Whether one likes it or not, the stark reality today which is the bitter truth is that Senator Hope Uzodimma is the Imo State governor and may be there longer than expected so the earlier this fact is accepted with proper adjustments made, the better.
This article is neither meant to support or condemn how the current governor emerged nor to justify the senseless opposition mounting against him from different quotas which is expected in every democratic government. It’s rather an exercise towards urging Ndi Imo to having the Imo State of our dream where irrespective of age, sex and class, we will all walk shoulder high and say of a truth that we have the Imo State of our collective aspiration. In other words, it aims to advice us – the governor and the governed – on how best to have and sustain a conducive environment for peaceful coexistence and productivity in the state. To do this, all hands must be on deck, doing what we individually and collectively know how to do best. It is high time we joined hands and make Imo State great again and in our time.
The governor needs to be reminded that governance is not a jamboree party so he should rise up to the tough challenge now and become the governor of Ala Imo and Ndi Imo without boundary. By stroke of fate, Senator Hope Uzodinma is the incumbent Imo State governor. He should therefore make good governance his watchword, striving within the limits of his ability to provide dividends of democracy for everyone in every nook and cranny of the state regardless of party affiliation and ideological differences.
To be impactful and sooth frayed nerves, the governor should run a government of inclusion, search for best brains and competent hands and work with them for absolute development of the state and interests of the people. The overall wellbeing and empowerment of Ndi Imo should remain the primacy of his administration not self-aggrandizement and senseless wealth acquisition through corrupt practices and impunity. If he can avoid minions and specialists of sycophantic politics, he would do a lot and write his name with gold.
With the right people in the right position at the right time for the right purpose, and with a listening ear to hear good advice, this government should embark into meaningful projects across the state, discovering natural and human resources and harnessing them for the good of the state. To do this, it will be more cost effective to continue and complete most of the abandoned projects of past administrations and put them into effective and efficient use instead of starting new ones that might not be completed before the end of tenure.
Having been a senator, the governor knows the import of legislative and judicial processes and proceeding so should have respect for the Rule of Law and Due Process. This way, there will be little or no room for abuse of office which, of late, has somehow become a trademark of Imo State government.
Within the mean resources of the state, this government should work towards providing visible and lasting dividends of democracy along with functional basic amenities. Provision of security for life and property should occupy a place of prominence and priority in his agenda.
One of the ways to improve the internally generated revenue in the state is through absolute industrialization programmes that will in turn create meaningful employment opportunities. A coordinated effort at job creation will go a long way to make the state self reliant.
Governor Hope Uzodinma needs to make comprehensive and feasible youth empowerment programme part of his government agenda. The moment jobless Imo youths are engaged into productive ventures, crime rates in the state will reduce to barest minimum. With improved security of life and property, the state will be open for more investors – indigenous and foreign investors – to invest for wealth creation and employment opportunities with resultant improved revenue generation for the government.
Opposition is an integral part of government. The opposition’s main role is to question the government of the day and hold them accountable to the public. In other words, it represents an alternative government, and is responsible for challenging the policies of the government and producing different policies where appropriate but with the caveat that he who alleges must prove. This becomes necessary because to oppose what the government does and always questioning what the government is doing is not a child’s play.
Constructive opposition has ways of bringing out the best in every good government. However one looks at it, every democratic government “has to remain answerable to the public at all times, and a good opposition can put the spotlight on serious issues and have them resolved quickly.” But to avoid the system of opposing everything and proposing nothing, words of Bill English, “The other major role is proposing alternatives to what the government is doing so the public gets the benefit of political debate between different directions,” become very imperative and inevitable. Therefore, the opposition in Imo State now needs to be strengthened and made more robust to engage into real issues not frivolities and market gossips otherwise they lose relevance in holding the government to account which would have caused the government to adopt positive proposals. The governor, on the other hand, should prepare and embrace tough opposition in the state for his own good in particular and that of the state in general. Let him assemble a team of intellectuals and mandate them to always analyze every act of opposition, sieve it and bring out the best in it. With this, he would have a pool of alternative ideas and views needed to run a competitive and peaceful democratic government that Ndi Imo are yearning for.
Imo State is blessed with a lot of natural and human resources in addition to having a rapidly growing labour force, most of which is currently employed in the agricultural sector, hospitality industry and civil service, and therefore has the potential to play a more active role in the national and global economy than in the past. Actualizing this potential will depend largely on the degree to which it can achieve industrial development and create the conditions for long term sustained growth and poverty reduction.
This is where power generation and distribution become indispensable. Absolute power (energy) generation is one area that this government should focus without delay. Rural electrification project should rank among the first for this government if it were to be truly people’s oriented government with shared prosperity. This is because a constant and affordable power supply is necessary for rapid industrialization.
Of importance is prompt payment of wages and salaries. The governor should look inward and see how best to clear outstanding salaries and pensions in the state. This way, the periodic protests associated this debt will stop and the energy used for such would be channeled into other productive issues.
There is a political risk to a party in loss of identity, subordinated to the common good “whether in opposition or government” which has the propensity to making a state a failed one but this will not be our fate if we can think in terms of what we can do for the state not necessarily what the state can do for us.
Imo State has the potential to become the flagship of good governance and this will be fast-tracked if we can close ranks and work for the good of the state and the people. Now is the time, let’s do it right.