By Ugonne Uzoma
Owerri) – Gov. Rochas Okorocha of Imo on Monaday charged the 27 local government council chairmen to shun corruption and refrain from abusing the trust vested in them by the electorate.
Okorocha gave the charge at the inauguration ceremony of the chairmen who were elected on Saturday, according to a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr Sam Onwuemeodo.
The ceremony was performed by Justice Theophilus Nzeukwu, representing the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Pascal Nnadi, at Government House, Owerri.
Okorocha also urged them to first consider the effect their actions would have on the masses and advised them to do all they could to improve the lives of the people.
“Today you have been chosen to steer the ships of the various Local Governments of Imo State; this victory is unique as it comes with a lot of responsibilities.
“To whom much is given, much is expected. You must ensure that the people do not regret voting you as their chairmen,” he said.
The governor noted that the councils had achieved various developmental feats and charged them to meet up with the high expectations of his administration.
He, however, warned against misappropriation of public funds, adding that the consequences would be dire.
“Within these seven years under the Transition Committee arrangement, we saw local government councils building 200-bed hospitals, building schools ICT Centres and chapels in every local government.
“During this period under review, no local government has built or constructed less than 50 kms of roads, all asphalted, in addition to the free education that our children now enjoy, all courtesy of local governments of Imo State.
“This is to tell you the standard local governments have performed under the `Rescue Mission Government’, you must never perform less.
“You are now the chief executives to manage the resources of your respective local governments. Prudence should be your watchword.
“Any corrupt chairman will be compelled to face the wrath of the law; Make sure you give account of any public fund you have used,” he said.
The governor also directed that the chairmen should all live in the council headquarters, warning that it would now be an impeachable offence for any chairman to live outside the council headquarters.
He added that his administration would partner with the chairmen, subject to the availability of funds, to build quarters for the councillors.
He also advised them to work in harmony with their vice chairmen and councillors, to avoid squabbles among them, and to carry the traditional rulers along.
Responding on behalf of his colleagues, Mr Mbagwu Augustine, the Chairman, Nkwerre Local Government, gave the assurance that they would work in line with the letters of the Oath of Office and allegiance they took.