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Nd’Imo ndi nwem, I greet you all. It gives me great pleasure to address you today. A few days ago, precisely on Wednesday January 15, it pleased God Almighty for me to be sworn in as the duly elected governor of our dear state, following the historic judgment of the Supreme Court the previous day.
I recall that on that event a large, enthusiastic crowd of our people thronged the airport and the swearing-in venue, Hero’s Square, to welcome me and to witness the ceremony. That was a clear indication that Ndi Imo joyfully welcomed my final emergence as the governor of the state. I recall too that an unprecedented large crowd of our people enthusiastically received me on November 15, 2018 when I clinched the ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as the governorship candidate of the party. I was the front runner in the state all through electioneering. I deeply appreciate these uncommon show of support and love and I thank you profoundly.
I deem it necessary at this point to address you, my dear good people of Imo state to assure you of my commitment, totally and unreservedly, to your wellbeing and security and to acquaint you with my vision for a new Imo State where equality and the rule of law shall reign supreme.
About a year ago, precisely on January 11, 2019, I unveiled a manifesto of my developmental ambitions for our dear Imo State to a gathering of eminent persons. Addressing that audience, I told them that the occasion marked the beginning of a new partnership between key stakeholders and a governorship candidate. Indeed, it was the first occasion of its kind in which the governorship candidate of a political party involved real stakeholders of Imo State in sharing a common vision of where we stand in the geo-political map of our nation and where we ought to be.
Well, so much proverbial water has passed under the axiomatic bridge since that occasion and following the trials and hectic tribulations of the campaign trail, I stand before you today as governor of our great state, solely by the uncommon grace of God to whom I give all the glory for the momentous Supreme Court judgment of January 14, 2020.
That said, I urge every true man, woman and youth of Imo State to put the past behind us, without throwing away the lessons learnt, as we forge ahead in the great task of building a New Imo State defined by the common will of the people, in which equity, justice, freedom, and rule of law prevail over impunity and executive recklessness. This is the essence of good governance and it is my firm belief that democracy without good governance is nothing but a mirage.
I believe that every man, woman, youth and child of Imo State is a stakeholder in my vision of a New Imo State. I therefore invite all of you to join me as partners in this new vision of a New Imo State for all Imo people, where everyone is recognized and respected as an Imo person, not on the basis of creed, gender or origin but because of his or her inalienable right as an Imo son or daughter. I strongly believe that our concept of governance which derives power from the people shall leverage your collective support as partners to deliver the great dividends of democracy and good governance to our people.
My good people of Imo State, my vision of a New Imo State is predicated on freedom, security, and shared prosperity welded into good governance. The evidence on ground indicates that Imo State requires fundamental reform to forge a new trajectory.
We have witnessed, over ten years now, a slow, steady but devastating loss of the core values that had defined our dear, adorable Imo State. In place of those cherished ideals, an insipid culture of lawlessness and neo-feudalism had crept into the body fabric of our state. The time is now to take action and free our state and her people from the strangle hold of the false religion of executive lawlessness, exclusive governance and total disregard to due process. I challenge every Imo man, woman, youth and child to hold us by the same standards and the same scales by which we judge past administrations.
The New Imo State offers a new paradigm to redress the ripples of those years of maladministration, inexperience and outright inefficiency in public administration. The New Imo State will prove to our good people that government is not instituted to deride the people, but instead to protect ‘citizens’ fundamental rights. Our New Imo State will restore financial discipline, entrench due process and conduct government business in the most transparent fashion. The New Imo State incorporates a new development trajectory that will harness the critical role of Local Government Councils in downstream value chain creation.
In line with the provisions of the Constitution, we shall urgently restore the autonomy and integrity of Local Government Administration. Thank God therefore, for the objective effort of the administration of President Mohammadu Buhari in uncoupling the local government finances from the meddlesome interests of state officials. The dynamic LG System of our New Imo State will guarantee the steady trickle down of democracy dividends to the atomized hamlets and clans of our rural communities. To actualize this, credible Local government elections will be held soon.
Our New Imo State will enshrine a new culture of shared prosperity in which the common wealth of the people is made available for the good of all. Above all, it is a new Imo State that will ensure good governance, prosperity, rule of law and equity. The Mission cuts across party line, religious leaning and intra ethnic divides. From now on it will no longer be governance as usual, but governance of the people, by the people and for the people, without discrimination against anyone.
In practical terms therefore, the trajectory of development in the New Imo State of our vision is anchored on a “3-R” super structure of Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Recovery of key economic and political institutions that all of us will be proud of. In this wise, the New Imo State envisions the overhaul of State Civil Service and relevant institutions of the Bureaucracy for optimal efficiency and Service delivery- involving prompt payment of salaries, pensions and other statutory obligations to spur officers to greater productivity.
