By Ori Martins
Make no mistakes about it. Your eyes are not deceiving you. Yes. Governor Emeka Ihedioha is a political wizard. That is, he is a political mathematician. He solves all political problems with an incurable easse. As a matter of fact, he has sent all the jaundiced critics and deciminated opposition with seven dangerous wizards. It really caught them unawares, forcing them to scampper for safety. Why not: wizard is the man with magic wand and seven is is a symbolic and significant number. The summary is: Ihedioha’s seven grand feats in less than seven months.
First, the pension riddle solved. For more than six years, during the reign of former governor, Senator Rochas Okorocha, pensions were not paid in Imo State. Pensioners were starved to death. Some of them died of preventable diseases and illnesses. Others slumped and died during verifications. It was a pathetic affair. Employing his magical touch, Ihedioha painstakingly solved the pension riddle and has dutifully commenced payment of pensions to pensioners. This feat was made possible through Chief Paschal G. Madu, the chief technical adviser to the governor. Imo pensioners are now beaming with smiles. No more tears.
Second, recruitment of 4000 teachers for primary and secondary schools. The range covers teaching and non teaching positions. Just imagine the economic empowerment 4000 Imolites are to gain from this visionary employment policy. The lucky applicants will not only be penciled down for monthly salary earnings, they will all be entitled to gratuities and pensions upon retirement. This commendable action is being supervised by the ministry of education and conducted by Imo State Universal Basic Education Board headed by erudite Prof Obioma Iheduru.
Still in education, Ihedioha, in a bid to provide practical knowledge of different skills and increase the potentialities of Imo youths, has commenced the reconstruction of the four technical colleges at Okporo in Orlu, Osu in Isiala Mbano LGA, Ahiara in Ahiazu LGA and Government Technical College, Owerri. This is in line with government’s pledge to rescucitate Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) in the state.
Third, the massive road reconstruction going on in the state is a pointer that Ihedioha frankly understands the practical importance of developing both the urban and rural communities at almost equal basis. As an administrator with both local, national and international capacity nay contact, Ihedioha, commendably as well as comprehensively, explored foreign aids by attracting global agencies in progressive partnership with Third World Countries. This way, RAMP, World Bank, and other counterpart funding projects were facilitated and attracted by Ihedioha.
The good result is that there are massive road reconstruction projects going on now across the three senatorial zones of the states, cutting across communities and villages. For instance, there is the Owerri -Egbu- Mbaise – Obowo 52 kilometre road, Owerri -Njaba -Orlu 32 kilometre road, Owerri – Amaraku-Anara – Onuimo -Umunna-Okgwe 51 kilometre road, Aboh – It – Ezinihitte seven kilometre road, Achingali – Onicha – Udo na Onizi 14 kilometre road, Naze Poly – Ihiagwa – Obinze 17 kilometre road, Njaba – Nkume Y Junction – Umuoma – Oweere- Ebiri – Orlu road, Imo State Teaching Hospital Road, Ogwoghoroanya – Avutu – Umunnachi Roadabout Obowo, Ahiara Junction – Aba Branch road as well as Mbaise Ngor Okpala Road, and indeed many others. What is more these projects are handled by foreign contractors like CCECC, Aero Contractors, Harbour Engineering Contractors, Zerock, as well as established local firm like Cudoc.
Fourth, in sports, Ihedioha has achieved greatness. The Dan Anyiam Stadium which was abandoned for eight years is now under construction. The turf will soon go green, the terraces are reconstructed with new seats, floodlights to be restored and electrinic scoreboard to be in place . Also, the Grasshoppers International Handball Pitch is also under reconstruction. The contract for these jobs have been awarded, agreement signed and money released. With this period, the Imo State Sports Commission was created and headed by Chief Fan Ndubuoke. So far, the commission, with aids from the state government has sponsored Team Imo to the National Youth Sports Competition held in Ilorin. The commission also sent both the volleyball and handball teams to Lagos for national competitions. It was the first of its kind in eight years. The commission is planning Imo State Sports Festival for December, Sam Okwaraji Under 17 Football Tourney, Perpetua Nkwocha Women Football Tourney qs well as Duck Tiger Boxing Competition.
Fifth, there is the Open Government Partnership (OGP) meant to ensure that government businesses and activities are not done secretly any longer. With OGP, everything is discussed in details by the agency or parastatal involved. Contracts are gazetted and bidded before they are awarded. Every policy move or drive is well debated during the weekly executive council meeting and action plan taken. This is the hallmark of Ihedioha’s administrative ingenuity.
Sixth, probably, the decision of the Ihedioha administration to empower as well as engage the youths through the Imo Youths In Agribusiness (IYAP) is a sure way of securing a better tomorrow for the youths. IYAP has recorded three batches of graduates at the International Skills Acquisition Centre Gora, Nassarawa.Thus, Ihedioha is employing education, sports and agribusiness to transform and equip the Imo youths for a greater tomorrow.
Seventh, due process, fairness, equity, justice and state spread are the vital tools Ihedioha is applying to drive Imo as the most viable state in the country. In picking his appointments, he considered merit, zone and capacity. For instance, the chief of staff hails from Obowo, Okigwe zone. His deputy of staff hails from Orlu. The secretary to the government is from Owerri West just as he never made an Mbaise ward the OCDA boss. Also, the commissioner of finance is from Okigwe not Mbaise ward, the commissioner of works is from Orlu, not an Mbaise man, the accountant general is Orlu and also not Mbaise. You are equally aware that the head of service is from Ikeduru and the man incharge of primary healthcare is from Ngor Okpala. You can see spread, zoning and good conscience rather nepotism, classiness and one-sided approaches.
These are the wonders of Ihedioha – a man of intellectual capacity, social catalyst and political sagacity. He is a wizard at all scopes of governance.