Ahead of the November 11 gubernatorial election in Imo state, political parties have commenced their campaigns to win the support of the electorate for their respective candidates. A recent example of such efforts to woo voters is an interview granted by George Agbakaki, the Southeast leader of the Tinubu Support Organisation (TSO).
In the interview, Agbakaki made several claims regarding the state of affairs in Imo state while canvassing the re-election of the incumbent governor, Hope Uzodinma, who is running under the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Claim I: Imo state’s IGR grew from N900 million to about N3 billion monthly.
Agbakaki said, “The Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of Imo state, since governor Hope Uzodinma came in, has gone up from N900 million to about N3 billion monthly.”
Hope Uzodinma was sworn in as the substantive governor of Imo state in January 2020 after the Supreme Court sacked Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and declared the APC candidate the rightful winner of the March 2019 gubernatorial election conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In June 2020, Uzodinma disclosed that the state was generating an IGR of N1.2 billion monthly as he promised to take it to N5 billion monthly in the following years. He claimed to have met an internal monthly revenue of N600 million when he assumed office as governor.
An analysis published by Dataphyte in June 2023, indicates that Imo state fell short of the twenty-five percent revenue projection for the first quarter of 2023. The state generated N3.16 billion in Q1 2023, representing 3.78% of the projected IGR for the fiscal year.
Also, an appraisal report published in July 2023, which reviewed the performance of Uzodinma as governor of Imo state, indicates that the highest monthly revenue the state has generated so far under his administration was N1.73 billion in 2021.
Imo state generated an IGR of N15.57 billion in Q3 2022. Between 2020 and Q3 2022, the IGR of the state increased by 100%, according to the report. However, the larger parts of the state’s total revenue still come from the Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC).
Claim II: Imo state’s GDP ranks fourth in Nigeria
Agbakaki said, “Look at the total GDP of all the 36 states of the federation, Imo state is ranking fourth, Lagos state is number one, Rivers state is number two, Akwa Ibom state is number three. Imo state, fortunately for us, is number 4, with about 7.68 trillion”
We found that the GDP of Imo state was ranked fourth in the 2022 State of States report published by BudgIT last year, with a size of N7.68 trillion. This was also stated in a report published by Dataphyte in July 2023. We found no publicly available data showing the current GDP size of states in Nigeria.
Claim III: Over 1,840 inmates escaped from the Owerri correctional facility in 2021
While responding to questions bordering on the issue of insecurity in Imo state, Agbakaki said, “Let us check the genesis of the insecurity you are talking about. You remember when the Owerri correctional facility was bombed in 2021, I believe sometime in February or April, which led to the movement of over 1,840 inmates, hardcore criminals, out of the prisons? This is how all these things started.”
We found multiple media reports stating that 1,844 inmates escaped from the correctional facility in Owerri, the capital of Imo, following an attack on the facility on April 5, 2021. This was reported by Premium Times, The Cable, and Channels Television, as can be seen here, here, and here.