Accordingly, the following standards shall be maintained:
- Strict adherence to extant laws, procedures, and Statutes pertaining to an efficient service delivery.
Civil Servants to be trained in line with new Digital Technology ecosystem platform in liaison with some Technology Incubation Centres. Hierarchy and Seniority in the Public Service shall be restored forthwith to ensure discipline and adherence to Civil Service Rules.
Emoluments of core Civil Servants shall continue to be drawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund, (CRF) and paid promptly but not later than every month end. Pensions and Gratuities shall likewise continue to be treated as First Line Charge to the CRF in accordance with the provisions of the law. Specifically, the salaries of Civil Servants and allowances of pensioners will henceforth be paid fully. Similarly, the State Government will commence payment of minimum wage once negotiation with Labour leaders is completed.
Recruitment, Promotion and Discipline in the Civil Service shall be patterned to reflect the NEW IMO Paradigm. Annual Performance Evaluation Report (APER) shall now include an objective assessment of discrete output and supported with concrete evidence of MCIP (Mandatory Career Improvement Programme).
The Treasury System shall be restored and the 27 Sub-Treasuries in the 3- Geo-political Zones restored to ensure a seamless downstream government service delivery in the Rural Communities.
We shall promote a Digital Technology-driven Civil Service to ensure real-time service delivery. A staff Housing Loan scheme and Vehicle Advances shall be put in place in partnership with the Mortgage and Commercial Banks, guaranteed by Government, through the facilities of a revamped State Development Finance Incorporated, (DFIC.).
We shall encourage hard work, resilience, honesty, and diligence in the New Imo Public Service.
My esteemed Ndi Imo, our New Imo State will incorporate an IMO STATE EDUCATION OPPORTUNITY PROGRAMME (ISEOP) involving but not limited to
a highly functional qualitative technology and science-driven education system focused on skills acquisition, innovation, manpower development, and entrepreneurship.
- The New Imo State will crave for: an Educational System that has capacity to produce a new generation of Graduates equipped for immediate post school employment and self-reliance.
- An Educational Programme to enhance innovation, and creative Human Capital with capacity to add value to State and nation building.
- Build Foundation for innovative Human Capital that shall drive downstream value chain creation.
- Mandatory Professional Teachers Continuous Education Programme in line with the transformative impact of Digital Technology on Education
- Provide Measured Financial Support to students with exceptional pedigree in academics, innovation and entrepreneurship.
Other lateral non-financial support include, mentoring, career guidance and counseling, etc.
- Establishment of a Job Placement Office – to enhance job search and placement, Internship (IT) and other career related programmes for graduates.
- Establishment of Diaspora Learning Centres for Student Exchange and Technology Incubation Centres in the USA, UK, China and Canada, etc.
- Development of a new Curriculum for schools that would integrate skills learning, innovation and entrepreneurship required to fit into the new Digital ecosystem.
- Establishment of New Digital learning Environment with cognate Digital Teaching Tools and Programmes in Six Pilot Centres within the Three Senatorial zones of the State.
- Restoration of Inspectorate Division in all the Zonal School Management Boards to enhance academic quality and content delivery, etc.
Similarly, our government will undertake the following in the health care delivery sector
- Comprehensive Medicare with focus on Primary Health Care, and Preventive Medical Care services. Within the first two years of this administration, we would have attained a 75% Health For All (HEFA), covering the 27 LGCs.
- We shall recruit 850 Community Health Workers to strengthen existing Primary Health Care System workforce in the state in the first year.
- In Collaboration with Local Government Councils, we shall rehabilitate, renovate and equip all dilapidated Community Health Centres in the 305 Wards of the State, within the first one year in Office.
- Run an integrated and holistic healthcare delivery system with modern diagnostic equipment, CT scan, and Mobile X-ray, in selected Zonal General Hospitals and Health Centres, etc.
- Provide a well-equipped Rapid Response Ambulance Services (RAMS) in the Zonal Divisional Hospitals, and Central Rural Health Centres to enhance an efficient 24/7 Health Support in all the Local Government Areas.
- Establish a value-based healthcare as opposed to the present “fee for performance Healthcare model.” Emphasis in our NEW IMO Health architecture shall be: optimal patient outcome, patient safety, and efficient professional and dynamic work force, etc.
- Establishment of Drug Revolving Trading Accounts (DRTA) in the Hospitals, and Health Centres for “Essential” and “Non-Essential Drugs.” to ensure adequate stock of life-saving drugs. Each Hospital or Health Centre shall operate a guided Self-Accounting Status to ensure that the Drug Revolving Regime is effectively managed, and accounts rendered.
- Restoration of Sanitary Health Inspection to support a holistic Primary Health/Preventive Medicare programme of government.
