According to the America’s third president, Thomas Jefferson, “nothing can stop a man with the right mental attitude and nothing can also save a man with the wrong mental attitude”. This therefore presupposes that a man’s character sooner or later affects his destiny, such that he is either surrounded by anointing or he is full of annoying things.
The state of things in Imo in the recent political milieu leaves a sour taste in the mouths of most Imolites and indeed other Nigerians and foreigners who have one affinity or the other with Imolites. The situation does not warrant any argument as argument hardly improves the validity of a true situation. It only elongates how long it takes to realize the said situation.
Research has shown that there are broadly two kinds of leaders, those who, like Josef Stalin, the infamous Soviet Union dictator, believe that it is better to disempower and even short change the people and then throw crumbs at them so as to see the oppressor as their “rescuer”, or those like th e great Yoruba sage, Obafemi Awolowo, who empower their people with real qualitative education, solid infrastructure and a motivated work force.
It is on verifiable record, that since 1983 when the late Sam Mbakwe was herd-hunted into abrupt political retirement, no thanks to the inglorious military coup, Imo State has not been very lucky with democratic governance. The state had witnessed about four civilian chief executives, from Evans Enwerem whose tenure was short lived due to yet another military interregnum, to Achike Udenwa who tried to do a bit of infrastructure but without a clear cut development plan, then came the street-smart Ikedi Ohakim, whose innovative approach to development was promptly terminated by his brash display of youthful exuberance that ended up making him the most misunderstood governor in Imo history. Then came the Maverick Rochas, who seemed to posses plenty of ideas but lacked the tact, finesse, decorum, and depth of character to allow those ideas to flourish and transmute into better lives for the good people of Imo.
Good governance is indeed, not rocket science. It is achievable even in Nigeria, contrary to the wide spread feeling of despair in many quarters that God may not have originally created the black man to be free from social ills like nepotism, self sabotage and gross mind boggling graft.
The genuine leader does not need to have all the right answers nor does he need to solve all the problems he met on ground. The leader does not need a second tenure to make a good first impression. The first cut is indeed the deepest. All a genuine leader needs is the humility to accept that nobody knows it all; the wisdom to assemble an army of cerebral advisers and experienced commissioners, as well as the courage to allow his own “good” ideas to give way to the better ideas of those he surround himself with. The whole essence of governance is to identify the bottle necks in the development pipeline and resolve those bottlenecks so that growth can occur seamlessly.
Among the plethora of candidates aspiring to govern Imo people in 2019, only three men stand out, in terms of political sagacity and visible structures on ground. Hope Uzodinma who just joined the ruling party. Ifeanyi Ararume who just joined APGA and Ikedi Ohakim who equally just joined the Accord Party.
Among these three ‘strong’ men, only one has impressed Imo people at home and abroad by displaying the irrepressible, indefatigable and fearless spirit of a true igbo man. That one is Distinguished Senator Hope Odidika Uzodinma, the fifty something year old son of a poor bread maker from a quiet small town called Omuma, near Awomamma, in Imo State.
Incidentally “Odidika” in the local dialect of the Oru nation where Omuma is situated, translates to “character is supreme” (Odidi is habit or attitude, while “Ka” means that which is “bigger” like Nneka (Mother is supreme) or indeed Chukwuka, (God is bigger). In point of fact, all a genuine leader really needs to succeed, is character, with a dose of compassion and competence, (the three Cees that define true leadership globally. A good leader does not pull down a library and replace it with a chapel. Even Jesus told his disciples to “come let us reason together” (not pray together). It is indeed an act of sabotage as well as an attempt to blackmail God himself when a leader seeks spiritual solutions to practical issues that character can minister to.
More often thing not, a man’s character shapes his destiny. A mans ways, like the Bible says maketh way for him. Nobody needs a pastor to know that citizens ought to be treated with respect and compassion, especiallysenior citizens. Indeed, A genuine leader ought to have the utmost regard for public servants and pensioners who are the engine room of any government.
Love him, hate him, nobody can accuse Chief Hope Uzodimma of greed, wickedness or self-centeredness. Those who know him closely say that he is an epitome of compassion and philanthropy, never allowing any one who comes to him to go empty handed. A political entrepreneur with little or no time for malice and calumny, Uzodimma comes to the Imo gubernatorial race fully prepared with his eyes fixed on the ball ready and fit as a fiddle, to match and if possible exceed the unbroken records of late Sam Mbakwe. He refuses to be carried away by the prolonged euphoria that greeted his “triumphant entry” into Owerri, the state capital, after the protracted and needless battle for the governorship ticket of the ruling party. To most imolites who witnessed Uzodimma’s arrival from Abuja, the only event that compares was the arrival of Ikemba of Nnewi from exile in Ivory Coast way back in 1982.
That said, it becomes imperative for Imolites, irrespective of ethnic and partisan considerations to rally round the one with the midas touch, who stuck out his head and dared the lion even in his den.
Aside from his near permanent charming smile and a harmless dispotion, Hope is fully armed with a blueprint for the even development of the entire state using massive youth involvement of small and medium enterprises (SMES) as springboards. The idea is to attack the ailing state like a military invasion, using the PPP (Public/ Private Partnership) module, targeting key issues like steady electricity, genuine roads, robust basic education, functional health insurance, food security and capacity building among the work force, both serving and retired. Uzodimma , perhaps more than this co-contestants (he detests the word opponent) boasts of a profound local and international business networks which he is set to deposit in the state to jump start the economic base and unlock the potentials of the local youths. He sees work as fun and is excited about great ideas and superior logic.
As a homeboy who worked in a family bakery to earn his school fees and also as a strect boy who dared all odds to rise from grass to grace, Uzodimma knows that he has no room for errors or even indecision as he shops for the best brains that Imo parades, in his quest to revamp the various system that make up Imo.
The clock starts ticking from the day he becomes governor with the big picture of Sam Mbakwe on his mind’s eye. He says he can not afford to waste time on such frivohities like empty slogans and false promises, rather he hopes to seek God’s blessing so that with the road map already put together by an impeccable think tank, nothing can stop the strengthening of government apparatus, revitalization of the people’s socio economic wellbeing as well as the rebuilding of lost confidences with a ready template for quality assurance, project monitoring, using qualified professionals as well as re-modeling the curriculum of our basic education with emphasis on value reorientation,science and technical education.
Chief Uzodimma, like the peoples general that he is, will lead by example and lead from the front too, so that within the four years of his governance, Imo will be transformed into one of the best states in the nation and be the hub of the long awaited South eastern states economic integration.
By 2023, who knows, with the rising profile of the Onwa of Omuma, the annointed one and the reincarnate of Sam Mbakwe, Uzodima may jolly well be getting ready to step in as the undisputble Igbo leader and everyone will demand that he goes to Abuja again, this time to Aso Rock! After all, as the Igbo adage says “Uzodimma, Agaya Ugboro abuo”, meaning that one good tenure deserves an even higher one!
– Nnawugo is a community leader based in Awomamma, Imo State