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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Imo State: Ihedioha And Early Gains Of Quality Leadership

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Truth Stands, even if there be no public support. It is self-sustained. ~ Mahatma Gandhi.

There is an old saying that truth is transparent. That is exactly the case with what is happening to governance in Imo State, under His Excellency, Rt Hon. Emeka Ihedioha. We had canvassed for the good people of Imo State to be patient with the new government in order to reap the dividends of the Rebuild Imo Agenda. Events unfolding presently have proved us right.

We had also emphasized on the fact that unlike the immediate past Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, Gov Ihedioha is very prepared for governance. And this fact has been confirmed with the sagacity with which he is steering the ship of State.

There is no gainsaying the fact that there was no government in Imo State in the last 8 years before May 29, 2019. The institutions of governance were debased to the barest minimum due to the shambolic style of governance adopted by ex-Gov Okorocha.

Okorocha ran the State like a private business, where Rule of Law and Due Process where deliberately neglected. Little wonder the State was moving backwards instead of forward. For no State can move forward in the absence of Rule of Law and Due Process.

Notably too, Okorocha may not have been prepared academically and otherwise for the position that was foisted on him by a stroke of luck. Also, prior to his governorship, Okorocha hadn’t any meaningful administrative experience in governance. His sudden exposure to the serious position of Governor based on the foregoing, may have contributed to his lacklustre outing, where Imo State was dragged from light to darkness.

It’s obvious that he may have been overwhelmed by the euphoria that comes with the office of Governor, which he couldn’t handle because it was too big for him. Carried away by over-excitement, Okorocha inaptly slaughtered the goodwill that brought him to power at the altar of self-centeredness and greed.

Howbeit, an Igbo adage says, “ihe agba na aka, anaghi eji enyo ele ya” (A plain fact can’t be disputed). There is no arguing the fact that Gov Ihedioha was well prepared for the office he occupies presently. Having served 12 years in the House of Representatives, as Chief Whip, Deputy Speaker and Speaker, his wealth of experience is indisputable. There is no issue of over-excitement as he had been exposed to higher offices ab initio.

Rather it is obvious that he has come to serve and not to be served. Unlike Okorocha who rescued himself and his family, Gov Ihedioha has indeed, come to rescue Imo State. We can witness that from the quality roads that are being constructed in the State at various locations. For the first time, quality road constructions are being supported with quality gutters, comparable only to the type constructed by Julius Berger. Meaning that the era of squandering billions on “China roads” that last a few months has gone.

Infact, within a short time, the new government has touched virtually every facets of the society and economy of the State. Pensioners and workers are being paid as at when due. Security has been enhanced in the State. Foreign Direct Investments are pouring in. Confidence and independence of both the Legislature and the Judiciary have been restored. Discipline has been restored to the education sector which has recieved a huge boost with the recent massive teacher’s recruitment. This is in addition to the new Education Master Plan where Technical and Vocational Education is to revived to create more jobs for the unemployed and to enhance productivity in the State.

In all these, it is crystal clear that the recent Award as the best overall performing State in ICT development and also third best State in E-Government implementation in Nigeria, by the National Council on Communications and Digital Economy (NCCDE 2019), are all testament to the fact that quality governance has been restored in Imo.

In addition, the also recent rating of Imo as the least corrupt State in Nigeria by the National Bureau for Statistics (NBS) further buttresses the fact that the years of “familiocracy” and “lootocracy” are now over. However, it is interesting to note that all these gains were achieved in less than 7 months on the saddle. So I now ask, if these enormous achievements were made in 7 months, what will happen in 4 or 8 years? It all means that Imo State is now on the right pedestal to massive development and prosperity.

That is why I feel sad for those who are ignorantly, howbeit, mischievously comparing this Government with the immediate past administration. For there is no way one can compare light with darkness or gold with gravel. For those who are trying to attribute the Award as the Least Corrupt State in Nigeria, to Sen. Okorocha’s tenure, I see as taking Imolites for granted. Records of the unprecedented fraud and corruption perpetrated under Okorocha’s watch, is in public domain for all to see.

If Okorocha’s tenure was not corrupt, why is it a subject of probe by Imo State Government? Why were properties worth Billions of Naira linked to him and members of his family sealed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)? What of the fictitious and infamous Zigreat Intl Ltd through which over N10bn of tax payers money may have been laundered? What of the unnecessary but substandard and inflated construction of the unused prison and police headquarters at the cost of over N11bn?

One won’t fail to mention the scandalous N700m apparently looted through the construction of the Islamic Akachi Tower? Or the immoral appointments of Okorocha’s wife, sisters and in-law as heads of committees, Ministries, Chief of Staff, Special Aides etc all at the same time? What of the N26.8bn Bailout funds which was reportedly used in funding Okorocha and Uche Nwosu’s election? This is to mention but just a few.

However, God in His infinite mercy has wiped away the tears of the good people of Imo by sending a messiah in the person of Gov Ihedioha to deliver the State. Another Igbo adage says, “Nwanyi luo di abuo, o mara nke ka ibe ya mma” (A lady who married twice will eventually know which of the husbands is better).

Now that Imolites have tasted the government of darkness and light, there is no doubt that they people would continue to support the light. Looking at the early gains of quality leadership in the State so far, it is clear to every right thinking citizen of Imo that the future is very bright for the State.

By Ekene Bob-Ekechukwu Esq.; [email protected]

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