The End SARS protest in Owerri Imo State yesterday took a new turn when protesters who comprised mostly of youths demanded the resignation or exit of the governor of Imo State, Sen. Hope Uzodinma.
The protesters who numbered in their thousands carried placards with messages such as, #EndSupremeCourtImposedGovernment, We Didn’t Vote For Supreme Court Governor, #EndBadRoadsInImo, Imolites Are Tired of Bad Governance, etc.
This sudden twist in the protests in Imo is a clear indication that the people of Imo State are not at home with the present government in the State.
A former American President Abraham Lincoln while delivering a speech during the famous Gettysburg Address, defined democracy as government of the people, by the people and for the people.
However that definition appears to be elusive in Imo State as available socio-economic indices clearly indicate that there is a total disconnect between the people and the government.
Since assuming office as governor of the State, factors on ground clearly shows that Sen. Uzodinma has not made any meaningful impact on any sector of the State.
Robust road projects commenced by his predecessor Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha have been abandoned, thereby worsening the bad condition of roads and causing severe economic hardship to citizens.
Funds are not in circulation as workers and pensioners are being owed several months in arrears.
The unemployment rate in the State has skyrocketed in recent times as it appears to many that the economy of the State is on auto-drive.
The health sector is in shambles as the State owned teaching and specialist hospitals are non-functional.
The education sector is not left out as the post-Covid era of education in the State has not been properly managed.
Schools in the State appear not to have any clear cut protocols for resumption, thereby endangering the lives of our youths and even their parents.
Instead of fashioning an effective post-Covid economic stimulus to rejig the fast fledgling economy of the State, the governor is busy borrowing N5bn for the purchase of official vehicles for his political appointees.
This is an action which many pundits consider a misplaced priority, an economic waste and a clear sign of administrative incompetence.
The N5 billion could have been invested wisely in economically viable projects such as road construction, in the education sector or even to pay pensions and workers salary.
But what could have motivated the governor to heavily invest in an economic liability such as vehicles in a time the State is grappling with huge debts and severe economic challenges beats the imagination of the sensible.
In addition, human rights records in the State have also nosedived as recent cases of abuse of the rights of peaceful protesters such as pensioners and civil servants by law enforcement agencies were swept under the carpet.
In all it has become crystal clear that Imo State has been setback to the military era when nothing was moving and the economy was dead.
These and more could have prompted the mammoth crowd of youths that swarm the streets of Owerri yesterday to add to their list of demands the exit of the Hope Uzodinma led administration.
In civilized climes, a responsible leader who is faced with the challenge of public rejection usually resigns to save face.
However, in Nigeria were politics and governance is considered a means to an end, the reverse is usually the case. Sit tight leadership is often the order of the day.
However, it must be noted that this is the first time in the history of Imo State that such a mammoth crowd of youths would be coming out fearlessly and publicly to demand the exit of a sitting governor.
Perhaps they are hoping and praying that the Supreme Court would do them a favour by removing the governor when the long awaited Hope Uzodinma V Umeadi case comes up.
However, no matter how political pundits may view it, the action of the youths is a clear vote of no confidence on the government of the State by the “people’s parliament”.
And if one can go by Lincoln’s definition of democracy, it then can be said that Uzodinma’s administration is not a government of the people, by the people and for the people. [By Ekene Bob-Ekechukwu]
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