preventing the cash from being dispensed.

“The Team, therefore, directed that the wrappers be removed, and the cash loaded properly’.

Similarly, seven Point of Sale (POS) operators as well as a security guard were arrested during the ongoing exercise in Osun State for charging exorbitant commissions for cash.

Investigations, however, revealed that they got the money from Filling Stations that collect new notes from fuel buyers, but they then resell the cash to the public at exorbitant rates.

The arrested persons are helping the Commission with information to assist investigations and bust any syndicates involved in the hoarding or sales of the redesigned notes.


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New naira: ICPC arrests Stanbic IBTC Bank manager over sabotage



The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), has arrested an official of Stanbic IBTC Bank in Abuja for alleged sabotage.

The ICPC spokesperson, Azuka Ogugua, said the development was in continuation of ICPC’s clampdown on elements frustrating efforts in making the redesigned Naira notes available to members of the public.

The bank official, who is the branch service head of Stanbic IBTC Bank, Deidei Branch in Abuja, was taken into custody for her deliberate refusal to upload cash into the branch’s Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) even when the cash was available and people were queuing at the ATM points.

The statement reads: “When the ICPC monitoring team stormed the bank at about 1:30pm on Friday to ensure compliance, and demanded explanation as to why all the ATMs were not dispensing cash, the team was informed by the branch’s head of operations that the bank just got delivery of the cash.

“However, facts available to the ICPC operatives indicated that the branch took delivery of the cash earlier around 11:58am and either willfully or maliciously refused to feed the ATMs with the cash.

“Against this backdrop, the ICPC team compelled the bank to load the ATMs with the redesigned Naira notes and ensured that they were all dispensing before arresting the culprit.

“The ICPC said investigations were still ongoing and the Commission will take appropriate actions as soon they are concluded.

“Similarly, seven Point of Sale (PoS) operators as well as a security guard were arrested during an ongoing exercise in Osun State for charging exorbitant commissions for cash.

“Investigations, however, revealed that they got the money from Filling Stations that collect new notes from fuel buyers, but they then resell the cash to the public at exorbitant rates.

“The arrested persons were helping the anti-graft commission with information to assist investigations and bust other syndicates involved in the hoarding and sales of the redesigned Naira notes,” the anti-graft agency said.


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