BY GREG MBADIWE
What has increasingly set Gov Hope Uzodimma apart from his predecessors is his ability to initiate and execute legacy projects that would outlive his administration. This is not just about short time udulation but enduring policies that impact positively on the society. That is what we call vision and that is what Uzodimma is entrenching with the proposed dredging/Hydrographic survey of the Sea route from Oguta Lake-Orashi-Degema- Atlantic Ocean. In a couple of hours, Prof Yemi Osibanjo, the Vice President of Nigeria will flag off the exercise from Oguta.
It is significant that when Uzodimma mooted this idea, some critics and cynics derided it as another white elephant project designed to siphon the money of Imo people away. Others felt it was a campaign gimmick designed to attract votes for APC presidential candidate, Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu who to the glory of God is now the incoming president. But typical of the governor, he didn’t join issues with anyone but went about putting finishing touches to all the arrangements.
The result is this unprecedented historic and historical event designed to change the economic landscape of not only Imo State but the entire South East. By opening up the Oguta, Orashi route to the Atlantic Ocean, Uzodimma will be setting the pace for the economic rejuvenation of the entire Eastern region long consigned to dependency to other regions. The move by the governor is historical because he will be walking in the path of colonial masters who used that route for the export of palm produce and timber to the United kingdom. Even the Eastern Nigeria Government under Ukpabi Asika used the route for the movement of goods and services through the coastal areas.
On the other hand, the project is historic because this is the first time that an adminstration is taking it upon itself to bequeath a legacy to ensure the economic stability of the people. Hope Uzodimma has written his name in gold for this singular act of economic emancipation of the South East, especially those in the coastal areas and ultimately everywhere when the proposed Sea port becomes operational. It is indeed instructive that in less four years on the saddle, the consuming passion of the governor has been to seek ways of changing the economic dynamic and narrative of the state. This he has done through total reengineering of the infrastructure and human capital development in the state.
With the massive construction of roads across the state, aptly christened road revolution, Uzodimma has boosted the Economy of the state because movement of goods and services from the hinterland to urban areas have been made easier. The value of agricltural produce has improved.
By empowering the youths, Uzodimma has made it possible for them to be self employed and even become employers of labour. When they are gainfully employed,the level of crime will go down considerably. That is what the governor is doing with Skillup imo project which will impact on 300,000 youths.
One other step the governor has taken to enhance the economy of Imo State is regular payment of salaries and pensions to both staff and pensioners. Before Uzodimma, the state was a largely Civil Service state. And any sign of economic development was noticable when salaries are paid. So, the governor being mindful of this matter had done his best in ensuring that the workers receive their salaries promptly. That also enhances the growth of the Economy.
It is for these reasons that Uzodimma should be applauded for this record breaking project which has taken Imo State to another level. This phenomenal feat no doubt shows that Uzodimma has the ears of the Federal authorities as evidenced in the approval granted for the dredging/Hydrographic survey of the Sea route from Oguta lake to the Atlantic Ocean. This is a product of the synergy between the two tiers of government as canvassed severally by Uzodimma. Indeed this collaboration has yielded a lot of dividends.
Only few days ago, the governor inaugurated the Federal University of Technology Teaching Hospital Owerri. That also came about as a result of the partnership between the Federal government and the state government. There are other numerous projects Uzodimma has attracted to the State from the Federal government as a testimony to how a robust relationship with the centre can bring developmental to the State.
Indeed, as the only governor of Imo State who had hosted the president thrice and the vice president twice for the inauguration of projects, Uzodimma has demonstrated extraordinary vision in development. Surprisingly,he did all these inspite of the security breaches provoked by the opposition to distract him.
What is however not surprising is the plethora of endorsements from well meaning citizens of the state who are appreciative of the giant strides recorded by Uzodimma. From labour leaders to Imo council of Elders,and from politicians to road transport workers, the people are united in acknowledging the achievements of the governor and urging support for his second tenure. With the dredging of Oguta lake sea route, Uzodimma has chalked up another legacy as the performing governor of Imo State who richly deserves a second tenure.
Ambassador Mbadiwe, a lawyer and former NIGERIA’S Ambassador to Congo,wrote in from Lagos.