Re: Emeka Ihedioha: Imo state’s last opportunity for growth, development

By Declan Emelumba

Public Forum


Anyone who read the gibberish entitled, “Emeka Ihedioha: Imo’s last hope opportunity for growth, development,” written by one Kelechi Jeff Eme and published recently in the media, would be stunned. From the headline alone, the assumption is that without Emeka Ihedioha, Imo would never make progress.

Of course, that is a fallacy. Within the body of the essay, it emerged that in their warped logic, the seven months of illegally occupying Douglas House by Ihedioha was the golden era of governance. Again, that is false. The submission that no governor achieved anything in Owerri before Sam Mbakwe emerged as governor was also false. Some of the enduring roads in the capital city today were built by Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu. We should learn not to engage in fiction writing in the name of political campaigns.

Therefore, it couldn’t have been factually correct even to allude that nothing ever happened in those administrations preceding Mbakwe or after him until the arrival of our “Spiderman and superhero, Emeka Ihedioha.” Life and development went on before Mbakwe. Life and development continued after him, just like life and development have been blissfully going on before and after Ihedioha.

Now, to the distortion of facts. Firstly, no one expected Ihedioha and his band of cheerleaders to give credit to Governor Hope Uzodimma for his monumental transformation of the state in all sectors; after all, the man punctured his daydreaming of being a governor. Till tomorrow, I blame our system that allowed all those who violated the constitution by declaring Ihedioha governor when he didn’t win the election to walk the streets, still free men. I don’t think it was enough for the Supreme Court to pronounce Uzodimma as the rightful winner without jailing those who engaged illegally held a mandate in the first place. Both the perpetrators and the beneficiaries of the robbery ought to be in jail. If that had happened, none would have had the guts to pollute the environment with their putrefaction of legacies.

The constitution and the electoral act were clear that apart from scoring the highest number of votes in an election, a person cannot be declared a governor except he secures one-quarter of votes in two-thirds of the local government areas in the state. In the election, Emeka Ihedioha met the constitutional requirement of spread in only 12 local government areas and not 18 required by the constitution. Yet a professor of mathematics declared him a winner, and INEC accepted it. If Hope Uzodimma had not fought to reclaim his mandate, Ihedioha would have set a precedent with that conduct. The truth is that even in 2015, when Emeka Ihedioha came second after Gov Rochas Okorocha, it was only in his Mbaise enclave that he got the sprinkle of votes in that election.

Strangely, these same Mbaise people benefitted not from him when he occupied Imo State government house. Did Ihedioha do.much in the seven months? Of course not. When he was not blaming Rochas for the state of the streets, he was using the rains as an alibi to cover his cluelessness. Yet his supporter writer dared to suddenly go blind in the face of the road revolution wrought by Hope Uzodimma by grudgingly acknowledging only three roads as the government’s achievement.

It is essential to remind Ihedioha and his cohorts that within his first 100 days in office, Uzodimma completed nine (9) solid roads, namely:

1. Oparanozie Street to Edede Street 2. Chhukwuma Nwaoha Relief Market Road,

3. Assumpta World Bank Road,

4. Assumpta Roundabout to Concorde Junction,

5. Dick Tiger – Egbu Junction Road and

6. Dick Tiger Aladinma Lake Nwaebere Road

7. Umuaka internal Road in Njaba L.G.A.

8. Amaigbo – Njaba Road

9. Mgbidi – Omuma Road

As we speak, Uzodimma has 100 solid roads and bridges constructed and commissioned within his first tenure.These projects are verifiable.

So when a handful of the remaining Ihedioha cronies tepidly talk about his legacies in those illegal months, what comes to mind is the way he functioned. Within seven months, he travelled seven (7) times outside the country.

Talking of civil servants, did Emeka Ihedioha feel concerned about their welfare? If he did, how come he hired consultants to do their work of preparing a payroll? How come many pensioners were still owed by the time Uzodimma took over as governor? What about the civil servants’ offices that snakes and rodents had taken over? Did he work on them?

He could not have because even the Government House was left desolate. Ihedioha conducted government business in a guest house at Odenigbo.

Ihedioha said he paid attention to youth development by building stadiums in the 27 local government areas. He is angry that Uzodimma didn’t continue from where he stopped. Fair enough that he even acknowledged that government is a continuum. But one can not build anything on nothing. The 27 stadia were on paper. Is it not laughable that Ihedioha’s vision for youth empowerment is to build a stadium in every LGA

Uzodimma has empowered over 40,000 youths by equipping them with digital skills and many others in different other skills. That is what youth empowerment in the 21st century is all about. Assuming he didn’t understand what youth empowerment means, he should be humble enough to acknowledge what Uzodimma has done in that regard. He should also visit every part of Imo State to interview people on what they think of the prosperity agenda of the present administration, which has changed their perception of governance from predatory Ihedioha’s tenure to that of participatory in Uzodimma’s era.

Again, the vast agricultural project he claimed remains only in his imagination. There is no evidence that his administration ever conceived such vision. Therefore, it is not enough to criticise a performing governor like Senator Hope Uzodimma. You have to develop functional and acceptable alternatives to what he has done. Realistically, you must know that he has a mileage, an unbeaten record that even blind people can feel and believe. Political opposition is not mere rhetoric of seeking to govern a state based on falsehood and fantasy.

The writer claimed Ihedioha has integrity. I don’t know whether the people of Ngor Okpala Local Government Area would agree to that assertion. For those not familiar with what happened, check out the facts. The two local government areas comprising the Aboh Mbaise/Ngor Okpala federal constituency agreed on the seat rotation. Ngor Okpala took the first shot with Greg Egu. After his tenure, Egu declined to re-contest in honour of that agreement. Then Aboh Mbaise took its turn under Ihedioha. After the first tenure, he reneged on the deal.

Then, when he started running for governorship, the same scenario repeated itself. He monopolised PDP primaries in 2015 and 2019. It was only last year, when they succeeded in pushing him aside, that he started crying. Most PDP members in Imo State have described his exit from the party as a good riddance to bad rubbish.

Meanwhile, while he has the constitutional right to run for office as many times as he wishes, his supporter writers should refrain from blackmail and character assassination. He should stop presenting himself as a god or messiah who, without him, Imo State, can not be saved. Long after he would have disappeared from the political firmament, Imo would continue to flourish. The charismatic and purposeful leadership of Governor Hope Uzodimma has already assured that.

• Emelumba is the commissioner for information, public orientation, and strategy, Imo State.

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