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In the aftermath of the image cleansing award which was acquired by the Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma, many of his praise singers and stooges have gone to town, blazing his adorations and basking in naked sycophancy. Many reasons have been postulated to justify the shameful outing embarked upon by The Sun Newspapers. One of such people is High Chief Wilie Amadi, who did his best to paint the governor in saintly robes. For the sake of posterity, we would be debunking everything he wrote there, paragraph by paragraph, to set the records straight, and not to make any point.
REASONS THAT INFLUENCED SUN NEWSPAPERS LTD TO NOMINATE UZODINMA FOR AWARD AS THE BEST SERVING GOVERNOR OF THE YEAR – My Reflections (By High Chief Willie Amadi)
𝐅𝐚𝐥𝐬𝐞𝐡𝐨𝐨𝐝 𝐍𝐮𝐦𝐛𝐞𝐫 𝟏:
(At the inception of this 3R administration two years ago which was characterised by serious security challenges, COVID-19 pandemic and organised instigation of violent attacks through political mischief, blackmail, and somehow some genuine doubts by apolitical citizens, it became very difficult to believe that Governor Hope Uzodinma will be able to place a handle on the leadership of the State and its finances in such a short time).
The inception of the 3R government was not characterised by serious security challenges. On the 14th of January 2020, when Governor Hope Uzodinma took over the administration of the state, the state was not the terror capital of the South-East. The security situation began to worsen in November 2020 when Uzodinma’s lack of tact and absence of leadership culminated in the breakdown of law and order in the state. Uzodinma barely had any policy on security aside from the usual rhetoric in the media, which even exacerbated the situation at every turn. Uzodinma had the opportunity to call for town hall meetings to discuss insecurity, yet his first approach was to invite the members of the Nigerian military, who are renowned for carelessness and extrajudicial murders. That move not only further widened the gap between Imolites and the ‘Ben Johnson’ Governor but also turned the ‘Eastern heartland’ into a ‘theatre of war’.
Two years down the line, has Uzodinma been able to place his hands on the leadership and finances of the state? The answer is no. A governor that goes about blaming opposition elements for insecurity even when he is the ‘Chief Security officer’ is not in charge. A governor who promised to name sponsors of terrorism on the 3rd of January this year only to chicken out in the aftermath is surely not by any means in charge. A governor who has never published the financial position of a state in 30 months either hates accountability or simply is not in charge of the finances of the state.
Falsehood 𝐍𝐮𝐦𝐛𝐞𝐫 𝟐:
(If we flash our minds back to those series of events that tormented his early administration for eighteen months and what is obtainable today, you will agree with me that his midas touch has laid all doubting Thomases and pessimistic thinkers to rest. For example, the workers and pensioners salaries and gratuities were a thorn in the flesh. The pensioners openly protested in front of the Government House gate, dramatically lying down on the highway and crying without tears in their eyes just to act out the script of their sponsored protest. The organised ghost worker’s cabal resisted the 3-Step painstaking electronic verification exercise designed to fish out ghost workers. The exercise saved the government over N2 billion monthly and very soon will be used to create job employment for young Imo citizens. The syndicates gingered and orchestrated all sorts of protests, blackmail, and name-calling against the Governor. The Governor characteristically never for one day responded but kept his eyes on the ball. Today the ghost workers are reduced to almost 90% but we have forgotten so soon because nobody remembers those days and no single individual today claims that he is being owed salary or delayed pension except in special cases that require personal and vital reconciliation of personal data. So where are the unpaid pensioners and civil servants now )?
Did High Chief Amadi just ask where the unpaid pensioners and civil servants are? Well, they are in various hospitals and homes languishing and waiting endlessly for the so-cold verifications embarked upon by the Uzodinma administration which seems not to have an end. Just a few weeks ago, players of Heartland Football Club of Owerri painfully took to the streets to demand payment of their salary arrears and allowances for 11 months. Up until now, these players, who are breadwinners of various families, have continued to rely on false promises from government officials to keep life going. These developments mirror the situation of Imo workers at the moment in various parastatals and agencies.
𝗙𝗮𝗹𝘀𝗲𝗵𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗡𝘂𝗺𝗯𝗲𝗿 𝟯:
(Secondly, the civil servants since this year after the 13th month December gift by the Governor are paid between the 25th and 30th of every month depending on your bank. The opposition has refused to appreciate the Governor for the change of this narrative and now is unable to instigate the vulnerable civil servants and pensioners for the kurukere road protest again).
