Chief Emeka Ihedioha took over the mantle of Imo leadership from Owelle Rochas Okorocha on the 29th day of May 2019. What achievements have been recorded within 100 days in office? Chidiebere Iwuoha reports.
Crossfire between the government and opposition
The arguments over whether the PDP government has achieved anything within the first 100 days or not, has generated all sorts of confrontations between the current administration and the main opposition party. Those loyal to the immediate past governor of the state, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, have continued to attack the Ihedioha administration of doing nothing.
While the governor and his camp believe that the governor’s emergence is the best thing that has happened to Imo as a state and Imolites as a people, the opposition does not believe that Ihedioha won the 2019 governorship election but rather that he was mistakenly announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) as the winner.
The position of this group was further made manifest when Okorocha, now a senator of the Federal Republic, came back home a few days ago and standing in front of his son- in -law’s campaign ground, less than hundred metres from Imo Government House told anybody who cared to know that Ihedioha’s achievements under 100 days was harassing members of his family and former aides, through the committee on Recovery of Public Property led by Hon Jasper Ndubuaku, claiming that he was recovering Imo people’s property. He further alleged that the governor was busy building personal houses in Owerri and his village, thereby leaving Imo people to suffer.
Ihedioha’s camp responded swiftly to these allegations by saying it was only Okorocha that could build houses or stuctures in three months after which they would collapse. They further said that Okorocha, members of his family, and former aides were still having government property in their possession and had not handed over contrary to expectations.
Also, they said that the Ihedioha administration needed those things to work with. Several items belonging to Imo State government were traced to a private warehouse belonging Uloma Nwosu, the ex-governor’s first daughter and wife of the Action Alliance (AA) governorship candidate in the last election such as seats and rug carpets at the Imo International Conference Centre (IICC) and as a result, the centre has not been used or opened for use up till now.
Again, some items were found at the Spibat residence of Rochas Okorocha himself the day the Recovery Committee chairman, Hon Ndubuaku went there. Such items as crane used by government to fix street lights; four speed boats donated by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NNDC) to the state government to be used at Oguta Lake to ferry people across the lake; several silver coated street light poles; about 20 security and patrol vehicles etc were seen there waiting to be retrieved because they are needed for the present government to continue to give service to the people.
Ihedioha’s 100 days address
On the 6th of September, 2019, Imolites from all walks of life assembled at the cenotaph also known as Heroes’ Square to listen to what the governor would say about his achievements or failure in his first 100 days in office. He made it clear that his government had succeeded in wresting leadership from their oppressors who did everything to install “familiocracy” government on the people and brought back government to the people who own the state.
He also said that he had sincerely done the framework or groundwork on which his government is expected to cruise to success, adding that due process of doing things, especially in government businesses had been brought back. Others as observed by this writer are as follows.
Independence of the legislature and judiciary
Since May 2019 when Ihedioha was sworn-in, there has never been a case of interference on the activities of the Legislature or judiciary. He made it clear that he passed through the legislature and rose to the position of speaker of the House of Representatives and would not be alive to rubish the legislature or disobey court judgements when he knew he was once elected to defend the laws of the land. He assured that he would abide by the decisions of the court irrespective of where the pendulum swings. And since that time, he has maintained this stand.
Payment of 100% salaries to workers and verification of pensioners
All arrangements have been put in place for the above, and in a matter of days all workers in the state will be going home with 100 percent pay packages. One of the things that delayed this was the discovery by the governor that the immediate past governor was paying the people working in his private establishments with government money.
In other words, they were on government pay roll. So, Ihedioha tried to remove the names. This also affected the pension system as it was filled with ghost pensioners. So, the verification/ biometric capturing has taken care of the problem.
Health insurance scheme
Ihedioha has brought in the health insurance scheme to take care of the health needs of Imo civil servants. With this, 1 percent of the consolidated revenue is to be deducted and every civil servant who has registered for the scheme will have the choice to go to any hospital of his/her choice for medical attention. He (Ihedioha) has since enrolled in the scheme. The implication of this is that the governor may not be travelling outside the country for medical attention.
Intoduction of TSA
The introduction of Single Treasury Account (TSA) by Ihedioha is novel as far as governance in the state is concerned. With this, all those financial leakages created by the immediate past government have been blocked. It was discovered that about 250 personal accounts were created by the past government through which revenues generated in the state were siphoned privately but through TSA it has been stopped and the state’s monthly revenue has appreciated from N200 million to N400 million in June and currently increasing to N600 million.
Equipment of 3 technical colleges
Three technical colleges in Owerri, Ahiara and Orlu have been equipped. Imo youth can acquire skills in different areas of human endeavour from any of the colleges.
Otamiri Water Scheme and Nekede Zoological Garden revived
Before now, pipe borne water was nowhere to be found as boreholes were the order of the day, while tourism has been boosted as a result of the revival of the Nekede zoological garden.
Dan Anyiam Stadium Rehabilitation
Dan Anyiam Stadium Owerri was abandoned by the last administration and newly built Okigwe stadium made the home of Heartland FC but the stadium is being rehabilitated as the turf is being regrassed. New FIFA seats and scoreboard will be mounted, while worn out bulbs of the flood lights would he changed. It would be recalled that the last minute effort of Ihedioha and his team saved Heartland from going on relegation for the second time in the history of the club. This was before his inauguration.
Distilling of water ways in Owerri City
Following continued flooding of Owerri capital city any time there is heavy downpour, the governor has begun the distilling of gutters to prevent flooding on the roads. He has also reintroduced the monthly environmental sanitation exercise to keep the environment clean and commenced planting of flowers to reclaim the aesthetic nature of the city.
Flag-Off of Roads and control of erosion
The governor has flagged-off the construction of roads in the state but the heavy rains are not helping matters. Just last week, he flagged off the Rural Access Mobility Project (RAMP), a Word Bank and French Development Bank assisted programme. Through this, many roads in the state will be constructed and given facelift. Several roads have also been given attention as engineers have inspected and given their specifications. Some of those roads are World Bank road, Naze/Federal Poly/FUTO road, Ahiara/Ngor Okpala road, Imo University Teaching Hospital, Asumpta/PH road, Okigwe road to IMSU, Douglas to Emmanuel College, Avutu Poultry road etc.
The Uruala Erosion menace has also received the governor’s attention as contract has been awarded to control it once and for all.
In order to improve agriculture in the state, about 500 youth from the 27 LGAs have been penciled down to go to a modern farm in Nasarawa state for an agricultural training. On arrival, they must have acquired different agricultural skills with which to set up their own with the loan given to them.