The attention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) , Imo State Chapter has been drawn to the allegations attributed to Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State by some sections of the media that eight pensioners are masterminds of pension fraud in the state and that they have been receiving N330 million as pension annually. He listed the names of the purported pension fraudsters and the specific amounts each of them has been receiving to justify his spurious claims. Uzodinma also alleged that retired Judges have been receiving over a million Naira each month as pension,and that 1000 pensioners who retired as far back as 1976 still earn pension entitlements while a former SSG, Osuigwe who had died long ago is still being paid pension.
Although our great party is accustomed to Uzodinma’s barrage of propaganda, disinformation and mischievousness, we have nonetheless decided to respond to the above accusations understanding that they are mischief-prone targeted at maligning Rt..Hon Emeka Ihedioha-headed PDP RebuildImo Administration pension reform regime applauded by a wide spectrum of Imolites as the best pension scheme in the history of the state. Our reaction has therefore become imperative to set the records straight and to underpin the inherent frivolities in Uzodinma’s vague allegations.
Accordingly, we are inclined to make the following submissions:
(1) When Uzodinma’s statement is juxtaposed with the evidence-based, verifiable and unassailable rebuttal by Sir Chime Alilele, former executive chairman, Imo State Pensions Commission in the Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha-headed RebuildImo Administration, our great party and indeed Imolites are left without any iota of doubt that Senator Uzodinma’s claims are a cocktail of lies, dishonesties and misrepresentations
(2) It is therefore incontrovertible that this is yet another false alarm deliberately fabricated by Uzodinma administration to defame the immediate past Rebuild Administration of Ihedioha in order to score cheap political points
(3)The overt discrepancies in the numbers Uzodinma himself made available to the public, arising from his inability to compute accurately mere arithmetical figures further underscores the flawed nature of his allegations. The specific amounts claimed by Uzodinma that represent the yearly entitlements each of the accused pensioners receive do not add up to the N330m lump sum claim that the pensioners have been embezzling annually. For instance, accurate addition of the figures Uzodinma supplied that each of the eight pensioners receive amount to a total of N114.5m, conflicting clearly and embarrassingly with his claim of N330m fraud.
(4) Sir Aliliele’s reliable report that only four out of the eight persons Uzodinma listed were verified in the database of the Imo Pension Commission under Ihedioha-headed Rebuild Administration further underscores the fiction, falsehoods and logical contradictions in Uzodinma’s claims
(5) Contrary to Uzodinma’s allegation that the eight listed persons receive annual pension of N330m, Aliliele disclosed in his verifiable, irrefutable and incontrovertible report that only N5,086,219.20 is paid to them on annual basis, leaving a curious gap of over N324m.
(6)Governor Uzodinma deliberately misled the unsuspected Imolites and other members of the public by giving the erroneous and malicious impression that the Rebuild Imo Administration pension reform regime approved the following absurdities: Unlawful pension entitlements to retired Judges, resulting in some of them earning over a Million Naira in a month, payment of pension to late SSG, Osuigwe and to 1000 pensioners who retired in 1976 when Imo was founded. The truth as affirmed by Aliliele which can easily be cross-checked is that there wasn’t a single pensioner who retired in 1976 in the database of the Pension Commission during the Rebuild Imo Administration and late SSG, Osuigwe was never verified at that time as a pensioner. Besides, all the retired Judges monthly pension entitlements were below N1m.
(7) The refutation on the social media of Uzodinma’s claims by Canice Obasi, one of the pensioners alleged by the government to be involved in the pension fraud speaks volumes of Uzodinma’s fallacies on the matter. Canice debunked government’s claims that he has been receiving annual pension of N3,360, 366.64, clarifying that what he has been getting annually is N1,524,399.64. Similarly, Damian Njoku, another pensioner, linked by Uzodinma with the pension fraud received monthly pension of N5,022.76 during the RebuildImo administration as against the N5,042,439.58 annual payment he was falsely accused. Emenalo Theresa, who Uzodimma stated was getting N3,058,592.00 annually as pension, was not a verified pensioner in the State.
(8) It’s self-evident from these false claims that Senator Uzodimma deliberately and characteristically decided to deceive Imolites in order to delude them into believing that his insensitive and avaricious government means well for them.
(9) It is on record that for the seven months that the PDP RebuildImo administration was in office, the pension system was restored and made functional with Imo pensioners seamlessly and happily receiving five months pensions through the e-banking alerts services. Chief Aliliele captured it succinctly when he submitted that “everything about Pensions was straightened out by the Ihedioha administration, including initiating the process for Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), which was the main reason for setting up Imo State Pension Commission”.
(10) Therefore, in the interest of Imolites and our teeming senior citizens who have been passing through excruciating times since Uzodinma took over as Governor given the government sustained failure to pay their entitlements, our advice to Uzodinma is to build and draw on the revolutionary revamp pension scheme instituted by Ihediioha, in so doing, offsetting the backlog of pension arrears instead of this resort to blackmail and wicked propaganda
Ag. State Publicity Secretary,