By Amb Saviola Godwin
The much talked-about transparency and accountability of political office-holders is a guarantee of good governance brings about the analysis of Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha’s 100 days in office as the Governor of Imo state. Will the ardour of the former Deputy Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives burn as intensively throughout the rest of his tenure?
When former Deputy Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha, was sworn-in as governor of Imo state on May 29, 2019, the attention of the nation was shifted to the historical state, with genuine prospect of “rebuild Imo” rising among citizens. This was expected largely because of the pedigree Ihedioha built while representing the people of Aboh Mbaise/Ngor Okpala federal constituency in the National Assembly, and his subsequent success as the Deputy Speaker and then Speaker of the green chamber.
Ihedioha had campaigned for the new position on the premise of rebuilding Imo state that was ruined due to maladministration and anti-people policies that strangulated the state and sent it tumbling deep down into abyss.
This was much evident in his numerous speeches before, during and after the elections. The need for the “#RebuildImo” mantra was necessary since it was an established fact that all sectors of the state needed revival via pro-people policies.
Imolites have felt the huge difference between the ouster iberiberism regime and the administration whose word is their bond. The foundation laid by Ihedioha has heightened the already spiralling expectation from the citizenry. The new approach to governance and due process has galvanized the populace and attracted attention not just nationally but among development partners and other interest groups. The people have been co-opted and their inputs sought in efforts to improve their well-being.
A priority to Governor Ihedioha and his able deputy, Hon. Gerald Irona at the moment is institutional reform. They have repeatedly opined that when the institutions are on sound footing, the journey will be smoother.
What we have been served by Ihedioha so far is a development module that integrates Imo’s historical peculiarities and huge potentials while seeking to modernize all aspects of its life.
Governor Ihedioha in action: Education and youth empowerment
Knowing fully well that no human endeavour will move successfully without quality education, Ihedioha made the revamping of the sector his number one priority. Within days of taking over the reigns of affairs in the state, he declared a state of emergency in the education sector, he moved to revive vocational and technical schools, he visited the Imo State University (IMSU) to the applause of the management, staff and students alike to have first hand experience on what’s going on at that citadel of higher that is now a shadow of its former self. He has also vowed to make sure the budgetary allocation for education is increased from the meagre sum it was when he assumed office. He has also approved the recruitment of quality teachers especially in the area of sciences as there’s been a huge deficit of teachers over the years.
In making sure that the sector is uplifted and Imo state regains her lost glory in education, he appointed a core professional in the person of Prof. Viola Onwuliri to preside over the ministry of education with her wealth of experience.
Governor Ihedioha in action: What’s new in Imo state’s health sector
Much has happened in the health sector since May 29, 2019. After paying unscheduled late-night visits to public hospitals to assess things himself, Ihedioha announced u increment in allowances paid to itinerant health care workers who frequent rural areas daily to render services to those in need. To enhance use of life-saving drugs, government began distribution of free drugs to pregnant women and those who gave birth in public hospitals or private health care centre under government supervision in the rural areas.
Consultations have also started on efforts to introduce health insurance scheme in Imo state. The scheme is part of measures to decentralise the National Health Insurance Scheme for optimum performance. Governor Ihedioha said seeking the views of religious scholars and traditional rulers is essential for its future success. Due to space constraint, let me say that social welfare schemes met by Ihedioha have been enhanced, with the ultimate objectives to ensure all citizens feel the impact of government at all levels. Primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare institutions are being given facelift for optimum service delivery. With Dr. Vin Udokwu, the ministry of health is sure to be achieve greatness.
The emergence of the #RebuildImo administration of Emeka Ihedioha and the appointment of Hon. Alex Emeziem Jnr as the Special Adviser to the governor on sanitation and transportation as well as General Manager of Imo ENTRACO brought about fresh air and positive change in the operation of the agency that was established to take utmost care of our environment and ensure sanity in the transport system.
Governor Ihedioha who knows the importance of clean environments and positive effects of tree planting, started with the planting millions of trees to the praises of the citizenry who know that trees give off oxygen that we need to breathe.
Trees reduce the amount of storm water runoff,
which reduces erosion and pollution in our
waterways and reduces the effects of
flooding. Trees provide food, protection,
and homes for birds and mammals.
