If there is any man in the world who had unshaken belief that Senator Hope Uzodinma was destined to be the governor of Imo State, he is one of the campaign council directors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Imo State, Evangelist Tony Grey Okpe.
About six months ago, Evangelist Okpe had stated emphatically in an interview with this newspaper that Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha was merely holding brief for Senator Uzodinma to take over the Douglas House in Owerri.
Even when the lower courts began to give judgments in favour of Ihedioha, he did not waiver, but rather remained steadfast on his belief and last Tuesday, January 14, his faith was made flesh as Supreme Court declared Senator Uzodinma, the duly elected governor of Imo State.
In this interview, the former All Progressives Grand Alliance Senatorial candidate aspirant for Owerri-West in the 2019 general election spoke on his belief in Uzodinma, the Imo project, as well as on other issues. Excerpts:
You prophesied about six months ago that Senator Hope Uzodinma would be declared duly elected governor of Imo State by the tribunal or higher courts and it has come to pass. Are you a prophet?
Well, I am an ordained evangelist. The Bible tells us that God told Prophet Jeremiah that before he was conceived, that He (God) already knew who Jeremiah was and who he would be. Prophecy in itself is your ability to decipher what God`s plan for the future. I am proud to say that I have that ability.
Now that Uzodinma has been declared governor, do you still believe in his ability to perform?
Let me say that I have known the governor closely for at least 30 years. He is a man of class. He is an ardent believer in excellence in all that he does. In fact, the governor is the greatest giver of our generation. If a man can give you his last penny and deny himself all the comfort that he needs, why don’t you think that he will mesmerize Imolites with excellent projects. Imo is blessed with Senator Hope Uzodinma as their governor at this point in time in history.
Can you vow that Uzodinma will move Imo forward?
I was a director in the governor`s campaign council in the last election. I would not have been there if I cannot vow for him. Imolites will see multinational construction companies coming to do 21st Century road construction and not what was going on in the last administration.
But what can you say about the state of roads in Imo?
They are despicable and very shameful. I am assuring Imolites on behalf of the governor that bad roads would soon become a thing of the past within 90 days. The local government councils must be made up and running.
The past administration directed the LGA chairmen to construct stadia in all the 27 councils in Imo, how do you see it?
That is the most fraudulent source of siphoning funds because the stadia are not on any priority list. You simply rob Peter to pay Paul. Some Local government areas like Okigwe, Orlu and Owerri municipals have existing stadia, so what is the economic sense of constructing more in such areas. So, as far as I am concerned, the stadium is a project that was designed to siphon public funds.
But Ihedioha government claimed that they came to rebuild Imo from the mess left by Okorocha`s regime?
Well, I don’t wish to speak about Okorocha`s regime. Let posterity judge him. However, I know that it will be very harsh on him. Okorocha is a modern day Ahab in the old testament. But Ihedioha does not seem to have the capacity to govern as a governor. He may be better at the green chambers than at Douglas House. He thought that driving long convoys with motorcycles in front is tantamount to leadership. In fact, I don’t think Ihedioha has the mental capacity to be a local government chairman. Let me also add that Ihedioha has a wife who is caring and adorable and Imolites will always remember her stay as the First Lady of our state.
What advice do you have for the people of Imo?
The advice that I have for Imolites is that this is the time for them to rejoice because the hope that they have been waiting for has come. The Bible says that when the righteous is on the throne, the people rejoice. Hope Uzodinma is God-sent to redeem Imo people who have become perennial victims of bad leadership. Since the dawn of this dispensation in 1999, what we have been witnessing in Imo is a transition from one bad government to another. However, I am optimistic that Senator Uzodinma is going to break the jinx of bad governance that seems to have become the norm in Imo State. That is why I am saying that they should rejoice because the hope that they are looking for has come.
Then, what is your advice to the governor?
He should create happiness. The people have been suffering for a very long time, so he should provide succour. I want to make haste to say that these things that I am saying are not new to the governor. He has been doing them in his personal capacity and with his own hard earned resources. I earlier said that he is the greatest giver of our generation. As far as he is concerned, others first and him last. That has been his life philosophy. What concerns others comes first, while what concerns himself comes last. He lives by his name, that is, he gives hope. He gives in his own inconvenience. The only new thing here is that what he was doing with his own resources as an individual, with state resources, he would be able to be doing more. He would now be doing them in large scale.
Imo state is one of the most educated states in the country, but there are no functioning industries in the state to absorb the graduates, what do you think the governor should do in this regard?
That was what I was saying about misplacement of priorities. The past administration, instead of reasoning along this your thought went on to start building stadia in the 27 local government areas. Stadia at this point in time are not the problem of Imo State. We have far more other pressing needs like the gross unemployment that you mentioned. The governor is going to bring joy to the people of the state in different areas. He is a very friendly person and as such has a lot of people in many capacities, who would bring their intellectual, artistic and technological capacities to the development of the state. At the end of the day, the women, youths and the old would be happy.