By: Columbus Akalonu
It was as if Abraham Lincoln knew the present dilemma in Imo State when said “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time”
One can dare say that Imo State has not been too lucky in having good governors considering the lack of physical, health and academic infrastructure to show.
On May 29, 2019, a new government popularly known as Rebuild Imo led by Emeka Ihedioha came onboard. After seven months the administration was truncated by what many pundits have described as brutal/ill judgement of the Supreme Court. Since then Imo has been piloted by another government known as ‘Prosperity Government’ led by Hope Uzodimma.
Considering the need for objectivity and non partisanship, this article will critically stipulate, analyse and showcase the achievements of both administrations for comparison by well meaning Imolites and Nigerians at large.
Transition Technical Committee
A Glance at Emeka Ihedioha’s Transition Technical Committee, led by Ernest Ebi, Former CBN Deputy Governor. The Committee submitted its report on the 27th of May, 2019.
Considering the unpreparedness or sudden emergence of Hope Uzodimma Administration, there was no room for Technical Committee.
INFRASTRUCTURE & UTILITIES
Ihedioha’s administration commenced work on 31 critical roads across the State.
Awarded parts of four federal roads leading into the State capital. They are: the Owerri-Orlu Road, Owerri-Okigwe Road, Owerri-Umuahia Road and the Owerri-Port Harcourt.
Restoration of Owerri (Otamiri Head Water Works) after eight years of dry taps.
The administration went further to restore power at the State secretariat and other public buildings after years of black out.
Rehabilitated the State Fire Service by refurbishing four fire service trucks as an immediate action to revitalize the agency abandoned for some years now.
It is also imperative to state that the Rebuild Imo government completed a road (Concord to PH road) the quality of the road is there for everyone to see.
It is evident that after one year of Hope Uzodimma Administration, the 31 roads that was under construction before her emergence saw abandonment for example Naze/Poly/Ihiagwa, Owerri/Aba road, Owerri/Umuahia road, Owerri/Okigwe road, Owerri/Orlu road etc.
Those under construction saw reduction in quality like Assumpta Cathedral to PH road, worldbank/Umugumma road.
After one full year in office, despite meeting these roads in process, the government of Hope Uzodimma has not been able to complete any major road.
THE STATE ECONOMY
The Rebuild Imo government re-energized the Imo State Investment Promotion Agency, ISIPA,
Set up an Ease of Doing Business Desk.
Ihedioha signed agreement with AfrExim Bank to invest $50 million (N18 Billion) in Imo State in its proposed Quality Assurance Facility.
Imo state under Ihedioha recorded an exponential jump in its internally generated revenue, moving from N250 million monthly as at May 2019 to N1.184 Billion by December 2019.
The Rebuild Imo government won the Business Day States Competitiveness and Good governance award of the fastest growing state economy.
After one year, the government of Hope Uzodimma couldn’t present a workable blue print on how to revive the economy of the state.
Recently, Imo State was denied share among states doing well in economy by FG. Many argued that the governor has spent more time in Abuja than in Imo State.
HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES
Ihedioha’s administration reinvigorated the Imo State Hospitals Management Board by infusing a corps of very competent and accomplished medical practitioners into it.
Activated the Imo State Health Insurance Scheme.
) The Prosperity government of Hope Uzodimma have done nothing apart from setting up Covid19 taskforce and building the ill equipped isolation centre.
The health insurance scheme is now like the kingdom of Eldorado.
Ihedioha’s administration established of the Imo State Sports Commission.
Commenced a comprehensive rehabilitation of our sports infrastructure. These include the rehabilitation of the Dan Anyiam and Grasshoppers International Stadia, here in Owerri.
Siting a new Indoor Sports Hall and renovating the old one.
Partnering with Local Governments to revive grassroots sports by constructing modern mini-stadia or upgrading existing ones, in all the 27 Local government Area.
An Olympic-size swimming pool as the Oguta Lake Resorts as part of comprehensive efforts towards restoring that magnificent but abandoned international resort.
The State under Ihedioha commenced bidding for the 2022 National Sports Festival.
Hope Uzodimma Administration should without fear or favour tell Imolites and Nigerians what they have achieved in the area of sports. This current administration led by Hope Uzodimma abandoned and abolished the law that established Imo State’s Sports Commission, abandoned the mini stadia in the various local government area etc.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION
The Rebuild Imo Government commenced the building of a prototype Local Government Secretariat extension complexes in all the local governments of which Ahiazu Mbaise was completed and commissioned within six months.
The administration went further to release N500Million counterpart fund to the World Bank as prerequisite for a N13.5 billion grant from the Bank, under its Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP).
Consequently, works have started on various networks of rural roads totaling 380.7 Kilometers, across 27 local government areas.
Across the 27 local government areas in Imo State, non of the Secretariat has received attention.
Who could dare ask what local government funds are been used for during Uzodimma’s one full year.
SECURITY OF LIVES AND PROPERTY
Iheioha’s administration launched Operation Iron Gate.
Distribution of Security Vehicles and gadgets to all security formations.
Recently received an award as the most peaceful state in the South East by the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Institute of Security and Strategic Studies.
Upon assuming office, the Hope Uzodimma Administration launched ”Operation Search and Flush”.
Considering the situation at Oguta, Ohaji/Egbema, kidnappings and killings etc one can conclude that Imo State is not at ease.
CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL AND SANITATION CHALLENGES
Ihedioha’s administration commenced the N9.9b World-Bank-Assisted Ezemazu gully erosion control project in Ideato North. Paid the counterpart fund of N500m within the 100 days of coming to office.
De-silting of Owerri Municipal blocked drainage system that was abandoned for over eight years.
Within one year of the prosperity government led by Hope Uzodimma have not attracted any project or paid counterpart fund on any particular project.
PENSION NIGHTMARE IN IMO STATE
Ihedioha’s government implemented pension sector reform in Imo state within a period of 3 months by:
Conducting a comprehensive ‘once and for all’ pensioners verification exercise led by Barr Pascal Madu.
Establishing an electronic database of all Imo state pensioners which removed all ghost pensioners and resulted in N300m savings.
Paying pensioners who had not been paid for 6 years and sustaining payments every month without fail.
Within one year of Hope Uzodimma Administration, pensioners have protested not less than ten times resulting to death, injuries etc.
Recently, a video was released where unknown thugs were flogging protesting pensioners.
Imo pensioners seem to have gone back to Egypt.
Rebuild Imo government sponsored the training 1000 Imo youths on agriculture, a training that took place at Nasarawa which lasted for one month. These youths were to receive #500,000 each to establish themselves before the government was truncated.
The administration went further to advertise for employment of teachers in primary and secondary schools which was also in progress.
The government of Hope Uzodimma is yet to tell Imolites and Nigerians her vision towards engaging our teaming graduates.
Uzodimma couldn’t address Imolites during his one year anniversary because he has no scorecard to present.
This is an unbiased study, analysis and publication of the administration of Emeka Ihedioha and Hope Uzodimma Administrations after seven months and one year respectively.
Issues raised above are verifiable facts and figures.
Therefore, for the interest of posterity, the government of Hope Uzodimma should sit-up and take responsibility.
Columbus Akalonu writes from Owerri Imo State