Although the Supreme Court has removed Hon Emeka Ihedioha as governor of Imo state, but his star projects are everywhere. In this report by CHIDIEBERE IWUOHA, Imo citizens want continuity of those projects.
The immediate past governor of Imo state, Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha, had during his seven months in office recorded some achievements, especially in his efforts to fix some dilapidated roads and in revolutionalising agriculture in the state.
This probably explains why after leaving office, no Imolite has come out to criticise his government openly rather, they have advised the new governor, Chief Hope Uzodinma, to key into the already-developed policies and programmes of the immediate past administration in order to perform well.
Part of the programmes the new governor has been advised to key into are the numerous road and agricultural projects which had already started making waves before the recent Supreme Court verdict that surprisingly truncated what many believed was the administration that was on the verge of bringing sucour to Imolites, especially after the administration of Owelle Rochas Okorocha which tried to impose Uche Nwosu, his son in-law on the people.
The road projects
Beginning with road projects, the Rural Access and Mobility Programme (RAMP) was a major one. Ihedioha had signed a multi billion naira contract with the World Bank and FAD, a French bank to construct quality access roads to all the nooks and crannies of the state. The importance of this project is that it is supposed to pass through the 27 local government areas in the state, with each getting one, two, three, four or more roads depending on its position.
Recall that the RAMP contract came during the government of Okorocha but it was alleged that the conditions given to the facilitators before they could embark on the project was so unbearable that they had to leave the state. When Ihedioha came in, he invited them and did not waste time in signing the road contract, seeing that the state roads were in a state of total disrepair and in dire need of quality roads, especially as the rainy season was taking its toll on Imo people.
Besides the RAMP roads, there were other road projects embarked upon by the Ihedioha administration, all combined to bring him accolades. And Imo people have since the new governor came in, pleaded with him to continue from where his predecessor stopped because of the economic importance of the roads.
A transporter, Kingsley Obieri, who hails from Ideato South Local Government Area begged Governor Uzodinma to complete the bridge project and some damaged portions on the Mgbee-Ideato road which got worsened at the twilight of Okorocha’s administration but which Ihedioha decided to reclaim by bringing it up to standard. Another road that gives worries to Imo people is the Owerri-Okigwe road, a federal road that has been neglected by the federal government, especially at the Ekemelee axis where it was almost impassable before Ihedioha came to power and applied some palliative measures which resulted in destroying a petrol station which blocked the route where water from the bad spot would have been channelled to.
There are many roads in Owerri capital city, Orlu and Okigwe towns which were taken care of and full contracts for others awarded. The roads whose contracts were awarded included the Nekede-Ihiagwa road which links the Federal Polytechnic Nekede and Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO).
The sorry state of the road when Ihedioha came to power was such that made both villagers and residents of the areas to have a feeling that they are not part of the state. The bad state of the road made the rector of the polytechnic, Dr Michael Arimanwa, to embark on the one directly leading to his school from the major road to ease movement of staff, students and visitors to the institution.
Another road, Owerri – Port Harcourt road, a federal road, was also a major concern to Imolites because apart from the fact that people come from both Rivers and Bayelsa states through the road. Also, visitors to FUTO, 34 Field Artillery Brigade, Obinze, Imo Polytechnic Umuagwo and numerous hotels scattered on both sides of the road ply the road. It is also from this road that farmers move agricultural products from Ohaji, which is Imo’s food basket, to various parts of the state.
Ihedioha government also tried to revolutionise agriculture in the state before the Supreme Court’s hammer fell on him. He developed a strategy which made implementation of the agricultural revolution successful because he knew that the agricultural sector affected every Imo indigene, being the key and pivotal pillar of the economy. The core impact areas of food security, employment, foreign exchange earnings, poverty reduction and raw materials for industries were captured in his programme.
The senior special assistant (SSA) to Ihedioha on agricultural development, Uche Odozor, had further captured it this way.
“The central objectives of the agricultural policy of our government were to increase agricultural productivity by promoting technical progress and ensuring the rationale in agricultural development, production and the optimum utilisation of the factors of production, in particular labour.”
“To ensure rapid improvement in the standard of living for the agricultural community in particular by increasing the individual earnings of people engaged in agriculture which would ensure the availability of supplies in a bid to further ensure that supplies reach consumers at reasonable prices.”
Ihedioha had trained more than 500 Imo youth through the state’s Youth Agricultural Programme, introduced the first-ever higher yield oil palm nurseries and preservation programme and the proposed Agri-Business Academy which would have made the state to be in the fore-front of agricultural activities all over the nation and beyond with pilot farm system in all the local government areas, having pig farm clusters and massive poutry farm scheme.
Other star projects
The former governor also reclaimed the Avutu Poultry and Adapalm Oil Palm factory, set up Food Security Bank, an agro commodity agency that would regulate and off-take most agro products from farmers thereby protecting them from unforseen circumstances.
Odozor had during his handover ceremony a few days ago, advised the new government in the state led by Chief Uzodinma to key into the already-laid down agricultural plan of the state for the benefit of all Imolites.