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The equity Imo craves for

by OkeomaNews

By Oguwike Nwachuku

At the end of its first quarterly meeting in Owerri recently, precisely on April 13, 2023, members of the Imo State Council of Elders took far reaching decision that would go a long way in stabilizing the political dynamics and soothing frayed nerves in our dear State.

For the benefit of those who do not know, the Imo State Council of Elders is a statutory body established by the law of Imo State, empowered with the responsibility of advising the State government and people of Imo State on issues of public interest for the peace, unity and good governance of the State.

It is a non-partisan body with membership derived from men and women of Imo State origin, across the three geopolitical zones of Okigwe, Orlu and Owerri, with impeccable records of accomplishments in politics, academia, military, para-military, business, customs and tradition, religion as well as other professional and vocational persuasions.

So, this is how valuable the body, the Imo State Elders Council, is.

Though the decisions reached at the said meeting for which a Communique signed by the Chairman, HRM, Eze Dr. Cletus Ilomuanya and Secretary, Rt. Hon. Maxwell Duru respectively was raised, cut across different segments of our dear State, one particular area the elders took a position that is reverberating across the length and breadth of Imo is the much talked about Imo Charter of Equity.

Many people from the State believe that the idea has not been properly situated and implemented to reflect the contestation in the three geo-political zones that make up Imo. Therefore, it is the desire of the elders and well meaning Imo people that the Charter of Equity be given ample play now in the interest of all Ndi Imo.

This is also borne out of the fact that members of the Council can only be happy when their State and her people are happy and sad, when the State and her people are sad. Call the elders who are members of the Council the conscience of the State, you would not be wrong.

So, it was heart-warming when news filtered out that members of this noble body rose from their first meeting of the year, proposing, agreeing and resolving to give the Charter of Equity the needed fillip and bite as well as to disabuse the minds of Ndi Imo on the notion that it is merely a recurring decimal with the features of ogbanje that appears and disappears only during periods of elections in Imo State.

Kudos to the Chief Dan Nwanyanwu-led Strategy Committee of the Imo State Council of Elders that painstakingly and objectively considered the issues ailing Imo currently and to our erudite scholar and former INEC Chairman, Prof Maurice Iwu, who conceived and moved the motion that was overwhelmingly bought into by his colleagues for the Charter of Equity to be alive.

There is no doubt that Prof Iwu’s motion awakened the consciousness of the generality of the elders who probably did not know that they were on a renewed mission to make lasting and enduring history for Imo State with the Charter of Equity.

And I think they have unknowingly, but permanently bought a place for themselves in the good books of history in Imo State, particularly if they put in the extra effort of joining everyone, including the government, to ensure its implementation.

Yes, the Nwanyanwu-led report includes that the incumbent Governor of Imo State, Sen. Hope Uzodimma, deserves a second term in office in line with the earlier decision by Ndi Imo at a Stakeholders meeting on January this year that the governor has done very well and so, should be supported to go for a second term that will bring to an end his tenure come 2027.

However, the role the elders recently played to chart an enduring and stabilizing political course for Ndi Imo goes beyond what anyone thinks about Governor Uzodimma’s re-election bid.

Those with deep intuitive perception know that the ultimate beneficiary in the effort to strengthen the processes of political contestation and quest for power in Imo State will always be the people themselves. It is not and can never be about Uzodimma’s reelection bid.

With the governorship, deputy governorship and speaker’s positions properly defined and zoned among the three zones in Imo State and the tenure also determined, one can, therefore, beat one’s chest and say that Imo is on the way to sustained political stability, socio-economic rejuvenation and unimaginable prosperity for all. Who says Imo is not on the path to recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction?

The beauty of what is unfolding with the Charter of Equity is that by God’s grace, Governor Uzodimma will round off his tenure in 2027, after eight years in office, thereby paving the way for Owerri zone to have her turn of eight years and thereafter, Okigwe zone.

Part of the communiqué reads: “That to further spread this Charter of Equity, it shall be enshrined that no other zone can hold Office of Governor and Speaker of the House of Assembly at the same time or Office of Deputy Governor and Speaker at the same time.

“That whereas the Council is not unmindful of the unethical antics of some politicians who might scheme to thwart this rotational arrangement done in good conscience for their selfish reasons, the Council also resolved that for the forthcoming November election, other zones are enjoined to drop their Governorship ambition to enable Governor Hope Uzodimma complete the tenure of Orlu zone.”

I have read a few lines from those I am constrained to consider enemies of Ndi Imo. I mean those consistent in not seeing anything good about the current government of Imo State. Before the outsiders they are champions. Perhaps, they are seen as champions due to how they run down the affairs of their State, unfortunately if things do not go their way.

I have come across a piece credited to foremost progressive intellectual, philosopher, activist, Prof. T U Nwala, a prominent academic from Imo who reportedly accused members of the Elders Council of collecting N2 million each to sign the Charter of Equity.

