By Ekene Bob-Ekechukwu Esq
11 months in to the popularly acclaimed Supreme Court imposed administration of Sen Hope Uzodinma, it appears that the governor is yet to find his bearing. His actions and inactions clearly depicts a man who was entrusted with executive powers unprepared. Every right thinking person observing his maverick style of governance could conclude that he is confused and appears to be doing what in Igbo folklore is referred to as “tum bom tum bom” (guesswork).
Several decisions made by the governor in the past has clearly shown that he has neither manifesto nor any clear cut programme for the development of the State. The first sign buttressing the foregoing was his laughable appointment of a Commissioner for Foreign Affairs. Any educated or at least informed person knows that foreign affairs is in the Exclusive List of which it is only the President that can make such appointment at the federal level. What the governor could have done at best would have been to appoint a Senior Special Assistant on Diaspora Affairs to handle issues of Imolites in diaspora. But this was not to be, as it sadly appears the governor is not aware of the limits of his powers as a State governor.
Again, the governor at one time sort approval of the Legislature for a loan of N5bn for the purchase of official vehicles when he is clearly aware that the roads in the State are not motorable. Conversely any reasonable person could rightly ask what economic impact the investment of the huge sum of N5bn would have on the development of a State where workers and pensioners are owed billions in arrears and the roads begging for attention.
Furthermore, the governor’s decision to impose a statewide curfew on the State which didn’t experience any widespread violence during the recent EndSARS protest could be viewed as erratic and clueless. More so when it is crystal clear that the State was still recovering from the negative socio-economic impact of the months long Covid 19 lockdown. This also succinctly put, shows clearly that the governor may not be a good student of economics even since the curfew is still in place as there is yet no official pronouncement ending it.
The latest in the litany of the governor’s “tum bom tum bom” is his investment of over N1.5bn in the importation of rabbits for youth empowerment. While we encourage investment in agriculture for the development of the State, suffice it to say here that the spending of billions in the purchase of rabbits appears to be another misplacement of economic priority by the governor. The expensive question here is, what impact would the purchase of rabbits have on the agricultural economy of the State? If the governor was deliberate and sincere in his plan to empower the youths, why not invest the huge sum in payment of the arrears of workers salaries and pensions.
At least that would obviate the cost of upkeep of the parents of these youths and their homes. Or better still why not disburse the funds as agricultural loan to farmers or even invest same in industries which will create employment for the youths? In addition it would even serve a better economic purpose if the huge sum was employed in fixing the bad roads that has plagued the State like an incurable epidemic. However the governor has preferred to spend on frivolities while leaving pressing State needs largely unattended. All this goes to show that Sen Uzodinma is quite unprepared and clearly unable to manage the affairs of the State. It must be made abundantly clear here that no State can be run successfully by “tum bom tum bom”.
The governors of States such as Enugu, Ebonyi and even Anambra would have been unable to take their States to their present enviable height if they were ruling by guess work without a clear – cut programme. It must also be sounded clearly here that Imo State belongs to all of us and the tax payers money being wasted daily on frivolities is our common patrimony. It is based on this premise that I urge the governor to sit up and bring up a clear and rich manifesto on how to move the State forward. While doing so he must also take in to cognisance the fact that a day will come, and maybe sooner than expected, when he must give account of his stewardship. And when that day comes, his acclaimed “Ben Johnson” qualities may neither exculpate him nor be able to give him a soft landing.
Ekene Bob-Ekechukwu Esq
Socio-political / Public Affairs Analyst
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