By Ismaila Chafe
Gov. Emeka Ihedioha of Imo on Monday met behind closed doors with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, where he solicited for presidential intervention in the infrastructure deficiencies in his state.
Ihedioha, who spoke with State House Correspondents at the end of the meeting, said that he discussed the issue of agriculture and how the state could benefit from the Federal Government’s agricultural intervention programmes.
According to him, Imo needs the Federal Government’s support in all facets of the economy.
He said: “The Federal Government needs to support us in agriculture because the government we succeeded didn’t take advantage of government policies in agriculture.
“So we are working towards agricultural revolution to ensure that it becomes a source of revenue.
” So we need Federal Government’s support in that regard.
“We need government’s support in education, healthcare and building institutions.”
On the introduction of Treasury Single Account (TSA) by his administration, the governor said that the initiative was meant to boost Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in the state.
He expressed optimism that the TSA policy would address leakages and check possible cases of diversion of government revenue by unpatriotic public servants.
“When I came in, I found out to my chagrin, that there were accounts in the number that was reported in the media and of course so many leakages. We were not, as a state, making significant progress in our IGR.
“The IGR base of the state was very weak and when the IGR base is weak without having a productive economy, it obviously meant that we depended essentially on what came from federal allocation and of course other agencies being an oil producing state.
“It then became necessary that we find ways out and that was why I set up a Financial Advisory Committee.
“The committee recommended that, in view of where we are and because of our decision to instil a regime of fiscal discipline, transparency and accountability, and to reduce the level of corruption, we should introduce the TSA,’’ he said.
The governor also said that his administration would strengthen the Bureau for Public Procurement in the state
He said that as a result of the rot in the previous administration, there had been pressure from some quarters to take action against the past government.
The governor, however, said that his interest was not to talk about the past government but to be focused and bring sanity into governance.
He said: “We are not focusing on what the man (Rochas Okorocha) had done; we are focusing on what we are doing.
“And for once, give it to us that if a chief executive of a state says to his people, ‘look, I want to run a transparent and accountable government’, that is something significant which you have to work upon.
“If you are restoring public water, you are doing something because you did not meet water. Or am I going to say I met water when there was no water?
“The Government House had been disconnected from public power supply when I came. Am I then supposed to be clapping?
The governor also said that the state secretariat had been disconnected from public power supply for about eight years.
“Bridges are built in my state without iron rods; haven’t you heard about it; haven’t you read about it? You must have heard about it from people who visit Imo.
“We don’t run a government by propaganda; it is not about me and I don’t like talking about my predecessor in office. I am talking about government,
“I am talking about focus; I’m talking about the ideals of government that what we are doing first is to restore confidence in the entire system,’’ he added.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari also hosted members of the North-East Alliance for Buhari 2019 at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Monday.
Speaking at the event, the president said that the security challenges in the zone was created to divert attention.
He, however, reiterated his administration’s commitment to continue to work hard to stabilise the country.
“When the Northeast became too tough, they created a diversion in the North West but this country is big enough and resourceful to defend its territorial integrity and we will continue to do our best,’’ he said.
Earlier in his remarks, the leader of the group, Malam Kaka Bolori, lauded the president for improving the security situation in the North East.
He said: “We, the people of the North-East are best placed to say whether there is improvement in the security situation or not when compared with what obtained before your emergence as president in 2015.
“Whoever says that the Boko Haram has not been degraded or that the security situation has not improved does not mean well for this country.
“Your administration has succeeded in reclaiming our territory that had been captured before your emergence.”