In the said news item, Prof. Nwala also picked holes in the endorsement of Governor Uzodimma by members of the Council, insinuating that their action is petty, childish, huge joke, a charade and exercise in futility. He tarred the elders as card carrying members of the APC, a highly uncharitable comment, oozing blackmail.

As an octogenarian, Prof. Nwala should be concerned and interested in things that guarantee the peace, unity, wellbeing, progress of the society, more so, in his own State. But I doubt if that is what he is doing currently.

The energy God has graciously endowed him with now should no longer be for the hitherto doctrine of vigorous action or demonstration geared towards achieving personal political or other goals.

Far from suggesting that Prof. Nwala becomes lethargic in his approach to issues, the position he occupies in the society currently should not be that of a man who always delights in making inflammatory comments with the concomitant negative ripple effects that does no one any good.

I do not think that the 7th Edition of the Imo Stakeholders Forum which held on January 5, 2023, the day Ndi Imo from different backgrounds and persuasions met and endorsed Governor Uzodimma for a second term was an assemblage of never-do-well Imo elders or All Progressives Congress (APC) card-carrying members as Prof. Nwala tried to paint a picture of them.

I am sure Prof. Nwala knew that Dr. Pascal Dozie, the Chairman of the event, does not belong to APC. Mr. Leo Stan Ekeh, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Dr. Kema Chikwe, Senator Chris Anyanwu, and many more prominent Imo sons and daughters who attended the event do not belong to APC.

Then the question is, what actually is Prof Nwala’s grouse? Is he saying that it is not high time Ndi Imo got serious with a political arrangement that would guarantee sustained, deepened, viable political journey, and consequently, good governance and better life for our people? What is ailing him in Governor Uzodimma completing his tenure in 2027 for Orlu zone and then an Owerri son/daughter takes over?

Today in Imo State, it is doubtful if any of the governorship candidates of the other political parties, including the ones Prof. Nwala may have sympathy for, can compete with Governor Uzodimma in a free, fair and credible election. Ndi Imo are aware of this and I doubt if Prof Nwala is not, sincerely speaking.

And you ask again: With what credentials or record of performance are the other candidaes going to confront Ndi Imo to vote them and not Uzodimma in November? All the roads leading to where the candidates of all the opponents to Uzodimma in the November governorship election come from were fixed by the sitting governor. Owerri-Orlu, Owerri-Okigwe and now Owerri-Mbaise-Umuahia roads are there for even the blind to see. Who brought Federal University Teaching Hospital for Federal University of Technology Owerri to Imo State?

Governor Uzodimma’s scorecard in agriculture, tourism, housing, commerce and industry, health, land administration, local government administration, social development, youth empowerment/skill acquisition, civil service reform, education, rule of law /justice administration, et al are there to speak for him come November.

His administration has shown commitment to bring a number of benefits to the people of Imo State, both tangible and intangible. He has initiated reforms that have immediate, medium and long term benefits to the people.

The Shared Prosperity 3R programmes and projects associated with Governor Uzodimma are designed to outlive him and that speaks to the quality of his administration.

From all indications, by the time the governor rounds off his first term in office and recharges to start a new tenure come January 15, 2024, Imo State would have been placed on a sound footing to consolidate on all the gains from governance indices that would make her not just competitive in the country, but politically stable and economically viable to unleash prosperity on the people.

One of the things that the government of Governor Uzodimma wants to use to achieve the badly needed political stability in Imo State and consequently place the people on a good stead to live prosperously and happily, is the much talked about Imo Charter of Equity, an idea that is treated with levity and roundly reduced as a mere political tool that appears and disappears like Abiku only during elections in Imo State.

If Prof. Nwala and other critics of Governor Uzodimma do not know that moribund companies like the Adapalm, Owerri Standard Shoe Company, Nsu Ceramics, among others have been given attention by his administration, do they think Ndi Imo in their millions do not know?

If some people have chosen to be blind over the verifiable projects and programmes of Governor Uzodimma, do they expect that all Imo citizens, including those who are direct beneficiaries of the projects/programmes, will willingly also go blind?

Prof. Nwala should spare a thought about how some army of hired interim writers on Imo affairs are making a jest of themselves, criticizing the decision of the elders on the Charter of Equity.

The truth is that Governor Uzodimma’s Shared Prosperity 3R Government of Imo State is real and has caught up with the people, the real reason his government exists.

The Charter of Equity which will irretrievably change the hitherto narrative of political gerrymandering in Imo State is in sync with Governor Uzodimma’s agenda of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, and Recovery.

Make no mistakes about it, Governor Uzodimma’s government will give the Charter the deserved implementation it requires for the sake of Ndi Imo and their future generation.

Today, the equity Imo people craves for is here and it has finally come to stay.

·Nwachuku, Chief Press Secretary/Media Adviser to Governor Uzodimma, writes from Owerri.

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