Chief Willy Ezugwu, President and National Coordinator of the South East Revival Group (SERG) and the Secretary General of Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), has expressed optimism that the newly inaugurated administration of Governor Hope Uzodinma will turn Imo State around. He also spoke on the recent Supreme Court judgement and called for unity of purpose among indigenes of Imo state.
What is your reaction to the recent Supreme Court verdict that sacked Chief Emeka Ihedioha as Governor of Imo State governor and declared Senator Hope Uzodinma winner?
As members of the South East Revival Group, we described the validation of the election of Senator Hope Uzodinma as Governor of Imo State as a good omen because we see life from God’s perspective. It is only God that enthrones and can dethrone, that is why we urged all Imolites to see the Supreme Court verdict as an act of God. To whom shall you appeal? It is time we looked at life from the spiritual perspective and stop killing ourselves over nothing. The judgment was unanimous without a single dissenting voice. The seven justices held that Hope Uzodinma won by valid votes and the decision was based on facts before the highest court in the country. They have said that Uzodinma is the validly elected governor. I think that at this time we have to see how we can move ahead, carry everyone along and make progress as South Easterners.
The question everybody is asking now is how do you explain it that a candidate who came a distant fourth was declared winner of the governorship election?
Most critics of the judgment are interested politicians holding on to the straw like drowning people. I have contested elections and I have been to the Election Petition Tribunal. I can tell how it feels to lose a case at the Election Petition Tribunal or the courts. However, how do you reconcile a situation where, as a candidate, your valid votes are cancelled deliberately to put you at a distant fourth to make you appear as a bad loser? How do you explain that? If your victory at election is badly robbed to place you at a distant fourth position, in connivance with the Independent National Electoral commission (INEC) officials. where do you go for redress in such a situation, is it not the court? The only place where cases of disagreement on any issue is settled on point of law is the court whose duty it is to examine the facts and make a decision. So, following the sentiments of politicians to condemn the verdict of the Supreme Court without taking into account the reasons for their verdict is pure display of emotions. That’s the way I see it. We should be arguing based on the point of law and what transpired in the court not based on electoral interest. Let me remind you that he was elected Senator for the Orlu zone in 2011 on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) platform but his election was challenged on grounds that he was not the valid PDP candidate. It took the Supreme Court to declare that his election was valid. So, you can now understand that he is not new to election litigations and he has always come out victorious?
How do you see Imo State under the administration of Governor Uzodinma?
I’m personally convinced, just like the SERG has said that Senator Uzodinma will outperform all the governors that have ruled Imo State. I have strong belief that by the time his tenure ends, he will be celebrated by Imolites, just like late Sam Mbakwe was celebrated. The only thing I would want him to do is to focus on development of Imo State. There is no need to waste energy fighting individuals and before you realise it, your tenure has ended without any legacy to point at. He will deliver because he is focused and won’t allow himself to be distracted by critics and he won’t chase the wind. That is why we urged him in our press statement to reconcile Imolites and rebuild the state as a man sent by God. I know that he will put smiles on the faces of the good people of the state just as he did as a Senator. He lived up to the overall expectations of his then constituency, the people of Orlu zone and the entire Imo State in general.
Federal Government projects were visible in all the 12 Local government areas in Orlu zone during Uzodinma’s tenure as the Senator. It is on record that he facilitated the construction of roads in the zone and the setting up of rural electrification projects across the zone. Among the various human capacity projects, he initiated are bore-holes and gainful employment of youths and women in the zone.
Uzodinma was vibrant in the Senate and initiated bills and expanded his legislative representation beyond his senatorial zone. As the Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, he made a case for the upgrade of the Sam Mbakwe Airport in Owerri to an International Cargo Airport, which it was originally designed to be. That is the type of man Senator Uzodinma is. It is not surprising that Imo people voted for him. He will in turn change the lives of Imo residents as an appreciation for the confidence they have reposed in him to deliver Imo State.
What will be your advice to Imo State people?
They should continue to trust him and be cooperative so that he can deliver on his campaign promises. It is better to ask questions and demand answers than to become an armchair critic for political purposes. The election is over, the people of Imo State should unite and get the best from the new governor. No state or country can develop with unity of purpose.