An entrepreneur and Chairman/ Chief Executive Officer of Jude Elswitch Limited, Dr Jude Adindu Nnanna has expressed fears over the quick alliance by some members of the Imo State House of Assembly from PDP, APGA and AA with the incumbent governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma, describing it as a dangerous game that may not be for the best interest of the people. He also called on Ihedioha to go back to the drawing board and wait for another opportunity.
What is your reaction on the recent Supreme Court ruling on Imo State Governorship election of March 9, 2019?
Though, I am not an expert in law but I had the opportunity to read people and some experts’ opinions too, on the matter and, all they are saying is that the Supreme Court dealt with the facts and evidence before them, and gave the judgment. I can only look at it politically and the internal political arrangement in the state. The tripod on which Imo State politics is based, has been disoriented. We have Owerri, Okigwe and Orlu zones in the state and justice and equity demand that it is the turn of Owerri zone to produce the governor, which they did. Unfortunately, it has happened the way it did. So, now the pendulum has been changed by the ruling of the Supreme court that Hope Uzodimma from the same Orlu zone that had already ruled the state for 16 years before Ihedioha came in, should continue. Obviously, that is going to bring a disaffection among the people, no matter how anybody may see it.
I believe that you read Ihedioha’s statement to the people of Imo State after he was sacked by the Supreme Court, could you react on that?
No doubt, the Supreme Court’s verdict, came as a rude shock and surprise, considering the facts on ground, legal precedence and clear verdict of Imo People on March 9, 2019, that returned him as governor, with the highest valid votes of 273,404. He did not agree with the judgement and described it as unfair, unjust and does not reflect the voting that took place during the elections. He also said the ruling did not take care of the sensibilities of the people of Imo State. But as a true democrat, he had no option, but to respect the outcome of that judgement. He promised that he and his team shall always cherish the tremendous goodwill and support given to them as they grappled with setting up a new administration to rebuild a state that was devastated by bad governance. Notwithstanding, he still went ahead to appeal to all Imolites, especially his teeming supporters to remain calm and to shun any action that is capable of resulting in a breach of the peace, and that there can always be different parties, but only one Imo State. Having looked at the above statements, I see him as a man of peace who wants Imo to move forward, knowing full well that there are more and better opportunities tomorrow.
Ihedioha urged Imo people to extend to Uzodimma, the same support they gave to him, as it is his wish that his successor will continue on the path he had set for the rebuilding of Imo State. How does that go with you?
I think he did that as one who has a good spirit and that is how it is supposed to be. There is need for Imo people to support Uzodimma’s government, so that he would consolidate on the progress and milestones Ihedioha’s administration achieved within seven months. I heard him thanking all for their support which saw him achieve so much and reversed the negative trajectory of Imo State within a space of seven months. He said Imo State was looking good again and was declared the least corrupt state in the country, the fastest state growing economy in Nigeria and the most improved, in terms of the deployment of Information Technology in service delivery. He also said that Imo infrastructure was significantly coming to life; civil servants and pensioners were now being paid as and when due and optimism returned to Imo State. It is on record that we were acclaimed as the most sports and Diaspora friendly state. Most importantly, we returned life and activities to our local governments. Yes, we had good plans to make Imo the centre piece of commerce, industry, technology, tourism by providing good leadership and first class infrastructure. Under our watch, Imo became safe with our systematic approach to securing lives and property.
Ihedioha claimed that his mandate was truncated and cut short by the Supreme Court, in contravention of the will of the people, even when he had a good relationship with the people and employed regular consultations and dialogue as a tool of political discourse; what are the expectations from the new government?
The expectations are not far-fetched. Agreed that many are aggrieved on the outcome of the Supreme court ruling, but that will not last for too long. We need to move on for the best interest of our state.
Did you foresee his emergence as governor?
Not at all, and I think nobody did. Even a pool stake in his permutation, could not have imagined that things could turn out the way it did. It all came to all as a surprise. It has beaten all our imagination and they say in our usual parlance that it could be that the hand of God is in it. So, we pray that his emergence should be for the interest of Imo people. Looking at his name Hope, Uzodimma and Imo State being known formally as the Land of Hope, we may believe that Hope has come to govern the Land of Hope. Therefore, it is expected that Imo people will no longer continue to hope, as this is the fulfillment of all our hopes. We are not going to ask whether the road will be good; it is good already as his surname, Uzodimma implies because there is something in a name. Hopefully, the long awaited hope, has come to fulfillment.
What is your advice for the people of Imo state?
I believe that Imo State is suffering from the same political problem Nigeria is having. If we think about political re-engineering and re-orientation, whereby when you talk about democracy, everybody should feel being carried along. And, the judgment has been passed, and unfortunately to some people, the Supreme Court put to rest every other discussions. Senator Hope Uzodimma is like a child of circumstance, a destiny child, because ordinarily, if the first is disqualified, the second would have taken the position. But unfortunately, you could see that the fourth now took the first position. So, my advice is that we should give him the support. Imo state is our own. There is nothing we can do about it.
As a stakeholder in Imo State, what do you think are the expectations of Governor Hope Uzodimma?
I want him to run an all-inclusive government, by carrying people along. He should be spiritual, think, seek advice and have an open door policy. He has the opportunity to still play his card and role well. He should not discontinue certain projects Ihedioha started. He should invite people and study the projects and anyone that is for the good and general interest of the people, he should adopt them. It has nothing to do with political party but about people of the state. Meritocracy should be his watchword. He should profile the people, those who have the merit, should be co-opted into the government. Those who have shown some pedigrees and have done well in their various fields, those who through their opinions or actions, have shown sincerity and honesty to work for the state, should be co opted. He has a history to make. He has history to make and therefore put party politics aside.
Many received the news of the removal of Ihedioha with shock, why was it so?
I will say that 100 percent of Imo people received the news with shock. Some had pleasant shock, while others were unpleasantly shocked because nobody saw it coming. Though many say it was played out of a written script by some powers, whether physical or spiritual, that is a different issue. All I know is that we were all taken by surprise. However, the Uzodimma we are talking about is a big fish in the field of politics, not a push-over. He also has his own followers. As we are talking, many of his opponents, including the House of Assembly members have come to pinch tent with him.
How do you see the alliance, especially that of Imo Legislators who were not members of APC with Governor Uzodimma?
Yes, we read that some Imo House of Assembly members from PDP, APGA and AA have joined APC that had no single member in the House. In fact, it is dangerous for such spontaneous alliance to take place. I wish it is for the good of Imo people. It is just like an enemy to your enemy becoming your friend.
What is your advice to Ihedioha concerning the issue?
Emeka Ihedioha should take it as an act of God, and should therefore go back to the drawing board. Believe me, within the next four years, if the people, out of sympathy, feel he was robbed, they will definitely bring him back. He is part of Imo State and should not cut off himself. He should try to show his relevance in the state, even in his private capacity and one-time governor of the state.
On what areas do you want Governor Uzodimma to focus for now?
Good road is for everybody, and it is a duty the government owes the people. The government of Ihedioha made Imo roads motorable and people are commending him for the palliative measures. That enhanced flow of traffic at major areas across the state. And, if he was able to do that within seven months, it means, he would have done more if given the opportunity. Therefore, Senator Hope Uzodimma should take the issue of roads in Imo State as his priority for now, followed by other projects and programmes.