The rebranded Imo ENTRACO has gone about the business of ensuring Imo becomes the cleanest state in Nigeria again with evacuating of refuse as at when due, cleaning drainages, proactively putting up flood control measures in place. Infact, former Governor Ikedi Ohakim was appointed the chairman of the monthly sanitation exercise for July which was an all round success with prizes given to the various local government areas and individuals who excelled in that exercise. His appointment was subsequently extended till September.
Imo ENTRACO that used to be an oppressive tool and thorn in the flesh of Imolites is now friendly and carrying out their major task of keeping the environment clean and decongest traffic with utmost diligence. The narrative and reality has indeed changed. All flood prone areas across the state are being taken care of.
Governor Ihedioha in action: Security at it’s peak
On security, governor Ihedioha is sustaining cooperation with various security agencies serving in the state, as well as gave out operational cars with state of the art equipments that are IT driven in order to aid “Operation Iron Gate” vision of the government. Insecurity that was the order of the day has drastically reduced under the watchful eyes of Ihedioha.
Governor Ihedioha in action: Sports is being revived
In the last eight years, the sports sector lay comatose but the coming of Ihedioha as seen to the revival of the sector with the Dan Anyiam stadium as well as the Grasshoppers Handball stadium that was left to rot is being renovated with state of the art facilities being installed to make these sporting centres usable again.
Approval of 27 stadia and recreational facilities across the 27 LGAs of Imo state have been approved by the sports loving governor in his first 100 days in office.
The state’s number one football club, Heartland FC of Owerri that was hitherto relegated to abyss now breathes fresh air with the appointment of Barr. Charles Ezekwem as the board management chairman alongside capable members of the management. In this short period, Heartland Fc signed a highly rated coach of high repute with a track record for victory and massive technical know-how in the game in the person of Fidelis Ilechukwu who left MFM FC for the Naze Millionaires.
Quality players have been signed so far to make sure that the club returns to the summit of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL). Issues of non-payment of salaries, low morale among the players is now a thing of the past as those degenerating issues at Heartland FC and Heartland Queens have been taken care of. Various sports from cricket to basketball, athletics to boxing, swimming to tennis, hockey to handball are being resuscitated. The icing on the cake is the appointment of an Olympic gold medalist, former Ajax and Arsenal footballer, Kanu ‘Papilo’ Nwankwo as the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on sports.
Governor Ihedioha and his RebuildImo team are doing great in agriculture in order to make the state self-sufficient and boost food production and exportation. He has broken new grounds in entertainment, culture and tourism especially engaging Imo based entertainers and artistes. At the local government level, he has unprecedentedly granted autonomy to the third tier of government in order to make people at the grassroot reap the dividends of democracy. There is also respect and reverence for the traditional institution. Due process and rule of law has been strictly adhered to with utmost discipline.
Governor Ihedioha has achieved a lot in less 100 days considering that the economy of Imo state was in the red when he assumed office but pragmatically he has steadily driven the economy to green with his proactive policies, ease of doing business and partnerships that have brought in many investors to the state. The first 100 days is just a positive pointer to the fact that Imo is in the best of hands and much more will be achieved throughout his tenure as Imolites are happier. Imo bu nke anyi.Governor Ihedioha and his RebuildImo team are doing great in agriculture in order to make the state self-sufficient and boost food production and exportation. He has broken new grounds in entertainment, culture and tourism especially engaging Imo based entertainers and artistes. At the local government level, he has unprecedentedly granted autonomy to the third tier of government in order to make people at the grassroot reap the dividends of democracy. There is also respect and reverence for the traditional institution. Due process and rule of law has been strictly adhered to with utmost discipline.
Governor Ihedioha has achieved a lot in less 100 days considering that the economy of Imo state was in the red when he assumed office but pragmatically he has steadily driven the economy to green with his proactive policies, ease of doing business and partnerships that have brought in many investors to the state for industrialization. The first 100 days is just a positive pointer to the fact that Imo is in the best of hands and much more will be achieved throughout this tenure as Imolites are happier. Imo bu nke anyi. #InvestInImo