Character and conduct. Preparedness and popularity. Experience and expediency. Integrity and dignity. These permissive virtues will no doubt determine the outcome of the Imo governorship election coming up in some days. But above these, the robust, revolutionary and practicable manifesto of the candidates would be the determinant in who emerges the winner of the poll.
Having been hoodwinked with rhetorics and rhapsodies of sweet talking politicians, Imo indigenes are not on the look out for the candidate whose manifesto is not only promising and practical, but with the potential of raising the bar in social contract and delivery of democracy dividends.
With Rt. Hon Emeka Ihedioha’s all-encompassing manifesto, a strong commitment and political will deriving from long years of public service and dedication, it is as sure as tomorrow, that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) flag bearer, will definitely cross the finishing line ahead of the rest.
One area that the core values and objectives of governance have been credulously eroded in Imo State is the public service. When effectively run, it ought to create a fusion and bond of abiding religiosity between the government and the people while building state legitimacy and engendering nationhood. But this is not the case in Imo. Rather, the public service has been rendered practically invisible to the citizens. This has completely eroded the tangible link between governments and the people, thus breeding suspicion, mistrust and sabotage.
Ihedioha’s manifesto promises to diffuse the values of the public service and restore its lost glory. Hear him: “In order to strengthen the capacity of the public service to deliver on their mandate, massive recruitment of high quality staff in Imo State public service would have to be undertaken.
No meaningful development can take place in a state in the absence of a robust infrastructure investment. How can we facilitate and spur economic growth, provide better connectivity and enhance productivity and efficiency when the entire landscape of Imo has turned into a putrid stench of infrastructure decay and abandonment?
Recognizing infrastructure as the backbone of any economy, Ihedioha is flying the banner of infrastructure revolution in the state. Quality roads and effective transportation system; oil and gas, electric power projects; water schemes, rural development and provision of recreational facilities are part of the holistic integrated infrastructure master-plan that will promote economic activities and business in the state.
The manifesto promises to pursue the complete dualisation of major roads linking Owerri capital territory to the four parts of the State namely Owerri-Orlu road, Owerri-Okigwe road, Owerri-Umuahia and Owerri-Aba road. Access roads to the 27 Local government headquarters in the State would also be constructed.
Often when we discuss infrastructure investment, we tend to restrict the concept to physical infrastructure. But courtesy of the manifesto of Ihedioha, we can now understand it as including the skills of the employees and their productivity and productive capacities. This he intends to achieve through investments in healthcare and education which create a healthy and well educated workforce, thus leading to faster economic growth.
Power or sustainable electricity is key to economic growth and development. A peep into Ihedioha’s manifesto reveals a promise in the steadfast pursuance of the rapid completion and energization of substations and lines; collaborating “with the private sector and the regional electricity distribution company to deploy three strategically located embedded power plants in Owerri, Orlu and Okigwe to provide dedicated uninterrupted power supply to businesses and the industrial clusters proposed for the zones while freeing the existing regional electricity distribution company’s supply to service homes and small businesses in those areas and the rest of the state.”
This strategy includes supporting the electricity distribution company to improve power supply to various Imo communities including procuring additional transformers, conductors, poles and associated materials.
Water is germane to economic growth and development. Sadly in Imo Statement water has become a scarce commodity. “The Water Development Agency (IWADA) has ceased to exist with 22 rigs and several compressors acquired with over 220 million dollars through the United States EXIM Bank under previous administrations in the state gone with the wind.The UNICEF Assisted Rural Water and Sanitation Agency is moribund, as the State Government has not paid any counterpart fund since 2011.”
But there is a silver lining in the dark vignette. One of the policy thrusts of his administration would be the restoration of a platform for public water supply in Imo State through the return of the State Water Corporation and the UNICEF-assisted Rural Water Supply and Environmental Sanitation Agency (RUWASA); rehabilitation of all the regional water schemes for the benefit of our people living in our cities and their environs as well as ensure proper reticulation of water in major cities and urban areas. This revolutionary water scheme will be achieved through a ‘ No dry tap’ policy.
But with the promise of instituting a brawny and wholesome Urban Renewal Programme, Ihedioha is prepared to tackle the incidence of slum development especially in inner cities and neighborhoods. He promises new Master Plans for Owerri, Orlu, Okigwe, Oguta Areas, All Local Government Headquarters and 17 designated growth points across the State.
For millions of unemployed Imo youths, hope is coming your way: there would be the creation of 274, 500 jobs in the first two years of his administration including the re-visitation 10,000 jobs created by the past PDP Government. A place is also assured for our women, the children and the elderly with the massive industrialization plan outlined in the manifesto. With Ihedioha, Imolites will be led with joy and peace. The mountains and hills will break forth into singing.
–Nwamadi is a public affairs analyst
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