“Please forgive me and my aides…” – Ex-Gov. Ohakim confesses his ‘sins’, pleads for mercy

by S’ola Filani

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The immediate past Governor of Imo State, Ikedi Ohakim, has pleaded for forgiveness from Imo citizens for falling short of their expectations during his tenure as Governor.

In an interview with Vanguard newspaper, the former Governor said “I want to seize this opportunity to tell Imo people to forgive me and forgive any of my aides that fell short of any expectation. I am human. One thing that is very common to every human being is the ability to offend people or to make mistakes. I made my own mistakes as a human being.

Highlighting the major controversial issues during the tenure, he said “I took certain decisions that I did not market very well. But because of the hunger in trying to develop our people, because of the hunger in trying to convert civil service environment to an economic environment, I over pushed our people.

“When I removed the commercial motorcycle operators from the streets of Owerri, hell was let loose. It was the present Governor, Rochas Okorocha, that organised the Okada riders to institute an action against the state government in Enugu and asked them to march round the whole of Imo State to demonstrate against that beautiful project and decision we took. He did not care that I cushioned the effect of the ban by providing them with tricycles and trained many others in different trades,” he said.

The former governor continued saying: “It was the same Okorocha that gathered over 500 people to go and pass through the front of my house that was recently bombed. Imo people were shocked. Noise everywhere but I was not deterred.

“I want to apologize to them and appeal to them. Today, many of them are happy. If you go to the General Hospital, you will hardly see anybody hanging his leg there. The ban on okada reduced accidents rate and crime in the state. Owerri is better for it today.

“I want to also apologize to the street traders, who defied building regulations to erect shanties that we removed to clear the drainages and begin to come with our Clean and Green environment programme.

“I want to appeal to those teachers that were affected by our certificate verification exercise. When we carried out this exercise, 499 teachers were fished out for parading fake certificates, fake school certificate, fake National Certificate in Education, and some of them rose to the position of principal.

“We decided not to make it a media thing. We did not prosecute them because they were Imo citizens. We only asked them to resign and we employed 5,000 teachers, including science teachers to replace them. But unfortunately, those 499 teachers became the campaign directors of Governor Rochas Okorocha, and most of them worked as members of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, ad-hoc staff.

“I want to apologize to them. I may have offended them one way or the other, offended their families, offended their children, but I was doing the right thing, as I thought. Maybe, if I had known, I would have left them until after my second tenure before showing them the way out of the system. But I was in a hurry to make sure there was law and order and there was no fraud in the system. I can go on and on.”

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