There is no end to the list of the infrastructural projects that could have been provided by the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Sky White Diamond 18-piece Limited watch that was recently sighted on the wrist of Imo State governor, Hope Uzodimma.
Uzodimma wore the watch during a Sallah homage by All Progressives Governors (APC) governors to President Muhammadu Buhari in Daura, Katsina State, on Monday. The said wristwatch, which is rare and not a common sight in this part of the globe, is estimated to cost $785, 496 upwards.
A peep into the list reveals that at current market rates, Governor Uzodimma’s wristwatch can serve to do a lot of things in Imo State for the benefit of the ordinary citizens, many of whom are battling poverty.
according to a research firm, ResearchGate, Imo State is struggling with the triple threat of high population density- about 900 people per square meter, poor waste management, and land degradation.
Checks by LEADERSHIP showed that the wristwatch is currently sold for $783,084. At the prevailing black-market rate of N612/$, the wristwatch amounts to (N479,247,408 million). When calculated at the official importers and exporters’ exchange rate window of N415.83, the wristwatch would cost N325.629,819 million. The parallel exchange rate (black market rate) always differs from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) rate.
In relation to its market value, the wristwatch has a value worth more than two of the $200 million world class hospital the Nigerian Sovereign Investments Authority (NSIA) is set to build in Abuja this year as part of its plans to strengthen Nigeria’s healthcare delivery system.
According to the managing director of NSIA, Mr Uche Orji, the state-of-the art hospital will be located in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Orji described it as a center for advanced medicine. 20 more of the centers would also be built across the country with the same money, according to reports.
The wristwatch can build the two pedestrian bridges built by Nasarawa State government with N400 million at the Mararaba Orange Market in Karu local government area of the state, even though the project was adjudged to be expensive at the time it was built in 2016.
Findings further revealed that Uzodimma’s wristwatch can effectively finance a road like the Kaleyeri-Damaturu road in Yobe State which the Ministry of Works and Housing has budgeted to build with N301.5 million under the 2022 amended national budget, and some monies left for other infrastructure.
It can also pay for the N250 million budgeted for the rehabilitation of Enugu-Port Harcourt Road section III: Enugu-Lokpanta C/No.6251 in the same budget. It is way above the N8.5 million budgeted for the installation of solar powered street lights at 342 Obinze Barracks in Uzodimma’s Imo State, and enough to fund the construction of more than five of Ndegu Ede bridge and drainage along Agbesha-Ndegu Ede road Okposhi Umuakpu community in nearby Ebonyi State, which is estimated to cost N85 million based on the figures on the approved 2022 federal budget.
At a discounted rate of about N300 million, the governor’s wristwatch can build more than a kilometer road to improve the state of roads in Imo State. Imo is one of the states that draw 13 per cent derivation as part of oil producing states in the federation, but the state has less to show for it.
Meanwhile, the Imo State government has dismissed claims of extravagance surrounding the wristwatch worn by Governor Uzodimma during his visit to Daura, Kastina State, on Tuesday.
The state Information commissioner, Chief Declan Emelumba, who spoke with LEADERSHIP, dismissed the claims about the wristwatch, Uzodimma has always adorned statement piece even before he assumed office as Governor.
Emelumba said, “Go and check the pictures of the governor before he assumed office. He has always worn statement piece; he didn’t just start. If you look at what he wore during his swearing in, these are items he acquired before now, and it is absolutely unfair to now twist the narrative as though it is a new acquisition.
“Governor Uzodimma has actually redefined governance with signature projects which is a reflection of his personality. Nobody should twist it. Moreover how did people arrive at the figure they are brandishing about? I’m yet to understand how that figure was generated,” Emelumba said.