By Ogu Bundu Nwadike, M.A
The simplest definition of success is “to get it right”. It’s a situation of no fault and no but. In the leadership simultaneous and quadratic equations of Nigeria and the governance algebraic calculus of Imo State, the undisputable symbols of leadership success are General Murtala Mohammed and Chief Samuel Onunaka Mbakwe.
Both great leaders in their respective rights and capacities symbolized success because they got it right, without fault or but.
Coming few years after the war, General Murtala Mohammed, within six months, left marks on Nigeria sphere that have remained indelible and memorable till date.
Coming about ten years after the war, Dee Sam Mbakwe, within four years, left evergreen leadership and governance delivery reference points that still resonate and reverberate in Imo, Abia, parts of Ebonyi States till date.
One very popular church song or hymnal that irreversibly always holds us spellbound has the theme of: “Only by thy your work shall thou be remembered”! The Nigerian world still remember Murtala and Dee Sam because of their work.
Now, while successive generations of leaders, heads of state and governors still quote the good work of those two great national and state leaders, their successors-in-office, head of state, presidents, and governor, the current leaders find it extremely too difficult and almost impossible to emulate their desirable leadership ways and manners.
However, while it may not be easy or pertinent to here profile all Nigerian heads of state and presidents, while we won’t situate the work of all governors of Imo State since 1976, we’re out to re-present by verified and verifiable facts and figures the work of the recent seven and half months tenure of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP in the Government House of Imo State (May 29, 2019 to January 14, 2020).
Generally known as the PDP RebuildImo administration, its ship was steered by His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, CON as governor of Imo State.
From time to time, we highlight the accomplishments and achievements of PDP and Ihedioha in Douglas House. And whenever we do that we don’t just go out on self-praise mission of the lizard that fell from atop the iroko tree.
Rather, in our capacity as the Organized Opposition and the constitutional Shadow Government in Imo State, we are subtly contributing to governance by providing the current regime with pro bono constructive criticisms that give it “expo” on salient critical points of good governance delivery, which clues and competence it evidently lacks and is unwilling to humbly and patiently learn.
In fact, till date, after 16 months in office, the current regime still whine and lament that it’s failure has everything to do with the PDP RebuildImo/Ihedioha administration not handing it a handover note.
Yet, a sincere smart governor would have been richly enriched with leadership and governance ideas that we offer pro bono to the unreachable regime.
Agreed, the regime quietly explore, exploit and appropriate the ideas loaded in the pro bono constructive criticisms we offer it, but it fails to give credit and gratitude to the PDP/Ihedioha RebuildImo administration to whom much credit and gratitude are due.
Recently, for example, the push and start regime hosted a jamboree for highly impoverished youths, which it tagged: “Imo Youth Security Summit”!
Incidentally, that youth security summit was an unfortunate after-thought, coming 16 months after the Supreme Court made Uzodimma governor on January 14, 2020.
Sadly, it required the unprecedented, first of its kind, terrorist attacks on the very Headquarters of the Nigeria Police and Nigeria Prisons in Owerri, the Imo State capital, and the attendant wanton destruction of property, to be convened by Uzodimma.
Conversely, during the PDP/Ihedioha RebuildImo administration, a youth security summit was organized within the first 100 days in office, because His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, as Imo governor, understood the need for proactive responses to safety and security challenges.
A good leader doesn’t wait for calamity to occur before addressing a potential agents of troubles, problems or challenges. A good leader keeps his ears close to the ground and listens carefully and intently, ever ready to act with ears of a good radar or eyes of a functional mast.
Upon assuming office on May 29, 2019, Governor Emeka Ihedioha noted that armed hoodlums, thugs, bag snatchers, car snatchers, armed robbers, kidnappers, and all manners of criminals were riding Imo State roughshod, causing a lot of problems across the State.
He promptly organized an expanded security summit which saw the coming together of relevant stakeholders that included Governor Ihedioha, his Special Adviser on Security, Sir Ray Nkemdirim, other top political appointees, chiefs of the various official security agencies in the State, traditional rulers, leaders of the Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC), civil rights organizations, journalists, etcetera.
