George Onyejiuwa and Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, has lauded reforms launched by Imo State Governor, Emeka Ihedioha.
Tambuwal, who spoke when he visited Ihedioha in Owerri, yesterday, expressed optimism that Ihedioha will surmount the challenges faced by his administration to re-build the state.
“For entrenching good governance, transparency and accountability, I believe that Governor Ihedioha will deliver his promises to the people of Imo State. We have heard so much of the good things happening in the state. We have seen ongoing projects initiated by the government.
“I urge you to continue in the path of good governance, transparency, consultation and inclusivity. I have confidence that you will do well and the people of Imo will have no cause to regret electing you as governor.”
Tambuwal was accompanied by former deputy leader of the Senate, Abdul Ningi and former House of Representatives member, Ichie Ozo Mgbachi.
Governor Ihedioha thanked Tambuwal for identifying with the state and pledged not to disappoint Imo people who gave him the mandate.
“Despite the fact that we met a devastated state, the task of rebuilding Imo is one that must be accomplished because our people are eager to enjoy good governance and democracy dividends,” Ihedioha said.
Meanwhile, Governor Ihedioha has told delegation of the British High Commission to Nigeria that the state applied to join the Open Government Partnership in order to entrench transparency in public service.
He stated this when he received the team in Owerri, yesterday.
Represented by his deputy, Gerald Irona, the governor described Imo as an investment-friendly state, reiterating the commitment of his administration to partner international organizations in ensuring good governance.
“In Imo, we are highly enterprising and investor-friendly. We have huge potential in tourism, agriculture and education. We have applied to join the Open Government Partnership as one of our transparency initiatives. We are opening up the government for citizens’ scrutiny and participation.
We have opened an Efficiency Unit in the Ministry of Finance, with a view to reducing the cost of governance,” he said.
The governor, however, lamented that he inherited decayed infrastructure and poor morale of citizens, occasioned by years of poor governance.
“Pensioners were owed for over 80 months, but we have started paying.We met an Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) base of N258 million monthly. We introduced reforms to entrench transparency and accountability in governance.
“Treasury Single Account was introduced and so many leakages in revenue have been blocked. Last month, we generated over N800million, as against N258million inherited as IGR.”
The governor said steps had been taken towards restoring public confidence in governance, with the rule of law as a cardinal principle. He said the state would also welcome genuine investors.
“We are investment-friendly; we have set up a desk for ease of doing business. We seek investments in the areas of power, agriculture and tourism. Imo is willing and ready to partner with investors,” Ihedioha said.
The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, said they were in the state to identify areas of possible support through the Department for International Development.
“We have programmes that will be beneficial to you. We also wish to understand the challenges you are facing,” Laing said.