One week into his inauguration, Imolites assess their new GovernorI

Anthony Opara

A new refrain of sorts has taken over the air-waves in Imo State with Imolites chanting that ‘Emeka ga eme ihedioha nma’ which means that Emeka Ihedioha the newly innaugurated Governor of the state will do what pleases the people of the state. 

And in this, he appears to be on the right track with his early moves.  He has appointed the former member of the House of Representatives representing Owerri Federal Constituency (2003 to 2007) Uche Onyeagucha as the Secretary to the Government. Onyeagucha was a chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and at a time Special Adviser to Governor Okorocha.  He fell out with the latter and pitched his tent with the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA from where he wanted to run for Governor. 

Following the farce of a primary election organized by the party and which was widely condemned by all of the other aspirants that failed to get the ticket, he left the party and joined the PDP.

Onyeagucha, who was the only APGA member of the 2nd House of Representatives set in the current dispensation, represented Owerri Federal Consituency in the Federal House. He is a graduate of the University of Calabar and University of Science and Technology UST Port Harcourt.  He was one of the earliest to challenge former Governor Rochas Okorocha when the latter announced that he would support his son-in-law Uche Nwosu to replace him as Governor.

Onyeagucha told the former Governor that his son-in-law will never be Governor in Imo State. After a few manouvres, he finally aligned himself with the PDP and was instrumental in the victory of the party in the February 23 Gubernatorial elections that saw the emergence of Chief Ihedioha as the sixth elected Governor of the state.

To serve as Chief of Staff to the Governor is Chief Chris Okweluonu.  Another lawyer, Chima Nwanna is the Deputy Chief of State while the Chief of Protocol is Chief Chinemerem Madu.  These early appointments are a departure from what waswitnessed in the Rochas Okorocha era when appointments were concentrated in the hands of family members and friends in what people now call familiocracy. Instructively also for the new administration, the early appointees equally come from diferent political zones of the state unlike Rochas who concentrated his appointments in his native Orlu zone where he hailed from.

Veteran journalist and member of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, Steve Osuji is the Media Adviser to the Governor.  Osuji has held several high level positions in the media world and was for a short period Media Adviser to Governor Ikedi Ohakim.  His appointment has been seen as a square peg in a square hole though there are many who argue that Osuji is also qualified to be Commissioner for Information rather than Media Adviser.  He has however since resumed duties in Owerri.

What could have been a low spot in the new administration was quickly nipped in the bud by the media team of the Government.  It was the pulling down of an edifice nicknamed Akachi which Rochas had erected on a large expanse of land owned by Njoku Sawmills.  Imolites said the edifice, which was apparently borrowed from a similar one in Iraq, was a slap on the face of the people especially given that Rochas who built this monstrosity did so even as he owed workers and pensioners months of unpaid salaries and allowances. The former Governor also spent humongous amounts of money moulding statues of prominent Africans such as Jacob Zuma of South Africa and Helen Sirleaf Johnson, fprmer President of Liberia.  Many said he also grudgingly moulded one of General Mohammadu Buhari as a way of currying favour from him but the President was not on hand to commission the statue by himself but sent the Vice President Professor Yomi Osinbajo who also commissioned several unfinished projects in the state in the nadir of his administration.

Governor Ihedioha has also paid a working visit to the State House where he met the house in a very dilapidated state but said his administration would not give any excuses but commence the hard work of ensuring that Imo Citizens enjoy the dividends of democracy.  The former Governor did not also drop a handover note but the new Governor has directed the Principal Secretary to the former Governor and the Head of Service to submit to his office within twenty four hours the state of affairs in the state.  He announced that Governor Rochas left a debt of ove 70billion naira though the former Governor stated that he left behind 42 Billion for the incomng PDP Government.

Ihedioha has also gone on to address a retreat for members of the House of Assembly, made an on-the-spot tour of erosion sites abutting the famous Oguta Lake and participated in the World Environment Day exercise. He has also held a troubleshooting session with aggrieved medical doctors in the state.

A political analyst in the state, Charles Chukwuemeka told The Difference Newspaper that from early indications, the new Governor has started on a good note and that he believes that he will do well.  Another analyst, Charles Opara, who is the Ose Oji of Owerri said that Imo people were happy with the Governor adding that they expected him to do what will please the people of Imo State.  The Difference Newspaper will watch from a close distance the happenings in the state to see whether Emeka will truly do Ihedioha Nma.

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