High Chief Emma J.J.Okereke (Igodo)is among frontline politicians in Imo State and runs one of the most successful Construction firms in the country, Bazaar Construction Company that has built some eye popping Shopping Malls across the country, including in Imo State
The Owerri Municipal born Chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP is also a Philanthropist having bagged several awards and recognition.
In this interview, Okereke popularly called and known as Igodo, spoke on current developments in Imo State with the coming on board of Hon.Emeka Ihedioha as Governor of Imo State.
May We Know you briefly
I m High Chief Emma J.J. Okereke (Igodo).
I m from Umuonyeche community in Owerri municipal of Imo State. I run a successful construction firm and a foundation that has helped hundreds of people in need and I m also into politics having served in Achike Udenwa’s administration.
How would you assess the present govt in Imo State considering where we are coming from
It is too early to begin assessing the present government of Governor Ihedioha. He is not up to a month in office and the assessment should start after one year in office. We must give him ample time to roll out his laudable plans for the State before we begin to asses him.
I believe in his capacity to perform well. He has well laid out plans for Imo State when he was in the governorship race as you can see from his actions and activities since he was sworn as Governor on May 29. The Rebuild Imo Agenda which he conceptualized for the good of the State is commendable.
A lot went wrong in the last eight years and I believe Ihedioha has come to rebuild what has gotten so bad in our State.
I wish him well and may I use this opportunity to call for massive support for his programmes and policies which are realistic. He has shown doggedness and determination to succeed. From setting up of a Transition Technical Commitee to some appointments he has made so far, you can see he is on track. He needs our support to succeed and I believe he will not disappoint.
He is not learning on the job rather he knows what he is doing. He should be encouraged.
Why Are You Convinced He Will Perform Considering The Fact That Past Governors In The State Started Well and Most times Ended Badly
I m optimistic he will deliver because this is not the first time he is occupying a powerful position. He was in the Federal legislature where he became Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives. You and I could attest that he made Imo State proud when he held that position.
Now he is in the Executive arm of government as Governor of Imo State. He came with an Agenda which is Rebuilding Imo State and I believe it is a roadmap that will take the State on the path of prosperity and ensure happiness for our people. You can see how Imo workers are jubilating because he ordered that their full salaries be paid to them. Pensioners in the State who were owed for many months will soon smile. These are positive steps from someone who knows the art of governance.
So far, his government has shown he is truly connected to the people who gave him their mandate. I have no doubt in my mind that Gov.Ihedioha will succeed.What he needs now is our support and fervent prayers.
Are You Satisfied with some recent appointments he has made
Of course. I m impressed. I said recently week in the newspapers that I m impressed with the appointment of my brother, Hon.Uche Onyeagocha as Secretary to the State Government. I also commended him for appointing Barr. Chris Okewulonu as Chief of Staff. Okewulonu was in Udenwa’s government and he lived up to expectation. He is an astute administrator. Onyeagucha we all know him is a man who stands for justice. I believe they will perform creditably.
The appointment of Ndukwe Nnawuchi (SAN) as Attorney General of the State is also nice one by the Governor..Ndukwe is an icon in the legal profession. He deserves the appointment. He is my brother who intervened with his legal prowess when my firm had issues with the past government over a Shopping Mall my firm built along Tetlow road. He is a gentleman, a legal luminary who has proved his mettle in the legal profession. I wish him sucess as the new Commissioner of Justice. You can see the Governor is meticulous in what he is doing and this is one of the things that will keep him on the path of success.
The Opposition say Some Of His Actions Are Vindictive by setting up commitees to probe some of the actions of his predecessor
I do not agree with you. His actions are not vindictive or aimed at witch hunting anyone. He is on a rebuild mission and when you want to build a house, you have to clear the land before you start building.
When you want to rebuild a house that needs rehabilitation, you need to evaluate and re evaluate the building before you know what next to do. That is exactly what our Governor is doing.
A lot went wrong in the last eight years and it will take some time to get it right. All we need is patience and he needs our prayers to succeed.
I believe the government is trying to get things in proper shape.
You are a son of Owerri Municipal where you hold the title of Igodo, how do you see the Governor’s statement that he will revisit Eke Ukwu Owerri
It’s a good idea.Owerri people have strong affinity to that market. It is our ancestral market. And we cherish it so much. When it was demolished by the past government, we felt so bad about it. Some of us strongly kicked against it. No matter the reason given by the outgone government for removing the market, it was difficult pacifying our people. That market means a lot to Owerri people. I m happy Ihedioha has said he will revisit the matter. Aside our cultural ties to the market, that market is a big economic hub for the State. It was making huge revenue for both the State and local governments. It gave so many families source of livelihood, it gave temporal jobs to our Youths who were unable to find white collar jobs. A lot of people made a living from that market.
Besides, ancestral markets are not relocated. They are upgraded. If you go to Onitsha and Tejuosho in Lagos State, they have ancestral markets which were upgraded and till today, it has been of great benefit to the people and to the State.
Owerri Municipal Voted Massively For Ihedioha, What do your people expect in return from his govt
We voted for him because we believe in his capacity to perform. Some of us worked for him in the municipal but we never made so much noise about it. We were convinced he would perform and we know he will not disappoint us. We delivered him alongside our brother, Hon.Solomon Anukam who is in the House of Assembly.
We believe so much in his abilities to represent us.
As you can see, Ihedioha has appointed one of our illustrious sons, Ndukwe Nnawuchi( SAN) as Attorney General of the State, that shows he loves our people. He is ready to connect with Owerri people and we are ready to work with him. He said Eke Ukwu Owerri market will be revisited. These are signs of good things to come from him for our people. That is why I said he should be encouraged and supported.
I will however appeal to him to look seriously into the issue of flood in Owerri.
Do You See Gov Ihedioha Performing More Than His Predecessor, Okorocha
I do not think it’s important we begin to compare the two governments. There is no need for that. Okorocha just finished eight years in office and the present one is not even up to 100 days in office.
What I will say is that the beneficiaries of good governance are the people. I do not think there is need for any assessment. Governor Ihedioha appears more focused in his plans for the State and I believe he will perform and surpass the achievements of his predecessors.
He has vision and I remain very confident he will deliver. The Rebuild Imo Agenda is on course and I strongly believe it will succeed.
Thank you for your time