Imo of our Dream in 2015

As the various political parties and their various aspirants warm up for election in 2015, there are some issues which should agitate the reasoning and thought of the wider society irrespective of our political lining.
Granted the fact that there are many of Imo Citizens who are apolitical, need should be stressed on the expectations of the people from political office holders.
Take for instance the position of the Governor which is the Chief executive officer of the state. It is a very sensitive and important position which determines the life and success of the state and its inhabitants.
As at the last count, we have no fewer than twenty five Imo indigenes aspiring for this all important position from the various registered political parties in the state.
Come to think about it, they are all qualified and also mean well for the state. They may also have prepared their manifesto and blue print on how to govern the state if given the mandate.
These programmes are like the coin which has different faces depending on the angle it is being viewed. But no matter from the angle this matter is being looked at, we believe and strongly too that any programme that fail to address the critical problems of the masses is indeed not meant for the people.
And some of those areas which the next governor of Imo State in 2015 should be ready and prepared to address is the issue of the economy of the state which today is in a state of hopelessness.
The next Governor of Imo State should be ready and prepared to tell the people how he will provide job opportunities to the jobelass Imo Youths as well as how to put food on the table of every average Imo Citizen.
Days are gone when people who masquerade as masquerades will mount the rostrum to tell cork and bull stories on the provision of heaven on earth. Those aspiring for the office should be prepared to tell the people in concrete terms how they are going to provide job opportunities for the people as well as turn around the hopeless economy of the state.
The people are tired of such promises like provision of water, electricity, road and things of that nature. It is an aberration that we are still at this level of promises from political office seekers even when they know that these things are basic necessities of life that should not be compromised.
It is therefore instructive to warn the various political parties against presenting in-experienced people to Imo people simply because of their deep pockets.
The people need the best and it can only come when the various political parties present candidates who are coming from the private sector with a sound proof of good administrative and managerial capacity to drive the state’s economy.
That will be the only way the people will be assured of an economy driven government in 2015 which invariably would guarantee job opportunities and food on the table of the masses.

The 2014 Biennial Conference Of South East Magistrates In Owerri
From Monday the 12th to Wednesday14th of May 2014, magistrates in the South Eastern part of the country held their Biennial Conference in Owerri. The venue of the conference was City Global Hotels Port Harcourt Road, Owerri. The event was organized under the auspices of South East Magistrates Association of Nigeria.
The theme of this year’s conference is ‘The Contemporary Magistrate and the Need for a Paradigm Shift’. The Chief Judge of Imo State Hon. Justice B. A. Njemanze was the Chairman of the event while the Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha was the Special Guest of Honour.
The conference was featured key note addresses, lectures and talks from eminent jurists, dinners, visit to some places etc.
It could be re-called that the Magistrates Association of Nigeria was founded in 1970 with Magistrate S.M.A. Belgore who later became the Chief Justice of Nigeria as the first President of the Association. Membership of the association cuts across the federation. The aims of the association inter-alia are to protect the privileges, rights and welfare of the magistrates in the country.
Incidentally, this conference was hosted in Owerri at a time a Chief Magistrate from Imo State is for the first time, the Vice President for the South East.
Indeed, Magistrate Courts are one of the nearest courts to the grass-root. Their powers are quite enormous. Most criminal cases are handled by magistrates. They also handle a lot of civil cases and perform other judicial and quasi-judicial functions.
However, it is regrettable that the country’s constitution excludes magistrates from the list of judicial officers.
Today, there are a lot of challenges confronting magistrates in the country and the South East in particular.
For example, it is up to 30 years now that the Magistrate Court Laws in the state was last amended. It may surprise one to know that in the state, criminal jurisdiction of a Chief Magistrate is 14 years or two thousand naira option of fine while that of a Magistrate Grade 1 is 5 years or =N400 option of fine.
Other challenges militating against magistrates in the zone include lack of court and personal security like police orderlies, anti-bomb detectors in courts, official vehicles, good accommodations, good working conditions, welfare packages, continuous legal education etc.
Undoubtedly, we are now in an age of information technology. Therefore, this year’s theme of the conference is also very apt. The magistrate cannot continue to operate with old models when everything around him has become digitalized and sophisticated.
Therefore, the conference in Owerri will be another opportunity to proffer solutions to the various challenges facing magistrates in the zone.
As we wish participants in the conference had a successful and memorable event, it is also our prayer that the outing was another opportunity for stakeholders in justice administration in the South East to come up with a better way of making the magistrate more efficient. This is because the court has continued to remain the last hope of the common man.