- A NEW IMO Health architecture would include urgent Rehabilitation of the moribund Schools of Nursing, Mid-Wifery in Owerri, Aboh Mbaise, and Awo-Omamma. Awo-Omamma and Aboh Mbaise shall, in liaison with the Nursing and Mid-Wifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN), be converted into collegiate systems for Basic Mid-Wifery .These very important health training institutions shall be rehabilitated and equipped within the first one year of our administration to ensure early and seamless accreditation. We shall review our standing with Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in relation to equipment and materials supplied to these institutions and government counterpart funding, etc.
- Establish criteria for research and integration of alternative medicine or Traditional Medical practice (Trado-medicine) into NEW IMO medical practices.
- The IMSU College of Medicine, and the Teaching Hospital at Orlu, the Public Health Laboratory, and the Specialist Hospitals in Owerri, shall be equipped for Laser Surgeries, as well as serve as Regional Medical Informatics Centres, for the Southeast Region. The abandoned MRI and other sensitive scanning Machines mysteriously transferred from IMSUTH Orlu to “OCHIEDIKE,” shall be rehabilitated and restored for services in accordance with existing MoU with GE, and Howard International Medical Center, USA.
On the economy, our focus in the New Imo State shall be job creation and massive economic growth. To this end we shall ensure:
- Mainstream Macro-Economic Programme which will involve a “3-R” Algorithm, recovery of damaged economic structures, reconstruction of core infrastructure, and rehabilitation of component micro-economic institutions – Micro-Small-Medium-Enterprises via Public Private Partnership (PPP).
- Rapid economic Diversifications through “Backward Integration,” involving a synergy of Rural-Urban development paradigm. A shift from core public sector driven economy to a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) driven one.
- Encourage private sector-driven knowledge based enterprise system. Provide enabling environment and selective policy intervention to bolster sustainable Medium Small Micro Enterprises (MSMEs).
- Encourage Diaspora Rural Economic Partnership – Local Government Rural Malls, and Small-Scale Industries – agriculture, and Farm Settlements via Farmers’ Multi-Purpose Cooperative Societies, etc.
- Stimulate downstream Value Chain through intervention and support to MSMEs, and thus generate employment opportunities at Local Government levels.
- Ensure that De Sam Mbakwe’s International Cargo Airport receives URGENT Federal Government support, and provisions to qualify for IATA approval – for Air Safety and increased Traffic flow.
- Establishment of Graduate Entrepreneurship Scheme to equip graduates with requisite set of skills for self-employment in the evolving Fourth Industrial Revolution. About 750 graduates shall benefit from the initial phase of the GES Programme. Government shall provide necessary guarantees for Start-ups through the facilities of State Development Finance and Investment Corporation (DFIC).
- Establishment of State Economic Development And Rehabilitation Council (SEDARC) -to provide remedial framework and templates to redress the chronic fiscal and infrastructural deficits militating against State economic development. SEDARC shall address key economic challenges of the State- Abandoned Roads in Owerri, Orlu and Okigwe Metropolis, the Collapsing bridges, the abandoned Otamiri Water scheme, etc. shall receive the immediate attention of SEDARC.
- In addition, SEDARC shall fully identify, locate and recover all missing Public Assets, as well as coordinate a forensic investigation into the State Finances and determine the veracity of the huge public Debts estimated at over N200 billion, as well establish the Net-worth/Balance Sheet of the State Government as at January 13, 2020.
- SEDARC shall also recover all illegally acquired Private Lands, estates by Government or its agents and return them to their rightful owners.
- SEDARC shall abolish all forms of unconscionable “Imperial,” Taxes, levies, and fees other than that established by law which its applications shall not impoverish the citizens. The State BIR shall in liaison with SEDARC develop a new IMO INTERNAL REVENUE MENU that maximizes IGR Per Capita Contribution to the State GDP.
- Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI) shall be re-activated and in liaison with the State DEVELOPMENT FINANCE AND INVESTMENT CORPORATION (DFIC) engage in active trading in Nigeria’s Capital and Money Markets and by so doing build-up formidable portfolio of Financial Assets to support Government’s Treasury Services, etc.
Ndi Imo eji eme onu, good governance- democracy and rule of law are the fundamental components of the New Imo State. Consequently,
- We shall recover and deepen lost virtues of liberal democracy in Imo State. Our government shall tenaciously uphold the pillars of good governance- security of life and property, right to own private properties, inclusiveness, pursuit of legitimate economic endeavours, rule of law, accountability and transparency, respect for human rights, honesty and trust.
- Our Government shall be accountable to the people of Imo State and shall adhere to the Anti-Corruption Mantra of our great Party, APC.
- We shall dismantle all existing structures in the State Civil Service that encouraged the massive looting of public funds. It takes a willing Civil Servant and an overbearing politician to engage in covert expropriation of commonwealth. Civil Servants who are part of the existing mode of plundering the Treasury shall be handed over to the appropriate Anti-Graft Agencies.
