Taking you down memory lane, it will interest you to know that since 1999 when former governor Chief Achike Udenwa took over the steer of leadership, nothing significant has changed in Imo State.
Policy thrusts of past administrations have not taken the state anywhere near to development as the state is still struggling to connect to the comity of developed states if there are. Udenwa came with his tripod-vision policy concentrated on agriculture, industrialization and re-orientation. At the end of that administration, Imo State has remained among the yet to be developed state.
What happened to those policy thrusts, why were they not sustained and why was the needed development lacking, especially in the rural communities.
Development has no political affiliation nor religious leaning, one thing that says how much impact the past administrations have made is even development of the state, where infrastructural development criss crosses the length and breadth of local communities. Where the hospitals, roads, schools, pubic utilities are working but those have become wild goose chase.
When in 2007, Chief Ikedi Ohakim came in, he initiated his
Clean and Green Initiative, where the Environmental Transformation Initiative and the Imo Rural Roads Maintenance Agency, IRROMA were the bride of his administration. Indeed, Imo wore beautiful look, especially that Imo became the cleanest state east of the niger, besides the Laurels won for being neat.
Where are the waste bin incinerators, IRROMA trucks, where are the tree/flowers that adorned the streets along Whederal, Okigwe, Orji, Bank roads and others. The beauty of leadership is continuity but that seems a far cry in Imo.
In 2011 came the Owelle Rochas Okorocha led administration, the echo of rescue mission rent the airwaves and newspaper pages/reportorial. What does it mean?
Another word for rescue is salvage or liberate. Rescue Mission therefore, is a political principle based on libration from political bondage.
The Rescue Mission Political philosophy is grounded on restoration of the fundamental essence of government, which is to create an environment where the people are secured in their rights to good life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Its objective is to help the people to fully optimize the benefits of government. The Rescue Mission is based on correcting the ills of past dysfunctional governments and to bring good life, to the people of Imo State.
The centerpiece of the Rescue Mission agenda was free education.
Of a truth, citizens of Imo lauded the free education of Okorocha as those who were not opportuned to go to school went to school. The impact of the free education was felt by all and sundry. Infact, it stopped maid system in the state as every parent could afford to send their children to school.
Okorocha indeed opened some inland roads and widen the roads that decongested traffic.
Additionally, the rescue mission government embarked on rebuilding the dilapidated school infrastructure. About 305 new school buildings in each of the electoral wards in the state were built. But today, are the schools standing and working to provide the needed impact? Did we see the good life?
When public funds are used for personal gains, it is no longer governance but business.
The short time, former governor Emeka Ihedioha was in power, he introduced his Rebuild Imo Agenda, centered on infrastructure, education, youth, women among others.
Prior to the exit of Ihedioha administration, he began road construction and made efforts to revamp some moribund industries. Where those would have led the state is better imagined as that policy thrust was shortlived.
When governor Hope Uzodimma came on board, his three Rs of Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Recovery agenda started its roundabout beautification/rebuilding/renewal. Indeed, the roundabouts are wearing nice look, especially fire service, warehouse roundabout in line with what obtains internationally. His recovery stance has been applauded by greater percentage of Imolites.
The most pathetic aspect of all these policy thrusts is that, despite some good policies of some administrations, the state is still not where it should be in terms of development, especially that the local communities are nothing to write home about.
Since I was a child, government has been building schools, roads, hospitals, public utilities, today I am a adult, I still cannot see working and effective schools, roads, hospitals, no public water, nothing.
Does it mean that some of these wonderful policy thrusts were not properly crafted bearing development in mind or the translation of those policies were misplaced? What’s the development gap that needs to be closed and who will close it.
However, there is still hope that we can get it right. I therefore called on the present administration led by Hope Uzodimma to change the narrative of governance using his 3R mantra.
I want to see the present administration come to an end addressing all the development gaps that have continued to widen since 1999. Imo is supposed to be the most developed state of South East given her endowed natural resources.
May the government go for realistic governance policies that will impact positively on the lives and livelihood of the citizenry. It is no longer time for phantom or political glossolalia that leaves the state degenerated. According to Williams Shakespeare ‘may the outward shows be least in themselves for the world is deceived by ornament’. We want to see Imo State adorned with real-time infrastructural development that will endear and endure the taste of time.