Lecturers at Imo State Polytechnic, Umuagwo have not been paid for over fifteen months. The government has continued to churn out reasons upon reasons for this, which rarely make meaningful sense. How about those workers in the local governments who have been abandoned since 2020? Many of them have remained unpaid, with arrears running into 20–24 months.
𝗙𝗮𝗹𝘀𝗲𝗵𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗡𝘂𝗺𝗯𝗲𝗿 𝟰:
(Thirdly, during the same period under review the peaceful nature of Imo State particularly the State capital Owerri was seriously compromised by a highly orchestrated and sustained security breaches which aim was to weaken the fledging administration which has gone on autopilot in order to ridicule it before the committee of States and portray it as a failed State. The State capital was held hostage and citizens were helplessly harassed every day without much resistance from the intimidated law enforcement agencies. To drive their points home they attacked and set ablaze the country home of the Governor just to give the impression that Imo is unsafe if the Governor’s home could be torched. The Correctional Services Centre, the State Police Command Headquarters were not speared in this conspiracy of destruction and silence by the plotting “opposition elements” within and outside the State. In all these attacks on the State, killings and grievous injury against Imo citizens no member of the various opposition attended the various Stakeholder’s Meetings convened by the Governor of the State to review and proffer solutions to the security challenges and or the hostage by organised sponsors against the government led by irrepressible Governor Hope Uzodinma).
Does Uzodinma expect the same opposition members whom he has already branded criminals without investigations to attend security meetings if he has even conveyed one? Barely a few hours after the attack on the Correctional Services Centre and the State Police Command Headquarters, Uzodinma boldly came out to declare that he knew those behind the attacks, even without any sort of investigation. Does being a governor give one the liberty to talk carelessly? Was he able to back up his boasts with actions? No!
𝗙𝗮𝗹𝘀𝗲𝗵𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗡𝘂𝗺𝗯𝗲𝗿 𝟱:
(Not even a compliment from them at the eventual return of peace to the State but the answered daily prayers to the Almighty God by Imolites and men of goodwill was the icing on the cake. Today Imo is relatively peaceful and safe with occasional flashes from the hinterlands. So one may ask “When did Imolites become so bitter with bile of hatred and brittle of anger beyond the normal game of politicking” )?
The primary obligation of government, as prescribed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is the security of lives and property. If Uzodinma is waiting for ‘compliments’ despite the ugly security situation still bedeviling the state, then he is not being fair to himself. Today, several communities in Orlu have been deserted with internally displaced persons (IDP’s) running into the thousands, and Uzodinma is waiting for compliments. This is not only laughable but very pitiable! Rather than face the challenge head-on by engaging the people to find out the remote causes of the insecurity, he has chosen to politicise it. Today, bandits, terrorists, cannibals, kidnappers, and unknown gunmen are almost overrunning the state, yet Uzodinma and his goons believe that peace has returned to the state. Shameful!
𝗙𝗮𝗹𝘀𝗲𝗵𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗡𝘂𝗺𝗯𝗲𝗿 𝟲:
(Thirdly, the slight delay of commencing construction of good and quality roads as a result of government planning, sourcing, and recruitment of qualified world-class and renowned contractors which was close to the raining season was exploited by the opposition elements to blackmail the Uzodinma administration of “motion without movement”. The opposition organised media demonstration using gullible youthful citizens to swim in the mud of waterlogged roads at Nekede Polytechnic Ihiagwa and Umuguma just to whip up public sentiments and set the government against her citizens. Today these two roads are beauties to behold and yet no single acknowledgement or commendation for a good job done by our opposition brothers).
How ‘slight’ is this delay that we talk about? With over 2 years of toil and penury by road users in this time frame, is there any moral justification to call it a slight delay?
The Nekede Polytechnic Ihiagwa road is in three phases. To date, the road has not been completed. Only phase one of that road, which is in three phases, has been completed, and commuters are still experiencing untold hardship at various parts of the road. So which ‘beauty’ is High Chief Amadi referring to? The rains are in Imo State again, and one can only imagine how long it would take a serious government to fix a 14km road that strategically connects two federal government institutions.
𝗙𝗮𝗹𝘀𝗲𝗵𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗡𝘂𝗺𝗯𝗲𝗿 𝟳:
(Fourthly, the early stories and doubts surrounding the construction of the signature projects like the brand new Orlu-Owerri and Owerri-Okigwe dualised express roads with street lights has become a daily shocker to the pessimists as Mr. President has been scheduled to commission these roads any time from August this year. The Governor has again promised to start the dualisation of Owerri– Umuahia thereafter).
