Imo State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Success Prosper-Ohayagha, has waded into the Health Centre renovation project scandal uncovered by members of the community in Aboh-Mbaise Local Government Area of the state.
In a meeting convened in the commissioner’s office on Tuesday, Dr Prosper-Ohayagha told the community stakeholders that the manner in which the project was carried out was not satisfactory.
Recall that members of Lorji political Ward in Aboh Mbaise LGA, had protested and registered their disappointment over the manner in which the Interim Management Committee (IMC) Chairman for Aboh Mbaise, Barrister Emma Njoku, and the Councillor from Lorji, Mr. Okey Ejike, had mismanaged Governor Hope Uzodimma’s five million Naira allocated for the renovation of the Community Health Centre and called for a probe of those involved.
Dr. Prosper-Ohayagha frowned at the fact that those who executed the project, did not carry the community members along, which runs contrary to the directive of Governor Hope Uzodimma.
According to him, Governor Uzodimma was concerned about the manner of work done on renovating the Health Centre to ensure that the community enjoys quality healthcare.
He disclosed that he was on a fact-finding mission and will report back to the governor who will take appropriate decisions at the end of the day.
Others who were present at the meeting were select journalists, the Chairman of the Association of Local Government Chairmen (ALGON), Chief Willie Okolieogwo, the IMC Chairman for Aboh Mbaise LGA, Barrister Emma Njoku, and the Imo State Commissioner for Homeland Security and Vigilante Affairs, Dr. Ugorji Okechukwu Ugorji, who is the highest political appointee from the community.
The Councilor representing Lorji, Mr. Okey Ejike, failed to attend the meeting called by the Health Commissioner, just as he had previuosly failed to attend the meeting held by the two town unions of the two Autonomous Communities that make up the Lorji political Ward.
Responding to the inquiry by the Health Commissioner, Barrister Emma Njoku disclosed that the contractor who was contracted to change the roof, destroyed the ceilings and left the project in protest, over not receiving the whole fee that was agreed upon and started raising alarms that the money was being shared.
Upon further inquiry, Njoku revealed that the contractor, Mr Hilary Ohaja was hired by the Lorji Councilor, Okey Ejike to undertake the re-roofing.
Njoku also admitted that some of the old roofing sheets were repainted and reused, instead of buying new roofing sheets that were budgeted for.
In his remarks, Dr. Ugorji stated that he was only interested in having the project well-executed and removing the embarrassment the “abominable” work has become to the government of Imo State. He disclosed a qualified engineer he consulted (Valentine Oguala), who accompanied him to the health centre, in his professional opinion, noted that not more than two million Naira could have been spent in the renovation as of June 22, 2022.
Dr. Prosper-Ohayagha again assured the stakeholders that the matter will be thoroughly investigated and that a fact-finding visit will be made to the project site in company of his colleague Dr. Ugorji, the ALGON Chairman, and the IMC Chairman.
He had earlier expressed dissatisfaction that both the IMC Chairman and the Councillor did not keep Commissioner Ugorji informed about what was going on in the project.
He reminded them of Governor Uzodimma’s insistence that traditional rulers and President Generals (PGs) of the town unions be informed and involved in the contractual arrangements regarding the renovations.
The meeting was almost marred by Barrister Njoku’s assertion that all town unions across the state had been dissolved by Governor Uzodimma, which was why he (Njoku) appointed what he referred to as “government recognized PGs,” however, the ALGON Chairman, Chief Okolieogwo, corrected him that the governor never dissolved town unions and never appointed PGs, but that some IMC Chairmen “situated appointed PGs” on their own.