By Henry Ekpe
In a few days time, the Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma would enter his seventh month in office. That means that five months from now, he would have spent one year on the seat, leaving him another three years before facing Imo electorate for a renewal or not, of his second term. Time they say waits for no one indeed. It is ticking.
However, it was just some days ago that the Governor officially appointed his Aides, his Disciplines or Apostles, with whom he will lead Imo State to “Prosperity” land.
Although he had months ago inaugurated these Aides, but they had no appointment letters, offices and portfolios. Now, with these three items provided for them by the Governor, it is proper to say that Uzodinma is now set to deliver Imo State to another level.
Meanwhile, before now, the Governor had assembled his Commissioners with which he have been piloting the affairs of the State all these months until the Special Advisers SAs and Senior Special Assistants SSAs were officially brought on Board.
The Special Advisers are thirty two (32) in number, while the Senior Special Assistants SSAs are sixty three (63) in number. That makes it a total of Ninety Five (95)Aides. However, there are indications that they number is more as there are others whose names were not publicly published or announced.
With these number of appointees, Uzodinma has set up the engine to power his administration, and then provide the needs of Imo people. And with this overwhelming number of Aides, Imo people have no reason to entertain any further excuses from the Governor because it will take some chunk of Imo people’s money to maintain these Aides that are expected to deliver. Therefore, to whom much is given, much is expected.
Already, the Governor has created employment opportunities by appointing such number of Aides, and it is now left for Imo people to see how far these people will improve their lives through their assignments and output.
It is now a challenge to some of these Aides, who may have thought that they were called to “come and chop”. The situation is more than that because the Economy everywhere is bad, including Imo State that is biting.
Therefore, to sustain such a great number of people in their various offices and assignments, they must realize that Imo people are watching them and would want value for the task payers money.
Although, the general belief is that the Governor used the opportunity to appoint his Aides to compensate those who stood behind him while the fight for Imo Governorship seat raged, but that should not be the major qualifications, as competence and capacity to manage the offices given to each Aide must count. It is the productivity or not of these legions of Aides that will prove how good or bad the Uzodinma administration will fair.
And the judges in this case will be the Imo masses who will deliver the verdict based on how the Uzodinma era touched their lives.
It is the aggregation of the inputs of these Aides in their various stations that will be the sum-total of what Uzodinma’s administration would be scaled as having performed or failed.
Already, the insinuation is that Uzodinma packed his Imo State Expanded Executive Council with mainly people of his “CampHope” Campaign organization. And the “outside visitors” who managed to make the list allegedly greased some powerful palms before they crossed the hurdle . This allegation of populating his Imo State Executive with only his core followers has been dogging the Uzodinma regime, without any denial or confirmation coming from any quarter yet.
In the beginning, the likes of Senators Ifeanyi Araraume, and Rochas Okorocha were remoured to be big factors in the Uzodinma Supreme Court battle, and therefore would be compensated during appointments as they would suggest some names.
But the reality on ground showed that among the plethora of appointees in the Uzodinma’s cabinet, loyalists of these top shots could be found. Not even members of Imo Coalition led by former Deputy Governor, Prince Eze Madumere. Even when the Governor delayed issuing appointment letters and offices to the Aides, the story was that he was waiting for these people to make their suggestions.
But in the end, nothing of such happened as the same old names were officially given portforlios. That showed that something is not adding up somewhere. Which may lead to political “roforofo” fight sooner than later. Well, that is a story for another day.
Another issue trailing the Uzodinma appointments in the lack of spread and sharing formula to capture the zonings found in some areas in the State, confirming the story that Uzodinma only cares about those who worked for him, and not ready to open his wings to accommodate other political cells outside his core followers in Imo APC.
For instance, in some cases Uzodinma appointed husband and wife from the same family. He gave offices to people from one village and Ward. The Governor appointed people from the same political zones without bothering what the masses of such areas say.
He appointed a mother, daughter and inlaw from one family.
Well, every Governor and administration have their own style. This could be Uzodinma’s own pattern and since he holds both the knife and yam, the bulk stops on his table.
In the end, what concerns Imo people is to give them the proverbial dividends of democracy.
Uzodinma christened his own policy thrust “Prosperity” and Imo people are earnesting waiting for it.
With all the organogram of his administration now set, Uzodinma should focus on delivering the goods to Imo people, and not allow side distractions dominate his attention.
It could easily be said that this last six months were devoted to pursuing opposition and arguing about what and what not was published or read about his person or Imo Government.
He should be careful so that the political Hawks around him do not use him to line their pockets, by heating up the polity while Governance suffers.
For six months now Uzodinma’s administration has not even completed one project, just like Okorocha and Ihedioha did in their time. Imo State is a difficult place to Govern, because the people are a highly sophisticated population, and well informed.
The Governor should devote more time in tackling the major problems confronting Imo State, and should not allow abstract matters dominate Imo politics and News, as such hardly present Bread on the table for the masses, which is their major concern.
What most Imo people had expected by now is completion of some important roads in the State capital as the raining season approaches. The masses had fore-warned about the situation, praying not to face the ugly scenario they passed through during the Owelle Rochas Okorocha era.
That the pensioners demonstrated this week over non-payment of their allowances is a big minus to the Uzodinma administration, as the Government had enough time to have averted the shameful outing.
The issue of salary of Imo workers is disturbing. The Governor had said that a responsible administration must not count salary payment as one of its achievements.
With this statement, Imo people had taken payment of salaries by the Uzodinma administration for granted only for the matter to still become a burning issue.
The Government had appealed to both workers and pensioners to bear as it was carrying out verifications exercise of workers. Therefore, six months is enough for this exercise and pensioners could not bear it anymore and then took to the streets.
Already, Imo State is getting choked with lack of liquidity cash in circulation. There is no how you fail to pay workers in a State like Imo that is a Civil Service State without the effects throwing up financial crisis.
Indeed, it is unfortunate that Imo LGAs are easily getting moribund again as against the bursting life in the Imo LGAs a few months ago.Imo LGAs are the foundation of the State and the State Government should release funds to the grass roots so that pressure can reduce at the Government House Owerri.
Seven months ago, Imo LGAs were executing gigantic projects and carrying out various financial commitments which returned life to the re-rural communities.
With these large number of Aides at his disposal, Imo people will hold the Governor responsible if he did not meet their expectations. Imo people are a restless lot and they are waiting and watching Uzodinma and his “Apostles”. Will they deliver the goods? Time will tell.