By Ogu Bundu Nwadike, M.A
His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha CON, KSC, the governor of Imo State as at date has visited America twice, London twice, Germany twice, and Russia once since his victory in the 2019 gubernatorial election.
This mission of the governor has remained tied to his vision of rebuiding Imo State from the ruins he inherited from his predecessor, Rochas Okorocha.
His travels overseas are not for fun, jamboree, rendezvous or revelling. Gov. Ihedioha goes searching for the good of Imo State. He seeks for economic development and investment partners. He seeks for collaborators in the RebuildImo Project.
The foreign visits by Gov. Ihedioha have provide him opportunity to meet members of Congress of the State of Maryland and some other partners he interacted with in his visits to America.
The visits offer fora to have more constructive discussions and interactions with the political and financial leaders on how they can partner with Imo State in the rebuiding project.
Significantly, the visits bring the governor with the conglomeration of Imo people in the diaspora. They have availed avenue of sharing ideas on ways forward. No doubt, Gov. Ihedioha has always been accorded a hero’s welcome as a rebuilder, a visionary, people-oriented leader.
Incidentally, the truth is that just as Satan has no joy and happiness at anything good with the children of God, the opposition in Imo State do not see anything good nor have any joy and happiness at the continued good favour being enjoyed by Gov. Ihedioha across Imo State, Nigeria and across the world.
That’s why the opposition will continue their failed attempt at insinuating negatives against the governor over his visits. They have attempted fruitlessly to raise the negative sentiment that our dear Governor has been travelling too much outside the country. They are only out to misinform the public.
Truth is that the foreign visits by Gov. Ihedioha are deliberate and targeted. Luckily, Imo people are at tune with the progress being made so far by their governor in that aspect. They know that the overseas visits of the governor is for the overall benefit of the State and the people.
In the course of his visits to Europe and America, Gov. Ihedioha has been to London where he met Imo residents in UK. He also visited the Commonwealth Investment Economic Council UK in London. In the visits to London, Gov. Ihedioha sold the vision and mission of the RebuildImo administration to the people who possess the capacity to be of help to the State. Fortunately, some foreign investors have already started arriving the State for serious business discussion and negotiations.
He has visited Frankfurt and Bonn in Germany. At Frankfurt, he participated in a Town Hall meeting with Imo people there. Some of them are business people who are ready to repatriate their investments back to Imo State.
In his second visit to Germany, Gov. Ihedioha was in Boon, where he was a participant at the United Nations World Festival on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He actually delivered a technical paper on the roles of the parliament in the achievement of the aims and objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He ended up meeting and interacting with international captains of industry, securing assurances of patronage and support by relevant international economic development organizations.
Just last week, Gov. Ihedioha was in Moscow, Russia to participate in the economic development parley organized by the African Export and Import (Afrexim) Bank. He made the acquaintance of some international economic development support organizations, and secured promises of support and patronage for Imo State.
Earlier, along the lines, Gov. Ihedioha had visited the World Bank, USAID and such other relevant financial and international economic development support financial institutions.
Only last week some foreign investors paid a business visit to Imo State and precisely toured the facilities at Imo State Poultry Farm in Avutu, Obowo LGA. They were from the Netherlands and Morocco. There are alerts that more direct foreign investors are heading to Imo State for serious business.
There are no arguments or doubts that the arrival of potential foreign investors in the State is a result of the visits by Gov. Ihedioha to Europe and America in the past recent months.
As the governor settles down to the delivery of government and governance, the benefits of his initial contacts and network will continue manifest in the form of emergence of increased number of direct foreign investors with ample investment.
It’s significant that Gov. Ihedioha has continued to display his will and wish to activate revolutionary industrialization in Imo State. He has declared a state of emergency on infrastructure with emphasis on the immensely dilapidated roads in the State.
There’s no gainsaying that the policy decision is to restore Imo roads and further reassure potential foreign investors that government is ready to provide the enabling environment.
The process is top gear for the restoration of public water supply in Imo State that was destroyed by the ex-governor Rochas Okorocha. That too will be to the benefit of Imo people and the foreign investors.
The state which was rated very dirty when Rochas was governor my now getting cleaner by the day. Thanks to Gov. Ihedioha who in his wisdom set up a committee for the environmental sanitation. Thanks too to the committee that has lived up to the expectations and applauses of Imo people and visitors to the State.
There’s no doubt that as cleanliness is next to godliness, so also is cleanliness next to good health which the experts say is wealth. Cleanliness is also an aspect of the enabling environment that engender the influx of direct foreign investors in Imo State.
My vision is that in the nearest, there will be the visible presence of Americans, Europeans and Asians that will be resident in Imo State where they will be doing business as industrialists, manufacturers, importers and exporters.
My prayer is that the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable to Almighty God and make vision and mission of rebuiding Imo State will be a successful reality. In Jesus’ name. Amen!
Nwadike is the Special Assistant on Research to the Governor of Imo State.