According to the scriptures, precisely the book of Romans, chapter 12, 13 and 14, we are given an insight of who a true leader is and what qualities to look out for in him or her. Verse 12 of chapter 12 specifically says, “REJOICE IN HOPE”, (emphasis, mine). It further says this; “be patient in tribulation, let him that governs, do so with diligence, showing love to one another, living in peace with each other as much as possible, distributing hospitality to everyone, for governors should not be a terror to good works, do that which is good and you shall receive praises for your deeds for now is our salvation nearer, than we ever thought”. Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness and put on the amour of light”.
Also in the book of 1Corinthians chapter 10, verse 10, we see that God detests murmuring and complaining. He prefers positive action. Thus, if we are to go by what the major politicians are saying about each other across the entire country, we will be forced to dismiss all of them as not fit and proper to provide good governance.
In Imo state for example, where this writer is based, the major contenders for the governorship seat are Senator Hope Uzodinma, Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, Mr Uche Rochas Nwosu, former governor Ikedi Ohakim and Honourable Emeka Ihedioha. Among the five, Uzodinma stands head and shoulders taller in terms of political sagacity, public acceptance across the state as well as record of service while in public office. It is on record that whilst not much is traced to the brief stint by Ararume in the 5th Senate of the Federal republic, Hon Ihedioha was able to attract a sprinkling of projects for part of his native Mbaise constituency during this two time outing in the green chamber which culminated in his election as Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives. Ohakim has experience but is in an unpopular party and also appears to be broke, obviously because he didn’t steal much as governor. Nwosu lacks experience, has so much money and property around the state all because he is married to the governor’s daughter.
On the other hand, Uzodinma remains the most visible and politically relevant, being a serving Senator and a ranking one at that, as well as having chaired two high profile Senate committees, Aviation and customs, the outcomes of which are in the public domain for ease of reference and unbiased assessment. By some stroke of fortuitous disposition, Senator Uzodinma is the only one among the contenders, who sits on the BOT of his party, the ruling APC , just as he sat on the BoT of the erstwhile ruling party PDP, not to mention his recent appointment, very recently as the south east coordinator of the President Buhari Campaign Organization. His robust financial muscle, given his vast local and trans -national business network is also not in doubt.
All these are self evident of a man with the political master plan to move Imo State to the next level. No doubt, the outgoing administration of Governor Rochas Okorocha made some undeniable and indelible achievement in spite of the negative reports, orchestrated chiefly by critics and opposition politicians. Imo people cannot deny that the ruling APC governor attained significant milestone in crucial areas like security, opening up of new roads, community inclusiveness and free basic and tertiary education for all Imo indigenes, albeit with few operational hiccups.
A state like Imo, renowned for its overdose of human and material resource, needs nothing but an experienced, humane, astute and courageous leader to unleash the best in its citizens. This cannot be the time for political misfits and green horns to experiment with the lives of citizens who are already over burdened by the impact of recession and past years of misrule. Only a tested and capable old hand like Hope Uzodinma can truly change the narrative by raising the ante of real department from where Governor Okorocha stopped.
A peep into Senator Uzidinma’s blue print which was launched last week, will make even his closest rival to go green with envy. For him, rebuilding the confidences and capacities of the ordinary people are the key and critical priorities when he becomes governor. Uzodinma and his team of young technocrats are aware that no government can fix all the problems at one fell swoop, so the first strategy is to prioritize programmes and project, bearing in mind those ones that will put less burden on the states resources. Hopes team is aware that the real worth of the state is not in the oil deposits of Egbema and Awomamma or the mineral stones in okigwe, but the raw capacities of the human resources. Thus they plan to invest a greater part of the states resources in sharpening the skills of the people, through better motivation of civil servants and increased funding of education in line with global best practices of 26% recommended by UNESCO, as against the present 9% which is grossly inadequate.
Teacher welfare will be a major area of focus as nobody can give what he or she does not have. Training and retraining of teachers will make it possible for only certified and well motivated teachers to be found in all schools across the state, especially at primary and secondary levels, using the world acclaimed models already copied from Sweden, Canada and Japan where teachers earn, more than other public servants.
Imo under Uzodinma will not accept the teaching profession as a dumping ground for all manner of graduates from other fields who fail to find gainful employment in their areas of specialisation.
Uzodinma and his team have perfected a design to free the state budget and be creative in building infrastructure by bringing in private sector funding through PPP models, having taken cognizance of the glaring deficits in social amenities like mass housing, public utilities (light and water), basic education and primal health care among others. In Canada, the Catholic Church alone provides free and qualitative education to millions of children in primary and secondary levels. This can also be achieved in Imo State where the Christian churches have continued to show more than a passing interest in governance.
According to Uzodinma himself “we must rededicate ourself to the task of restoring Imo State to the Mbakwe Master plan as envisioned for future generations unborn”. This sounds like a clarion call for uncommon leadership which can only come from God. Uzodinma’s blueprint is laden with robust programmes and plans that will indeed rejuvenate life and living among Imolites.
– Dr. Nnawugo is a member of the Uzodinma media team, based in Awomamma.
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