Chief Vitus Uzoh is the Deputy President, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Lagos State. Recently, he spoke on the just concluded Supreme Court review panel which upheld Governor Hope Uzodinma as governor of Imo State and said that with litigation over, it was time to forge ahead with policies that would move the state forward.
What is your take on the Supreme Court review verdict on Imo?
Having got to this level, my advice to everyone is to relax. Both camps have fought bitter legal battle and with the Supreme court final review verdict which upheld Governor Uzodinma’s victory, it was time to move forward by coming out with programmes that would benefit Imolites
With the litigation over, what is the way forward?
First and foremost, Emeka Ihedioha has fought like a wounded Lion. And then, the Supreme Court has given the final verdict and there is nothing anyone can do. So, he should wait for his own turn and support Uzodinma to succeed. We are all Imo people and what matters most now is survival of people of the state. Now is the time for him to liaise with Uzodinma on the way forward.
What should be the focus of Uzodinma now?
Uzodinma should have it in mind now that he is the father of the state and that a lot is expected of him. He doesn’t need to be told to perform because to whom much is given, much is also expected. For him to convince Imolites that he is ready for good governance, he has to be exceptionally good. He must perform by focusing on people -oriented programmes. Many people are not happy over this situation but the only thing that would worm him into the heart of the people is to give selfless service to the people of Imo State.
Recently, some people insinuated that Uzodinma established emirates in some parts of the state. Do you believe this assertion?
In the run-up to the election and court battles, a lot of things came up. There were allegations and counter allegations.
But the facts remain that Imo is a predominantly Christian state and there is no way anyone can establish emirates in any part of the state secretly without people noticing it. I see all these things as propaganda and attempt by some persons to distract the governor from doing his job.
So, when people go about spreading such rumor, you will know that it is a calculated plan of calumny to create confusion in the state. I am sure that Uzodinma would overcome these challenges with time.
How can Uzodinma take good governance to Imolites at the grassroots?
I think this time, he has to copy from past governors within and outside the state that have excelled in the area of good governance. In this regard, examples of former governor of the state, Sam Mbakwe and former governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi comes to mind. Mbakwe was known for establishment of ADA Palm plantation and electrification of rural areas. In Anambra, Peter Obi also did very well in road construction in local government areas and autonomous communities. When Obi came on board, he consolidated on achievements of his predecessor, Chris Ngige by reaching out to the 177 communities. Peter Obi touches every community by providing security vehicles for the communities and operational vehicles for all secondary schools in the state. Within a short period, the state moved from educational backward state to one of the best education-oriented state in the country. That is an example of good governance at rural areas.
Uzodinma should focus on healthcare delivery, security, education and job creation. Tackling these challenges at the rural area would endear him to the people.
How should the governor address problem of unemployment?
There are so many ways he could create jobs for thousands of unemployed youths in the state. He can introduce skill acquisition programmes in various local government areas. Some people can acquire certain skills and make living out of it. Small scale industries could also be created across senatorial zones. Something that can help put bread on the table of the poor and also help contribute to the economic growth of the state.
In this regard, traditional rulers could be consulted because they would know where the need is greater, where such industries are needed.
It would even be more beneficial now that the Federal Government has banned food importation of rice into the country. If the state could establish rice plantation and rice mill, this would not only create job, it would also make the state one of the rice producing states in the country.
What do you think the governor should do about contracts already awarded by Ihedioha before Supreme Court sacked him?
I am happy that Uzodinma himself has declared that it is not all contracts awarded by former Governor Ihedioha that would be canceled. He said the ones awarded through due process would be adopted by this present government and supervised until it is completed and commissioned.
This measure is commendable because it would mean continuity in governance with the corresponding result of progress and development in the state.
On this note, I would like to charge such contractors to prove themselves worthy by delivering the job as at when due so as to justify the trust reposed in them by the governor.