By CHUKS Nwokeji (08034082725)
It is generally said that government is a continuum, but in practical reality; most past governors in Imo State have failed to embrace continuity in government, they have always abandoned the projects or people oriented programs initiated by their predecessor without sensible consideration to overriding public interest. Lack of continuity or policy summersault has moved most local governments and states with a reverse gear. Unfortunately both the leaders and the led have done nothing about it as it seems they are comfortable with the status quo.
The truth is bitter but it must be told, right from 1999 when Nigeria returned to civil rule, lack of continuity in government projects and programs are the major reasons for numerous abandoned projects. Findings have shown that most governors abandon projects of their predecessors because of selfishness, vindictiveness and for senseless political reasons. Using Imo State as a case study, from the era of first civilian governor of Imo State, Chief Barrister Samuel Iheonunaka Mbakwe, of blessed memory, he designed the Owerri Master Plan. Unfortunately; most past Imo State governors have made reference to the master plan but it is in theory and not in practical. The master plan has been dastardly abused by successive democratically administrations due to lack of continuity in government. This ugly act became possible due to total negligence to numerous advantages of continuity. Projects abandonment has done more harm than good in Imo State and Nigeria at large.
It is common to see abandoned government projects on the streets of Owerri and other locations in the three senatorial zones of the state. Some projects completed by Mbakwe’s administration have been abandoned or sold out due to lack of continuity in government. Good examples of projects executed by the visionary administration of former Governor Mbakwe, included; building projects, Okigwe Regional Water Scheme, the Nsu tiles, Imo Hotels, Progress Bank of Imo State, all these and many more were established by him, some buildings that were erected to serve as quarters for government staffers have been neglected or sold out for selfish financial gains. It also included staff quarters of Agricultural Development Cooperation (ADC) of Imo State which later became Songhai Farms it has been abandoned. Today; some part of the land and quarters have been sold or taken over by Nekede indigenes simply because government abandoned it. Many roads projects have been abandoned in Imo State by past governors because it was an inherited project from their predecessor. The consequences of lack of continuity in government are too numerous to mention, even a blind man can feel the negative impact. It is both obvious and porous. The glaring truth cannot be hidden, but with the emergence of Governor Uzodinma, his maturity, foresight and selflessness motivated him to change the trend. It gladdens the heart to know that there is hope and with the three R mantra of Governor Uzodinma, which are Recovery, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction a clear paradigm shift is possible.
Uzodinma; strongly believes that whoever comes as governor should be able to proceed with the business of governance particularly uncompleted projects initiated by his predecessor, this should be done with total consideration for overriding public interest. By this worthy consideration, Governor Uzodinma has shown how sincere and committed a public servant could be through his actions and decisions.
In Imo State where power has changed hands successively from former Governors Achike Udenwa to Ikedi Ohakim, from Ohakim to Owelle Rochas Okorocha, from Okoerocha to the illegally sworn-in Governor, Emeka Ihedioha and the current dispensation; it is only Distinguished Senator Uzodinma that had taken bold, corrective, courageous and selfless step to championed continuity in government programs and projects. It is a decision that will end the era of shattered or scattered uncompleted projects; this was done based on overriding public interest and with a sincere intention to return and reposition the state back to the track of unhindered development. Unfortunately; some political miscreants and their pay masters who have craftily decided to sweep the advantages of continuity in government projects and programs under the carpet are now busy talking from two sides of their mouth by saying that Governor Uzodinma is carrying out Ihedioha’s project as if Ihedioha is government personified. If Ihedioha had shun vindictiveness and selfishness and carry on with some unfinished programs and projects of his predecessor it would have meaningfully reduced waste of resources and correctively reposition Imo State on track that well deserved development.
Total abandonment government of projects are at alarming rate. Considering rate of total negligence and condemnation of projects or people oriented programs of past governors by their successors; one begins to wonder whether government is actually a continuum. In Imo State, the outgone Governor Rochas Okorocha abandoned the project of his predecessor, like the Oguta Wonder Lake, Royal Oak Refinery, Imo Inner-inner Ring Road, Imo Outer- Outer Ring Road. When the flyover was later attended to, it was poorly executed. A professional body like COREN in their patriotic service to the society raised alarm about the substandard approach of Governor Okorocha towards the completion of the project initiated by his predecessor.
Again; what happened when Ihedioha was declared winner was a great sign of senselessness, mischievousness, wickedness and selfishness. It was akin to madness. A man we thought is learned, sound and sane brazenly and uncontrollably came out for open confrontation and condemnation of his predecessor’s projects and programs in a charlatan manner without considering overriding public interest and the obvious need to avoid waste of scarce resources. Unfortunately; the rebuild Imo regime hide under the cover of Taskforce on Recovery of government property to carry out a Re-loot Imo Agenda because these were projects initiated by his predecessor. They embark on a looting spree of anything they could lay their hands on all in the name of recovery. Fine crossing iron used for road beautification was removed and sold out based on flimsy excuses. Yes; they recovered the so called looted government property, but never gave account of it simply because they re-looted the recovered loot. That, of course, is against the spirit of continuity in government and contrary to the provisions of the constitution of the country. While Okorocha commissioned the High Court Complex he built and it was rated high by observers and analysts, when Ihedioha came in, he totally condemn it and stopped the judiciary from making use of the beautiful edifice simply because it was built by his predecessor.
Government, is said to be a continuum. it is just like a relay race where batons exchange hands or hands exchange batons depending on the side of coin you are seeing it, is from one participant to another, with the real purpose of getting to the destination of the race which is to win the trophy. Actions of governors against projects and programs of their predecessors point to quality of leaders we produce in Imo and Nigeria at large. The same High Court Complex that was badly condemned by Ihedioha because Okorocha built it, was selflessly and impressively approved by Governor Uzodinma, today the third arm of government is comfortably making use of the beautiful edifice Ihedioha disallowed them entry into it. Still in the spirit of continuity, the road projects initiated by Ihedioha was allowed to continue by Governor Uzodinma, the unpaid January salary of Interim Management Committee Chairman who served under Ihedioha was paid by Governor Uzodinma, Some of the appointments made by Ihedioha was retained by Uzodinma because of his strong believe in continuity.
Ihedioha shut the door of governance against all contractors and Imo sons and daughters who worked with his predecessor but without discrimination Governor Uzodinma opened the door of governance to all contractors who worked with his predecessors because he sees them as development partners. He also opened the door of governance to all Imo sons and daughters without discrimination. Without mincing words, Governor Uzodinma by his matured, sensible and selfless action has shown that government is supposed to positively beget another in a seamless transition that serves the interest of the generality of the people. He is not vindictive, his maturity and tolerance is second to none. By his approach to governance, he has shown government is expected to be an exact continuous situation where the leaders understand their role in government vis-a-vis the rules. He deserves commendation for setting the pace by championing continuity in government;
Under the Governor Uzodinma’s Agenda for Rehabilitation, Recovery and Reconstruction, the people have seen the reality of the word ‘government is a continuum’ he has excelled were past governors failed. He has shown maturity where his predecessor displayed lack of maturity. He has shown tolerance where others manifested intolerance. It is an indisputable fact that Governor Uzodinma has brought a paradigm shift in governance, by his actions and decisions; indeed the difference is clear. Truly; Imo State Governor, Distinguished Senator Uzodinma, has distinguished himself as a champion of continuity in government because he has moved Imo State from the theoretical aspect of continuity in government to a true practical aspect of continuity where government programs and policies were not allowed to suffer intentional and selfish abandonment due to discontinuity or policy summersault. Chuks Nwokeji is the MD/CEO Media Publicity Package Services