Hon. Prince Ugochukwu Nzekwe is a known politician and administrator in Imo State, having been a law maker,ex this ex that and today Governor Hope Uzodimma’s Special Adviser on Public Safety, in this interview with EVEREST EZIHE, he was explicit on Public Safety as a hub for socioeconomic development even as unknown to many. He was every reporter’s delight, just as he justified his Ambassadorial position in the temple of Public Safety. It’s an incisive interview and food for thought in Public Safety.
Sir May You Introduce Yourself To Our Readers ?
Am Prince Honourable Ugochukwu Nzekwe, the Special Adviser to Governor Hope Uzodimma, of Imo State on Public Safety. One time Law Maker that represented Nkwerre State constituency in Imo House of Assembly.
Sir You Have Occupied This Position Barely A Year Now, What Does Your Job Schedule Entails ?
You are aware this government came in with a lot of juicy policies and programmes in the overall interest of the populace. These policies and programmes are anchored on Shared Prosperity and 3 R mantra that means Recovery, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction. Since the government parades its self with the vision of Shared Prosperity, it must be willing to ensure an enabling environment centred on safety. No meaningful prosperity can be achieved in an environment that is hostile. It’s based on this that His Excellency considered it necessary to establish an office for Public Safety and appointed me as the chief driver, since then, we have been doing our best, at least when there’s any largesse coming from the government, the people will feel comfortable to enjoy it because the environment is safely conducive.
fRom Every Indication, You Are The Pioneer Facilitator Of The Office, What’s The Journey So Far ?
You may not be totally correct, but if you are talking of Special Adviser on Public Safety, yes, but if you are talking of Public Safety in terms of Ministry you are wrong, because the immediate past administration created Ministry of Public Safety and appointed a commissioner to mann the Ministry. Moreso, there was a time Public Safety was a department in Ministry of Public Utilities, it has been there, only that the people saddled with the responsibilities seems to be bereft of the great expectations and challenges. They were unable to make the office viable and relevance in terms of global best practices.
Considering The Importance Of The Office, What Do You Consider As Your Greatest Legacy Or Legacies ?
SO far so good,we have been able to raise the consciousness of Imolites on importance of safety through training and consciousness of the environment. We have also been able to indoctrinate the people on how safe they can operate in the various areas of the state, for instance, in the office and public places. To an extent now in Imo State,if you want to leave your house, you must ask yourself pertinent questions on the safety of the area you are going. It helps you to conditioned your mind on the movement and most likely challenge (s). Once this is achieved, the issue of hazards, harm , natural disasters can be controlled to a large extent, because if you know what it takes for you to handle rats in your house, recall that rats operating in your house are just hazards because if left, it could contaminate your foods. So if you are wary of all these things, it will be difficult for you to fall victim of safety challenges. All we are saying, is the need for us to develop safety consciousness in all our dealings. Safety is all about training. Knowing your environment, how safe it’s and what to do. How safe your office and house environment. How safe is it for you to operate in public places and the business you want to operate. So that every time you are leaving your house you have to ask your self some pertinent questions, where am going to ? What am going to do ? What are my going to achieve? How safe is all these places ? Thus when you get a resemble answer, you be able to conditioned your mind on how to handle certain things you are going to meet out there. These are fundamentally the things we have been able to achieve.
From Every Indication, The Services Of Your Office Is Needed By All And Sundry, How Have You Been Able To Encourage Imolites To Avail Themselves These Essential Services You Offers ?
This is a germane question, earlier i have mentioned the issue of creating public awareness through our public enlightment bus, which we used to traversed all the nooks and crannies of the state, announcing critical issues of concern happening in our environment. We have radio jingles which we air regularly. We have a Public Safety Half Hour weekly Radio program, every Wednesday by 12.05 pm in Orient Fm 94.5 , like this month, we are talking of safety tips, on what people normally experience or encounters in their homes, offices and public places just name it and the best way to handle them. This is exactly where we’re now. Our job is something akined to security, thus, when we began we started by paying courtesy calls to all the security chiefs in the state. The essence was to earn the collaborative synergy that has to do with enforcement. Obviously, part of the things we do, demands for the people’s compliance and if this is not achieved, it then means we have failed in our social responsibilities to the state and the people. Thus, we really need the services and cooperations of the security agencies in the state for total enforcement. When we started, it was at the peak of the Covid- 19 pandemic and it really affected where people go to,in all honesty it has a way of conditioning the state economy, for instance, if you want to come to Imo State to invest money for example on hospitality industry and it happened that the state is a place where people don’t obey Covid – 19 principles and people are non challant in their behavioural patterns, the investor will definitely run away from the state and look for better alternative state that complies with the pandemic principles and people are disciplined . Hospitality business is such that not only the people from the state enjoys the services but visitors from other states and countries, so directly and indirectly it also affects other sectors of the economy. Thus why we started by making sure that restaurants, fast food joints and super markets complied with the Covid – 19 principles. I stand to be challenged any public place in Imo state today, has somebody walking as safety officer in front of the premises, as you come, the person will make sure you have your nose mask, direct you to where you will wash your hands on a running water, check your eyes and offer you sanitizer. This is no mean feat and it has been helping. We have been visiting some public and private places to ensure that people comply with the Covid – 19 directive principles . If you go to fast food joints in Imo State now, you can see the way they arrange their seats it is in compliance with the global directives. We are now embarking on another programme that include training and summits so as to increase the level of consciousness and awareness to enable people to take care of themselves as far as Covid -19 is concerned without Public Safety office teaching them. The training will involve allowing all the segments and sectors of the state to begin observing the Covid -19 protocols on their own with out expecting the office to teach them, even the traffic issues in the state will be consciously addressed.
Considering The Giant Strides Achievements You Have So Far Recorded What Have Been Your Challenges ?
The challenges are not abnormal. Like i earlier said, Safety and security are interwoven, they look like brothers and sisters in which every Dick and Tom must be involved. Like now, i just finished meeting with the leadership of the Abbatoirs in the state on the need to have a hygenic environment for the meat they’re selling. Our mission is for people to be able to apply caution on whatever they are doing as it concerned safety of lives of Imo people. So far, Governor Hope Uzodimma have been encouraging us by giving the necessary supports in all we are doing. Another challenges is for people and corporate bodies to assist and support us, you can see the traffic lights in Owerri,Okigwe and Orlu, government spent some money to install them but people are not obeying the signs of the lights, which is unfortunate.
Inview Of This, What Is Your Message To The People Of Imo State ?
Covid- 19 is a general problem and its solution is in our hands.