For Rt Hon Hon Emeka Ihedioha, CON, KSC, Governor-elect of Imo State his 54th birthday comes with mixed feelings and great expectations.
Over the years, Ihedioha has displayed a rare passion to serve his people. He has remained consistent with his ideology which has him deeply connected to the people of his state and this was reciprocated by the massive votes he garnered in the just concluded governorship election in Imo State.
The 24th day of March every year is always a glorious moment for a man, known for his strong character, humility, selflessness, sense of patriotism and indeed a nationalist with the fear of God.
There is not one definition to summarize the outstanding accomplishments of Hon Ihedioha, a man of many parts who by the grace of God and dint of hard work, rose through the ranks to become the Deputy Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives and recently, Governor-elect of Imo State.
He is indeed one of the few Nigerians, whose attainments in life can be attributed to his personal grit, loyalty to his convictions and not prone to compromises that will either stunt or halt the advancement of the cause of humanity.
Emeka Ihedioha showed early signs in life, such that his strength of character and spark of brilliance marked him out for future leadership. Since then, he has become a model of good character and an embodiment of integrity, twin factors that have guided him through his public service.
His life of service which began with his appointment in 1992, as press officer to then President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, an appointment that was based on his capacity as an effective publicist of immense ability. Thereafter he was elevated to the position of Chief Press Secretary to the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Albert Legogie (late).
At the return to democratic rule in 1999, Rt. Hon. Ihedioha, a founding member of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) was first appointed Special Assistant to the Presidential Adviser on Utilities, Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President of the Senate and later Special Assistant on Political Matters to then Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar GCON.
He contested and won a seat in the House of Representatives as member representing Aboh Mbaise/Ngor Okpala Federal Constituency of Imo State.
For 12 years he was in the House of Representatives having been re-elected thrice by his constituents. Hon. Ihedioha was Chairman, House Committee on Marine Transport, and in his second tenure, he was elected Chief Whip of the House and in his third tenure, he was elected unopposed to become the Deputy Speaker of the House. He did not only give effective representation to his constituents but showcased his passion for the overall betterment of the people of Imo State by spreading the dividends of democracy to the three geo-political zones. In other words, all the three zones – Orlu, Okigwe and Owerri benefited from his representation at the House.
He also facilitated several projects across the zones, provided skill acquisition and empowered over 2,000 Imo youths by facilitating their employment into the Federal Civil Service and granted student scholarships to over 50 students.
Close observers of Nigeria’s political events will attest to Ihedioha’s impressive performance in Nigeria’s green chambers. He did not only sponsor landmark bills which aided in reshaping Nigeria’s political advancement but also initiated bills that played significant roles in improving the growth of the nation’s economy. The passage of two key legislations which reformed the maritime industry which led to increased participation of Nigerians in that sector of the economy is credited to the sterling, committed and determined efforts of Hon. Ihedioha. They are: Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Act, 2007 and the Merchant Shipping Act, 2007.
Ihedioha’s gale of achievements in both public and private life is not the crux of the matter of this piece rather it is a tip of the iceberg of a man whose 54 years sojourn on earth is filled with eloquent testimonies of accomplishments and a burning desire to render more service to the people.
His victory at the governorship polls on March 9, 2019 is a reflection of his widespread acceptance by the Imo electorate who identified him as a liberator, a man of impeccable character whose unflinching commitment for a united, progressive and prosperous Imo State is the key that will unlock the potentials of the State.
Like Moses, Ihedioha is the deliverer who will deliver Imo State from the grip of Pharaoh (Okorocha) who had put the state and its people in perpetual bondage.
From the valley of Owerri to the hills of Okigwe down to the sloppy lands of Orlu, Ihedioha has been embraced by men, women, youths, the elderly as the man with the spark and right mentality to turn Imo State around which will translate to the betterment of the people.
Ihedioha’s 54th birthday celebration comes with his renewed determination to salvage Imo State from the ruins it was plunged into by the inept APC-led government that did not only impoverish the people but made the state a laughing stock.
At 54, he has stood out as an achiever, a consummate politician, a humanist, a selfless leader, a liberator destined by God and ordained by man to rebuild Imo State. He understands the enormous responsibility ahead of him and this is why he has outlined a comprehensive and workable socio economic roadmap aimed at unlocking the potentials of the state.
As a committed and selfless leader who understands the enormous task ahead, the Governor-elect has commissioned a comprehensive study of the status of the state and evolved practical solutions to myriad problems affecting all sectors of the Imo economy which has been in comatose.
Ihedioha’s “Rebuilding Imo from Ruins” is a realistic and practical socio-economic masterpiece that will tackle hydra headed problems and challenges that have made Imo State to be classified a poor state despite its enormous potentials.
Rt. Hon. Ihedioha possesses the much needed midas touch that will open up the state to the global community, make it a huge investment hub for local and foreign investors and a state every Imolite will be proud of. He has come to rebuild Imo State from the ruins, he has come to recover Imo, and he has come to give Imo State a fresh air where the prosperity and unity of the people will be paramount and never be compromised.
With his experience in the public service, the wheels of governance in Imo State will certainly be propelled by Ihedioha. Imo State will embark on a journey for a new beginning, new era, a new dawn that will restore the lost years and place the state on the pedestal of progress and rapid socio economic development.
• Onyeukwu writes from Owerri