Imo: As Uzodimma Is Inaugurated For 2nd Term

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By Henry Ekpe

On Monday, January 15, 2024, Senator Hope Uzodinma, the incumbent Governor of Imo State would be inaugurated again for a second term in office, along with his Deputy, Lady Chinyere Ekomaru.

Uzodinma had as early as 2003 dreamed to be Governor. He contested against the then Governor, Chief Achike Udenwa, under the Alliance for Democracy AD, with Chief Ikedi Ohakim as running mate. But that outing was not successful, as Udenwa of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP was returned to office.

In 2007, Uzodinma tried once again to be Governor, but failed. Fortunately for him, his running mate in 2003, and Political Ally, Ikedi Ohakim rather became the Governor of Imo State.

Luckily for Uzodinma, his friend Ohakim used his influence as a sitting Governor and facilitated his emergence as the PDP Senatorial candidate for Orlu Zone in 2011 defeating then sitting Senator, Hon Osita Izunaso in the primary.

But Ohakim lost his own Seat during the election, while his friend Uzodinma emerged Senator.

Since then, Uzodinma has not looked back as he clings to Nigerian politics and has continued to rise from strength to strength.

After finishing as a two term Senator for Orlu Zone, Uzodinma entered the race for Imo Governorship election for 2019 election.

Before then, following a tumultuous battle in PDP, between the Markarafi and Sherif factions, Uzodinma dumped his darling PDP, which provided him the platform twice to be Senator, and Board of Trustee member, and joined the newly formed All Progressive Congress, APC.

As a result of political subterfuges, intregues and horse tradings, Uzodinma emerged the APC Governorship candidate, against all odds. Against all odds because the “Leader” of APC in Imo, the then incumbent Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha had wanted his son inlaw, Chief Uche Nwosu to succeed him by all means.

However, Uzodinma outpaced and maneuvered Okorocha, a sitting Governor, and progenitor of APC in Imo, and snatched the contentious Governorship ticket. A thing that has remained a mystery, and would be detailed one day by either Okorocha, Uzodinma himself or Senator Osita Izunaso, who was the National Organizing Secretary of the APC, when that magic was wrought against Owelle.

After the Governorship election which pitted former political Gladiators in Imo politics against each other for the first; namely, Emeka Ihedioha, Ifeanyi Araraume, Hope Uzodinma and Okorocha (Uche Nwosu), the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, announced Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP as the winner. Uche Nwosu (Okorocha) of Action Alliance AA, came second, Ifeanyi Araraume of All Progressive Grand Alliance APGA was announced third position and Hope Uzodinma of APC came fourth in that order.

However, the battle later moved to the Tribunal and Court.

Shockingly, on January 14, 2020, the Supreme Court sitting in Abuja, the Federal Capital, gave victory to Uzodinma, with the argument that Uzodinma was announced fourth by INEC because his majority votes were not added.

Therefore, after the Mathematics by the Supreme Court, it affirmed Uzodinma as the winner of 2019 Imo Governorship election and should be sworn-in immediately.

The next day January 15, 2020, Uzodinma was sworn-in as the fifth Civilian Governor of Imo State since 1999, after Chief Achike Udenwa, Dr Ikedi Ohakim, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, and Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha.

Uzodinma met a hostile population as he assumed office, because the masses were already settling down with the administration of the PDP and Ihedioha when the entire system was disrupted with the Supreme Court judgment.

From hence, Uzodinma began to fight to settle down in office. As he was gradually getting foothold in governance, insecurity erupted in the State, causing extreme mayhem and distraction to the peace-loving people of Imo State.

Uzodinma, rather than be cowed, rose to the occasion and battled the messengers of death to a standstill. He made sure that criminals and the perpetrators of evil do not subdue constituted authority.

While fighting insecurity, Uzodinma at the same time made sure that governance did not suffer, and used one hand to fight enemies, and with the other providing dividends of democracy, as much as choas could allow.

Unfortunately, the Covid 19 Pandemic arrived, causing more crisis for Government and putting the restless Imo citizens on edge.

One could say that for two years, Uzodinma as Governor was faced with serious challenges that stretched his Government to its very elastic measure.

