A year ago today, a Governor elected by the people was sworn-in to at the Dan Anyiam Staduim Complex.
The inauguration was heralded with joy and songs of liberation. People came from far and near. The mammoth crowd comprised of both old and young, from all walks of life and all shades of human endeavor. A lot of tears were shed. Imolites were excited that at long last, they have a Governor who came prepared for service. A Governor they could call one of their own.
His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, CON, fully aware of the enormity of the task ahead, wasted no time to set the ball rolling. He assumed leadership immediately and began to take responsibility, while elevating the State brand status to the outside world.
In the seven months he stayed in office, he was vilified and insulted, but he remained unshaken in his resolve to move the State forward. In his Inaugural speech, a paragraph stands out:
“Elections are over. Governance must now begin. Politics is over, development must now begin. We must now shove aside partisan political battles, petty bickering and quarrels and work together for the common good of our people. I pledge before you today, that I will be the Governor of all Ndi-Imo irrespective of your geopolitical zones and political affiliations. We will run an accountable and inclusive Administration.”
Without pretense, Ihedioha lived up to his words and began to comprehensively rebuild Imo.
In the Sports Sector, the #RebuildImo Administration began the renovation of the famous and prior-abandoned Dan Anyiam Stadium Complex, with the Grasshoppers Handball Staduim and the the training pitch, all inclusive.
To reduce pressure on the state-owned sporting complex, while also encouraging local sports talent discovery, the LGAs began the construction of Mini Stadia/ Youth Development Centres, while those who had existing structures began to renovate them.
In areas of Infrastructure, Ihedioha laid a wonderful foundation for infrastructural development in the State. This saw to the flagging-off of over 31 roads as at December, 2019. These roads were not limited to the city, the rural communities benefited also.
In addition, there were over 300 kilometres of Road being constructed under the State government’s partnership with the World Bank, under the Rural Access Mobility Project (RAMP).
A 10 billion Naira erosion project was attracted at Urualla with the counterpart funds fully paid by the Ihedioha Administration.
The AfriExim Bank also saw Imo as a fertile ground to build their 60 billion dollars quality control and investment hub.
Imo State was opened up for business and investors were once again trooping in from all angles.
One of the reasons Governor Ihedioha was able to achieve all these in such a short while was his unwavering commitment towards restoring public confidence in the system.
Before this day a year ago, Imolites had lost confidence in governance and would see everything from the government as “usual lies”.
This glaring issue was tackled by the Ihedioha Administration through running a transparent and accountable government, which gave the people hope to believe in the system yet again.
The historic 50 Days in Office saw Ihedioha sign the Treasury Single Account into Law, closing over 250 revenue collection accounts into a single consolidated account. This process also saw to an end to the issue of multiple taxation which was the norm before May 29th, 2019.
It is impossible to complete this write up without paying tribute to Justice Chima Centus Nwaeze who in his wisdom gave a dissenting Judgment during the Supreme Court Review Case on Ihedioha.
The review came up after a controversial and widely-condemned Judgment was delivered by the Supreme Court on January 14th, declaring a man who came 4th in an election as the winner. However the Supreme Court came to that conclusion will continue to haunt their conscience forever.
Ihedioha served the people of Imo State with the fear of God. He did his best through constant stakeholders engagement, to ensure that Imolites were brought together on the same page.
He never played the “Eze Onye Akwalam” politics. His appointments ensured the principle of fairness and equity in the distribution of public posts and socio-economic infrastructures among all the zones in the State.
The story of Imo State changed for the better, and Imo began to attract global recognitions again. I recall that the National Bureau of Statistics in November 2019, declared Imo in their quarterly rating as the Least Corrupt State in Nigeria.
The story of Ihedioha’s short but efficient stay in office is too long and rich to be summarized in a single writeup or any written piece at that.
There were silent revolution in the Education sector, the Local Goverment was made functional again. The health System was strategically being overhauled while the Agricultural sector was already on the fast lane. Public water for restored and power generation increased from less than 10 hours a day to 18 hours a day.
In one year, Ihedioha would have commissioned a lot of projects for Ndi Imo. In one year, Ihedioha would have comprehensively repositioned the State from a once-struggling State to a State of endless possibilities.
As Imolites remember the day their Liberation came. Let us not be overwhelmed by the present situation.
Power belongs to God and what ever God has prepared for his son Emeka Ihedioha, shall definitely come to pass.
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