- In addition to the conduct of a credible local government elections soon, we shall reconstitute the State-Local Government Joint Accounts Allocation Committee (JACC,) (a prototype of the FAAC) to manage and superintend over Local Government’s Funds. Accordingly, all deductions from Local Government funds are hereby stopped. Local Governments will henceforth receive their full allocation and be accountable for same.
- The State Government shall contribute 10% of its net IGR to JAAC as state Governments counterpart Funds towards rural economic and social development.
- The Autonomy of Local Government shall be restored forthwith.
- To Ensure Maximum Security in Imo State we shall IMMEDIATELY establish a new Security architecture – aided with installation of State of the Arts Digital Technology/equipment linked to the 27 LGCs/DPO to enhance crime detection, intelligence gathering, tracking and apprehension of criminals, etc.
- We shall create a Neighbourhood Security Watch code named ‘North East West’ (NEW) involving a coordinated network of Community Intelligence Gathering Programme in liaison with the NPF, DSS, NSCDC, NSO and some Private Security Companies. In tandem, we shall launch Operation “FOC,” (Flush Out Criminals) – a combined Security Operations targeted at Flashpoints and Centres of high criminal activities, including hide outs, jungles, uncompleted buildings, forest, shrines, lakes and creeks, etc. Whether in Ohaji Egbema, or Nwaorieubi Shrine at Ifakala, or in the thick jungle at Akokwa, or Njaba or Urashi, We shall rout them and free our society of the menace of banditry, kidnappings, and ritual killings including Yahoo-Plus, and Alibaba Gangstars. It shall be a “SAD” season for criminals in Imo State.
- Community Leaders, Traditional Rulers, Town Union Presidents shall be held responsible for any security lapses within their domain Failure to Report, concealing or benefiting directly or indirectly from proceeds of criminal activities, shall attract maximum punishment . A cash reward shall be announced for a Whistle-blowing Campaign. Our NEW IMO STATE shall no longer be a haven for kidnappers, armed robbers, cultists, Yahoo Plus, and Alibaba Gangs, baby factory, and ritualists, human trafficking, etc.
- As an honest and transparent government, we shall hold quarterly Imo Stakeholders Forum (ISHF) to provide interim government Report Card and provide answers to Frequently Asked Questions, (FAQs) and concerns of citizens. The State Ministry of Information shall likewise provide Monthly briefings on government activities.
- We believe that power belongs to the people and not the other way around. Government is not instituted to deride the people, but to protect their fundamental rights. We shall be responsible and accountable to the good people of Imo State. This is the dawn of a New Imo.
My beloved people of Imo State, with your enthusiastic support and encouragement, the work has already begun for the building of the NEW IMO of our dreams.
However, there is need for vigilance. It is crystal clear to me that some of those who lost out in the final battle at the Supreme Court, where the real winner of the March 2019 governorship election was determined, are finding it difficult to come to grips with reality. They have consequently resorted to mischief making and incitement of the public. They spread falsehood against me and the government. They sponsor pockets of protests against the government and seek to divide us on clannish grounds. They deride our own institutions when such institutions take decisions that do not favour them.
Let me make it clear that while our doors are wide open to accommodate everyone, including my political opponents, and while we insist on enduring peace and reconciliation, we shall not brood any reckless breach of the laws of the land. Those encouraging or sponsoring any breach of public peace should desist forthwith or face the full wrath of the law. Make no mistake about it, I have a responsibility to govern Imo State and to maintain the peace therefrom. In the discharge of these duties I shall not hesitate to bring the full weight of the law on anybody, no matter how highly placed, who constitutes himself or herself into a public nuisance. I also advise law abiding people of our beloved state to resist attempts to be used for selfish reasons by desperate politicians.
We know those behind these incitements; who are sowing seeds of discord to divide our state. I appeal to them to have a rethink and remember that power comes from God and that even more importantly, no election is the end of elections but rather the confirmation that more elections are ahead. So the losers today can be the winners tomorrow and next tomorrow.
As we celebrate the birth of a new Imo which we achieved with your support, it is time for us to harp on the things that unite us not on the things that divide us.
I recall clearly that on the eve of the elections, our people were determined to ensure that no one imposed a political dynasty on them. It was the collective desire of all Imo people to see to it that our democracy was preserved in all its true tenets, to wit, government of the people for the people and by the people. As the arrowhead in that battle, Imo people voted massively for me. This fact should not be lost on anybody.
Today, through your votes we have succeeded in disabling that obnoxious structure and dangerous ambition. Regardless, I appeal to you therefore to avail me of your total support to bring the valiant mission of a New Imo State to its logical conclusion. I count very much on your support and cooperation
I thank you for your patience and wish you all a prosperous new year as you join me in the factory room to build a NEW IMO STATE of our common dream.
SEN. HOPE UZODIMMA
Executive Governor of Imo State
January 21, 2020.