If only men can fast forward the hands of the clock, over 90 percent of the electorate in all the Nigerian States where governorship elections will be conducted in 2019 would wish that tomorrow is that election day. The reason is not far fetched, only a few Nigerian governors are performing up to average and the masses cannot wait any longer for the governors who are performing below par to give way for better ones.
Although much emphasis has been made about the poor performance of the President Muhammadu Buhari led federal government of Nigeria, the truth is that the effect of an indifferent federal government would not have been so felt by the helpless masses if the governors themselves were prudent and sincere in their administration of governance to the people, and having all intent to perpetuate nothing except good governance at all cost.
In Imo State for example, there are solid claims in various quarter that Governor Rochas Okorocha ,has reduced governance to a mere child’s play. If such claims are valid enough to be considered truth, what it means is that Okorocha has spent six years without administering the basics of good governance to the masses of the State.
This could explain why imolites are mad at Okorocha who has come under strong attack in recent weeks emanating from all corners, including the local and international media, for erecting the statues of the embattled South African President, Jacob Zuma, and his Liberian counterpart, Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, an exercise that was allegedly carried out with the State funds and gulped close to a whopping 600 million naira ,though the state government had debunked the claim that such amount of money was expended in erecting the statues that have sparked off controversies. This is with the exclusion of other monies spent on the lavish hosting of these heads of state.
While some imolites are today scratching their heads to figure out what the State stands to gain from the exercise, majority of them believe it is a misplacement of priority and have accused Okorocha of gross abuse of office and executive recklessness. To add weight to this claims is SERAP which has since asked anti graft agencies, EFCC and ICPC to probe Okorocha for corruption and abuse of office.
It is understandable why the governor’s actions and inactions have frayed nerves in the State. In Imo currently, civil servants and pensioners are owed arrears of salaries and pensions respectively; the State has a record of bad roads, poor health facilities and unemployment is the order of the day. The Chief Executive soon after his re-election in 2015 abandoned his Job Job Job, Factory Factory Factory and Industry Industry Industry campaign mantra only to embrace Statue! Statue! Statue!, which apparently adds nothing to the development of the State and wellbeing of her citizens. The economy of the state is in shamble and a state of shame.
Imolites are dying of hunger and starvation and lack of basic necessities of life. The recent shocking death of the Chairman of Imo State of Nigeria Union of Pensioners highlights further the suffering which the masses of the state are currently passing through. Sadly and regrettably, few days before his unfortunate demise, like many other pensioners, he received a dud check from the State government which had few weeks back embarked on a deceitful and fraudulent pension payment exercise.
However, I don’t want to believe that all hope is lost for Imolites with 2019 general elections drawing near. I also don’t want to believe that the State lacks credible and conscientious leaders who can steer her affairs with humility, respect for the masses and sincerity of purpose. Imo needs a quality leader and technocrat who will bring a paradigm shift and entrench good governance, touching every facet of her economy.
In my own point of view, what Imo needs is a leader who shares similar vision as the youthful Mbaitoli born Jeff Uzor who is not only endowed with what it takes to breath fresh air into the State but also has unbridled passion for his beloveth Eastern Heartland.
Jeff for example has vast experience both in public and private sector needed to give Imo State a touch of class. He boasts the clout which is required to surmount certain administrative challenges in government having been able to contribute his quota to the development of the United States of America through his Evergreen Contracting Firm which offers various forms of services to the government of USA. At the age of 43, Jeff will not be found wanting in the agility needed to orchestrate the onerous task of governing a state like Imo, essentially at a time in the history of the State when so many people, including Okorocha himself, are clamouring for active involvement of youths in the highest level of leadership.
The successful businessman grew up in his native mbaitoli and spent years schooling in Nigeria. He had started his business in Nigeria before expanding the empire to international level. He knows Imo State in and out and had long developed the desire to contribute his own quota to her development.
Jeff Uzor is one of the few Imo sons who already has the blueprint to reform the Imo State civil service and the education, industrial, agricultural and health sectors of her economy to accepted global standard. Through massive industrialization and ensuring that the viability of the public and private sectors is achieved. The young man believes that Imo State will become economically stable like an average State in the USA, hence reducing hunger and starvation to the barest minimum. Also, coming from the background of an improved democracy like the USA, the governorship hopeful knows that ensuring sanity, transparency and accountability in government will be crucial to building the Imo of our collective dream. He has the intention to make it impossible for himself or anybody coming after him to loot Imo treasury by removing the secrecy of Imo funds through keeping in public domain figures of revenues accruing to the State under his watch in the form security vote, federal allocation, internally generated revenues etc, and how they are spent. Jeff believes in nothing except using the wealth of Imo State to work for Imo State alone and not diverting public funds into his private pocket and that of his cronies.
In conclusion, the reason why Imo citizens, like their counterparts from other States of the federation, are still yearning for good governance is simply because they have continued to elect bad governors. However, if the story must change in no distant time, especially as 2019 general elections draw nearer, a leader in the mould of Jeff Uzor will not be a bad choice.