Ihedioha’s Appointments And Matters Arising (1)


By Henry Ekpe

Tomorrow, June 29, 2019 will make it one month Hon Emeka Ihedioha was sworn-in as the sixth civilian governor of Imo State, after Chief Sam Mbakwe, Senator Evan Enwerem, Chief Achike Udenwa, Dr Ikedi Ohakim and Owelle Rochas Okorocha, in that order.

However, even before Ihedioha was sworn-in, criticisms had started pouring in droves from the opposition led by the out-gone Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, who in the first place did not want to hand-over power to any other person other than his son inlaw, Chief Uche Nwosu.

The other point of opposition has remained the section of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP whose principal was defeated in the party’s Governorship primary but have refused to face the fact that the election has come and gone.

It is therefore pertinent to note that no day passes without these two opposition points finding fault in whatever Ihedioha does in office.

While it is true that criticisms checkmate and make the incumbent work better, but is looks frivolous and obnoxious for opposition to comment or criticise anything done by a sitting administration all for the sake of criticizing, without reasonable points.

Recently, the Okorocha apologists, who ought not comment at all about whatever Ihedioha has done since in office, when compared with the rudderless past administration, descended on the incumbent Governor over the appointments he has released so far.

As a practicing Journalist in Imo State in the last twenty years, I have seen four civilian administrations, and participated in one as an appointee. I make bold to say that Ihedioha has surprised many in his style of administration. He has exhibited tact and experience so far to manoveur tight corners and technocratic bobby traps.

The Governor began his outing just weeks after he was declared winner with a star-loaded Technical Transition Committee made up of Billionaires, Captains of Industry, Technocrats, top rate politicians, respected retired Civil Servants etc.

How Ihedioha captured these heavy weights and was able to convince them to give their expertise to Imo and work out a road map for his administration showed Ihedioha’s pedigree and excellence.

That Ihedioha could bring back home some of the best brains that deserted Imo State for long due to bad governance, to agree and contribute to the Rebuilding of Imo, still remains a shock to well-meaning Imo populace.

And what has remained a mystery was the short time at which he released the names of these tested Imo elites, which was an indication that before Ihedioha even embarked on the March 9, 2019 Governorship election he had already outlined his plans for Imo State, which showed he is ready and prepared for the job.

As he gradually settles down to business, he began releasing the positions and names of appointees, which have attracted different reactions, depending on what side of the divide you stand.

An independent observer cannot fault Ihedioha’s mode of appointments as he is following the matter with the seriousness it deserves. He has recognized the fact that Imo State operates on a three zone formula of Orlu, Okigwe and Owerri, otherwise called OOO for short.

And most importantly, the Governor has not forgotten that the world is moving fast, and therefore constituting an Executive that can “Read and Write”, by not pandering to sentiment in fishing out men and women that are qualified for the positions they are asked to man.

The Secretary to the Government is Chief Uche Onyeagocha, a renowned Lawyer, Activist, Administrator and a former member of the National Assembly. He hails from Obinze, Owerri West LGA, in Owerri zone.

He is an experienced politician who will manage the position to politically harmonize government activities with the administrative end of the office that includes the civil servants. Therefore, the office is usually reserved for persons that possess both political and administrative acumen.

Chief Chris Okewulonu, the Chief of Staff Government House, is from Obowo LGA in Okigwe zone. Ordinarily, had Ihedioha dwelt on the already established status quo, by former administrations in the State since 1999, the Mbaise born Governor would have picked one of his kins men to man this powerful office. But not Ihedioha.

Okewulonu, I must say, deserves Kudos for accepting this position now to help Ihedioha stabilize the government that was wrecked to the ground by the Okorocha’s Army of Occupation.

Despite being a former Secretary to Imo State Government, Ex Commissioner of Works, and later Information in Imo, the Obowo born politician still accepted the present job to serve Imo State.

This shows that Ihedioha has a magic wand to convince people to accept to share his ideologies. It is no mean fit!

The Deputy Chief of Staff, Bar Nwanna is a true bred technocrat who is reputed to be a gentle man to the core.

He comes from the Ideato Nation in Orlu zone.

The Ihedioha Media Team so far is equal to the task. For those who know Ihedioha, his Chief Press Secretary, Chibuike Onyeukwu is part and parcel of the Governor, and can read his mood from afar. And he has been with Ihedioha right from House of Representatives days.

You cannot even identify him in a crowd, as the young Chibuike is an unassuming guy, and marries his work as a second wife.

Steve Osuji, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media who was my predecessor as Chief Press Secretary to Governor Ikedi Ohakim, is a thorough bred Media man, who has acquired experience in the print Media to the level of an Editor.

The Media Team is blessed with another prolific writer, who churns out write-ups as if it is easy. I talk about Ogubundu Nwadike, called “Bundus”. This “anonymous” fellow was a thorn on the flesh in Wasap Groups on those who dared try to rubbish the Ihedioha Personae. “Omu” and others can attest to his “riotous comments”.

Now, Prince Eze Ugochukwu “Ochi-War” has joined the Stable as the man incharge of “Public Enlightment”.

My brother and veteran Media Man, Dr Austine Uganwa mans the Documentation section.

All these are gentle men and urbane. Therefore, don’t expect Press Releases that abandon issues and lamboon the messenger with fury and no substance. Those days are over. Trained Professionals are here.

Let me talk on the issue of the Advisers to the Governor, which include Prof Uwazuruike, (Diaspora) Hon Jones Onyereri (Political), Hon Jeph Ojinika (Inter Party). All former members of House of Representatives.

Many had raised hell over these particular appointees. But I see that as missing the point by the critics.

The office of Advisers are not meant for Baby politicians. It is meant for people who have the experience and confidence to face their Principal and look him/her in the face and tell the truths as they are.

This is exactly what Imo State needs to move forward. And Ihedioha ought to be commended for choosing men he cannot look down on as his Advisers.

It shows that the Governor wants to be advised properly without sentiments.

On the issue of the children of some heavy weight politicians that made the lists; example, those of Chief Mike Ahamba SAN, Chief Ikedi Ohakim and Dr Mrs Kema Chikwe.

Does it mean that these upcoming Imo born youths should be denied opportunities to serve their State because their parents are prominent citizens of Imo State? What should have been the point is whether these guys have the qualifications to man the positions they were posted.

Emeka Ohakim and Naeto Chikwe were posted as Special Assistants SA, to Imo Liaison offices in Abuja and Lagos respectively where they are to work under the Special Advisers SAs, as their Bosses.

Both youths worked hard in their own way in the Ihedioha’s campaign offices and deserve their rewards which will inspire other youths to work harder.

To continue next edition.