Shortly after that monumental expanded security summit that birthed the very successful “Operation Iron Gate” security programme, the Imo State Youth Security Summit was convened, incorporating the quintessential youths of the State into the expanded security programme.
Amiable and youth mobilizer par excellence, Hon. Rex Okoro, the then Special Assistant on Youth Affairs to Governor Emeka Ihedioha shone like a million stars at the Imo State Youths Security Summit. Watching him in tête-a-tête with the then Commissioner of Police, Rabiu Ladodo was a delight! That was when Imo youths were organized under a sound platform! Now, under Uzodimma, it’s unemployed youth o’clock!
The result of the Imo Stare Security Summit convened by Governor Emeka Ihedioha was that the little over 200 days in office of the PDP/Ihedioha RebuildImo administration witnessed the most safe and secure social environment in the State, at least since the advent of the 4th Republic in 1999.
The 2019 Yuletide season was rated by reputable pundits as the most peaceful, safest and most secure in the annals of the State.
Ndimo at home and those that jetted into the State from abroad with their children and families had a swell time in the day, and slept well with their two eyes closed in the nights. The Operation Iron Gate programme was very much alive and active to its duties and responsibilities.
Today, in spite of the attempt to use “Operation Search and Flush” programme to copy the successes in safety and security deliveries that it inherited from the PDP/Ihedioha RebuildImo administration, this wobbling and fumbling Uzodimma regime bungles it all up with unnecessary paparazzi and razzmatazz, playing to the gallery.
The bungled Uzodimma/Camphope youths security summit was just an instance of the failure of Uzodimma in good governance delivery when juxtaposed with the monumental success of the PDP/Ihedioha RebuildImo administration. Talk about incomparables!
As Imo governor, His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha ensured the systematic and systemic development of entire Imo State and empowerment of entire Imo people in one way or another.
Since the ousting of Ihedioha from office, Imo State has fastly backslided to the pre-Ihedioha administration era of a State of anomie and near anarchy, without direction, thrust or focus under Uzodimma’s watch.
In 2019, Governor Emeka Ihedioha worked with a pre-determined plans, policy, programmes, and projects guiding blueprint, roadmap, and compass; much thanks to the Transition Technical Committee (TTC) that had Chief Ernest Ebi as Chairman, and Her Excellency, Amb. Dr. Mrs. Kema Chikwe, as Deputy Chairperson, that did a very important job for the rebuilding of Imo State!
The current regime, after being sneaked into Douglas House from the backdoor, began running like shamed and disgraced Ben Johnson at the Olympics, without knowing what it was running after. Obviously, Uzodimma was running away from both his illegitimacy and a leadership and governance task that as the Chief Driver, he suddenly found too herculean handle.
It’s too saddening that 16 months after, Uzodimma still finds it hard to start. And how long shall Imolites be patient before they see the Promised Land of genuine development? Let’s save Imo, so Imo State won’t die!
Just within seven and half months tenure, PDP/Ihedioha RebuildImo administration moved Ndimo from the Wilderness of Looting By All Means and brought them to the tarred road to the Promised Land of organized development.
All sectors of the economy, all the three zones of the State, all Imo workers and pensioners, including teachers, all students and youths, all market people, all rural dwellers, all honest Imo people were giving testimony (indeed all true Imo people are still giving testimonies) about how government and governance were once again making sense to them.
Today, after 16 months of failure in office, Uzodimma has stolen the joy and happiness Ihedioha bestowed upon Imo State and bequeathed to Imo people.
Little wonder majority of Imo people, particularly Imo workers and pensioners, Imo market people, and teeming unemployed able-bodied young men and women, have turned into emergency prayer warriors, with tears daily crying with the song: “Restore unto us the joy of thy salvation, O Lord. We are thy own”!
Indeed, only by the work of a man shall he be remembered. Like those aforementioned great Nigerian leaders of yore, today it’s by the good, successful work of Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha in Imo State and Nigeria that he’s daily remembered, with nostalgia, by Imo people and Nigerians. History is the patient, unseen observer of the character and conduct of all mortals and every living soul, good and bad!
May the Supreme God remain the final Judge! In Jesus’ name! Amen!
By God’s grace, Imo State must be rebuilt!!