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Dissecting Gov Uzodinma’s silent revolution in Imo     

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Dissecting Gov Uzodinma's silent revolution in Imo     

Governor Hope Uzodimma

When on Thursday, January 27, 2022, the Imo state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, invited some senior journalists to Owerri, Imo State capital to see the work done by the Governor Hope Uzodimma led government of shared prosperity within the two years of being in the saddle, the gentlemen of the fourth estate of the realm were undoubtedly, sceptical of what to find on ground.     This scenario was not unexpected given that the administration of Hope Odidi Uzodimma since it came on board, has been facing stiff challenges from opposition camps as it vowed to liberate the state from the throes of previous political leaders and administrations who he described as conquering and personalizing the state.

The bitter political battle that ensued after Uzodimma took over the state as governor after the Supreme Court judgement has led to issues of insecurity and lots of distraction so much so that even the most optimist in his camp, talkless of those outside, gave him any opportunity of good governance that will impact on the well- being of Imo citizens and residents.  But alas, the editors were overwhelmed and confounded with the mind boggling but silent revolution of infrastructural development going on in the eastern heartland.

What is more, the Gov Uzodinma led administration is uncommonly touching the lives of Imolites without making noise about it. He chose to do the intangibles where statues, empty buildings, ecstatic roundabouts and other physical structures that have no direct bearing on the people have no place.   In his thinking and roughly so, Imo deserves infrastructural development that will improve the quality of life, ease mobility, provide access to public utility like water and construction of drainages so that erosion can be minimized.   For instance, the visiting editors were shocked to learn that the previous administration of Senator Rochas Okorocha paid no attention to the water needs of Imo residents to the extent as Emelumba revealed, that the water reservoir in the state was gifted to the wife of the then governor for fish pond.

The silent revolution embarked by Uzodinma cut across all strata of life in Imo. From road construction to drainages, healthcare services, education and economic wellbeing of the citizenry. According to the Commissioner, the three senatorial districts in Imo state are beneficiaries of this scheme.

 On road construction, the administration is doing a road project st MCC/Uratta road which the government believes will open up more opportunities and make life more meaningful to the generality of the people. There is also the lake Nwaebere and Otamiri river where huge drainage work is ongoing so that water channelization can seamlessly go on. The effort is headed towards saving the economy and ecology. The water sewage in Owerri which has been abandoned for about fifteen years is being rehabilitated. There is Awo-Omamma/Okwudor road that is receiving the Hope treatment.

 Same as Orlu-Owerri 34 kilometres federal road that is under reconstruction by the state government. Still on road construction, the administration has also contributed a four kilometer stadium road at Okigwe.   It is also rehabilitating the Okigwe-Owerri federal road just as it has finished work at the very strategic Naze junction. Emelumba explained that the administration constructed the dualization from Emmanuel College end to the Naze junction.          health, the administration completed Imo constructed a multi purpose campus project, Imo state polytechnics as well as School of Midwifery, Awo-Omamna which lost accreditation under the former governor

  The Uzodinma administration has also embarked on the reconstruction of Eke Ukwu Owerri, the Owerri ancestral market that was demolished by the Okorocha administration without any attempt at rebuilding it. It will be recalled that a poor innocent boy, Somtochukwu was gunned down by the security men who came to enforce that demolition.  The demolition of the Owerri ancestral market has become a very emotional and dramatic experience to the Owerri indigenes who bemoaned their faith until Hope arrived the scene. He is construction a modern market with all the trappings of its type. The governor also promised to allocate the shops on completion to the original owners at a reduced price. Besides settling the original shop owners, he also promised to curb the vehicular gridlock on that road by providing alternatives  to street trades.

Dissecting Gov Uzodinma's silent revolution in Imo     

The Commissioner summarized the administration’s effort thus; “A lot of people find it difficult to believe that within two years, we have commissioned 32 roads and as we speak, 60 more roads are under construction. A lot of people will also not believe that within two years, we have been able to address major infrastructural challenges in Imo State like the Relief Market road and the Lake Nwaebere road. Houses there were not only swallowed by flood but overgrown by grasses until the governor came and used the balloon-driven technology to tackle flooding on that road.

”So, in terms of road infrastructure, which we call road revolution, we have surprised everybody and the opposition is dumbfounded. They are now throwing sand because there is nothing they can say. Apart from the road revolution, we have revived the civil service that was lost under the previous administration.

“That administration told civil servants to come to work three times a week and any day outside those three days they see you around the state secretariat, you would be driven away like an intruder or even a thief. But we have been able to reposition the civil service, so that it can be professionally run.

”The permanent secretaries are back as accounting officers of their respective ministries and that is a big plus for this administration. In terms of youth empowerment, we have empowered over 18,000 youths. Last year, 15,000 youths were empowered at a go, who were trained and each of them given N250,000 as starter packs.

”In terms of industry, we have recovered the Ada Palm Plantation in Ohaji. The shoe factory that was built by the Sam Mbakwe administration was owing N1.3 billion to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) but the Uzodinma administration has redeemed that debt and it will soon commence operations. The Otamiri Water Works has also been revived and for the first time in 15 years, supply of pipe borne water has been restored to Owerri metropolis and would be soon extended to other parts of the state.

”So, generally speaking, we have changed the narrative and Imo State is looking up as the people can see clearly that this government has come to work by doing projects that will endure and not make-shift things. The greatest signature projects we have for now are the Owerri-Orlu road that is about 34 kilometres and the Owerri-Okigwe road that is about 54 kilometres. These two projects alone cost the government about N60 billion and I will tell you that when they are completed, the economy of the state will turn around for bet

On source of finding: ”Rather than take loans, I can tell you that we have improved on the internal revenue generating capacity of the state,  the loan profile of the state has been dropping since this administration came on board. In 2017, during the Rochas Okorocha administration, the debt profile of Imo State was N67 billion; in 2019, during Emeka Ihedioha’s government, it rose to N164 billion but in 2021, the last figure, under the present government, it has come down to N151 billion. This you can verify these figures from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). We have not taken any loan rather we have been servicing loans taken by previous administrations.

We are also getting other sources of funds from the World Bank. There is what the bank calls Self Transparency and Accountability Programme, which as a government, if you operate a transparent and accountable budget and you publish quarterly performance reports, you receive grants from the bank. During Ihedioha’s government, we did not qualify, but in 2020, when we came on board, we got about $3 million and in 2021, we got $7 million. All these are meant to encourage governments that run transparent budgets.

On security, Emelumba has this to say; ‘the security situation in the state has really improved and that is because of the determined efforts of the governor and the support of the presidency. Like we have always said, the security challenge in the state is politically contrived and those behind it have been exposed but through the support of the presidency, they are being routed as evil cannot thrive forever. There is always an expiry date to evil and that date is here, which explains why the security challenge is now under control. Let me also use this opportunity to say this: If there is anybody who needs evidence that the security situation is politically motivated, the person should ask himself why is it that it is in the governor’s immediate enclave – Oru East, Oru West and Orsu local government areas – that usually witness attacks by criminal elements. It is because they want to score a point that it is the governor’s people that are behind insecurity in the state.

Given the myriad of people oriented projects embarked upon by the shared property government of Hope Uzodinma, albeit, quietly, within two years in the saddle, it is not difficult agreeing with Emelumba that Uzodinma has indeed, changed the narrative.

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Dissecting Gov Uzodinma's silent revolution in Imo     

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