However, in Nov 11, 2023, he was voted back into office mainly because he had paper weight opponents as contestants.

Now, as Uzodinma commences his second term, the only prominent sector that has gotten Government attention is Road construction.

Uzodinma’s Government has done fairly well in the area of road building, based on Imo State standard.

The Owerri/Orlu, Owerri Umuahia and Owerri/Okigwe Roads are a testimony that cannot be hidden. But they are all Federal roads. It therefore means that the Uzodinma Government gave much attention to Federal roads than State roads.

Therefore, we look forward to seeing the major rural roads in the State get attention this time.

It still remains a mystery why the Government has not till date constructed the Timber Market road Naze, and the short distance road leading into Alaba Market by Aba road.

These are strategic roads that lead into the main Economic hubs of the State. Both Markets employ thousands of Imo citizens.

The Ulakwo/Upe/Imerrienwe/Umuekwune road leads to the food basket of Imo State. Imo even has oil in that Area. The Nguru, Umuneke/ Ngor/Nkwala/Eziama road, all in Ngor Okpala LGA will help the State Economically.

The Nekede Poly/FUTO Road, linking Portharcourt road at Army Barrack, Obinze is another important road to Imo State and its Economy.

There are also other rural roads in Imo, especially in Ikeduru, Ohaji, Egbema, Onuimo LGAs etc. This time, the Governor should prioritise infrastructure based on its importance to the State, and not for political benefits.

Youth Employment must be treated with dispatch. Our able bodied youths, most of them graduates, are roaming about without sources of livelihood.

They will be a source of relief to their parents if gainfully employed.

Therefore the Governor should look towards Agriculture as the way out. Imo has large expanse of lands that can engage these youths, than handouts and tokens from Government.

Sending out these youths out to foreign lands as promised by the Governor during his campaign will only reduce Imo State man power and Human Resources. We need them here than overseas.

In the area of security, the Governor should be commended for returning Imo to this level of serenity. Those of us living the State could only imagine, than recount what happened at the peak of the insecurity in the State.

Crime can never be completely eradicated in the society. However, the Government should up her ante in the coming years in this area and curb it.

With no second term election staring him in the face now, Uzodinma is not bothered with begging for votes, and therefore should reduce his bloated Cabinet.

We have never seen such large Cabinet in the history of Imo State! Over Five Hundred Appointees is large and dug deep hole in Imo coffers.

A compact, qualified and productive group of people can give Uzodinma what he wants in his second term. It is not how large, but how good.

In this second term, Uzodinma should develop a robust relationship with Imo Based Media.

He should not think that since he is not asking for favours in terms of votes, the Media can now go to hell. No. He needs them today, tomorrow, and after. His relationship with Imo Media is poor. How many Newspaper Houses does he know or have met their Publishers? And how many Correspondents in Imo can he recognize?

The Governor has done good by dusting up the moribund Imo Charter of Equity, which would give the three Zones fair share in the Leadership of the State. It has been there, but not followed when it comes to handing over power.

Orlu has governed Imo so much that it would be insulting the sensibilities of other Zones if it comes up with any trick to retain power in 2027.

If Uzodinma makes the Charter of Equity work while leaving office, he would have written his name in Gold in the annals of Imo history.

However, what the Governor must realize is that it has never been easy for Imo Governors to produce whom they prefer as successor.

Therefore, it will not be a different scenario with Uzodinma. But if he is bent on acting his words, he will succeed in producing a successor of his choice. But he has the Imo electorate, his party chieftains and other politically parties to contend with.

Indeed, as Uzodinma assumes office a second term for another four years, we urge him to treat all men equal. We remind him that one day he will be an “Ex”. Therefore his conscience will not disturb him then if he is fair to all now.

We commend his boldness in dealing with some of his Aides caught with their hands in the Cooky Jar. It is a signal that it will not be business as usual for Appointees this time. No room for looting. The Governor should remember that any mistake made in 2nd term, may not be corrected again and would trail him after.

Welcome to another tough task. May your route not be rough. Gov Uzodimma you are Welcome Again.

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