Governor Uzodinma informed the public in 2020 that he had reached an understanding with Julius Berger for the construction of the Owerri-Orlu Road. Weeks rolled into months and Julius Berger was nowhere to be found. Eventually, it was re-awarded to Craneburg, and many months after, they started working intermittently on some portions of the road in the most disarticulated manner. Despite awarding that 40-kilometer road to the contractor at a dangerously inflated sum of ₦79 Billion, nothing on ground indicates that the road would be ready for commissioning this year. Owerri-Okigwe is still a death trap. Uzodinma promised to ensure the dualisation of Owerri-Umuahia in 2020. Two years later, it has remained just a political promise.
𝗙𝗮𝗹𝘀𝗲𝗵𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗡𝘂𝗺𝗯𝗲𝗿 𝟴:
(Recently, the interesting observations I have made before my acceptance to serve the State and return the State to the level of Environmental Sanitation I left it in 2011 is that firstly, the Hope friends and family knew had turned 360 degrees around into a different personality. Secondly, the Hope that shares dollar on impulse has changed. Thirdly, the Hope that was socially active with impromptu parties over choice food, drinks, and beautiful women has stopped. Fourthly, the Hope that plays intense politics 24/7 now has some quality time worshiping God as a devout Catholic. I have observed a totally changed man who is more spiritually covenanted with his God than material wealth).
Uzodinma has spent most of his time as governor of Imo State playing politics in Abuja. Only a few days ago, he personally led the team that went to submit the forms for the President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, at the APC secretariat. To even think that Uzodinma had to do this, even without even considering that two of his kinsmen, Rocahs Okorocha and Chukwuemeka Nwajuiba, were in the same race, There have been no changes in Uzodinma. If there were any change, it would surely be a bad to worse change because no man with a conscience would relocate to Abuja for politics while his state, where he is supposed to preside as governor, is burning and bleeding from lack of leadership.
𝐅𝐚𝐥𝐬𝐞𝐡𝐨𝐨𝐝 𝐍𝐮𝐦𝐛𝐞𝐫 𝟗:
(Thirdly, Governor Hope Uzodinma of yesterday and today is not materialistic both as a private person and public servant elected to manage the finances of the State. His old friends and family members are still in total shock over his level of prudence in the management of the commonwealth of the State against all expectations of a free naira rain and sharing of dollars. He is neither accumulating personal wealth nor sharing our money or lands meant for infrastructural development of our State).
In 2021, Uzodinma’s government accessed over ₦59 billion in loans from foreign and domestic sources. These figures can be verified on the debt management office website. This year, going by budget figures, Uzodinma is expected to borrow an additional ₦61 billion. When added to well over N103 billion which has come to the local government areas from FAAC so far this year, the N110 billion which has accrued to the State also from FAAC, the ₦24 billion which the State has so far internally generated, and the N21 billion which represents the 13% oil derived, it is heartbreaking that there is nothing in Imo to show for the money. All these figures can be accessed from the ministry of finance website and Debt Management Office (DMO) respectively.
𝗙𝗮𝗹𝘀𝗲𝗵𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗡𝘂𝗺𝗯𝗲𝗿 𝟭𝟬:
(It is on these antecedents, accomplishments, lifestyles, and his re-dedication in a covenant with his God that the SUN Newspapers Ltd investigated, got convinced, and singled him out for the honour of a prophet not recognised by “Umu Nnadi” even though His Grace has been sufficient on him).
There has been no accomplishment or re-dedication to consider. The Sun Newspaper Ltd did not carry out proper and thorough investigations, because if they did, Uzodinma was no where close to receiving such an unmerited award.
In conclusion, this contribution, on January 14, 2020, a bizarre and controversial Supreme Court judgement, brought in Governor Hope Uzodinma. A serious governor would have put the circumstances surrounding how he got to power behind him and actually worked to earn the trust of the Imolites. 30 months later, Uzodinma is still floating around innanties and the ‘Supreme Court’ Governor Toga is yet to get away from him. Governors like Peter Obi, Duoye Diri and Bello Matawalle were all products of court pronouncements, yet none of them ever got such tags and hatred from their own people. It is time for Uzodinma to tell himself the truth and retrace his steps, not for any reason but for posterity. Buying awards would not do the big magic.