BY EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO
On Sunday this week, I boarded the Air Peace airline to Owerri, the
Imo state capital for a singular reason of personally witnessing the
beginning of the remaking of history in the Eastern heartland which
has only recently come out of a whooping eight years of desolation
and crass bad governance by the immediate past governor – Mr.
This remaking of history in my state of birth was the official flag
off of the World Bank’s assisted rural roads infrastructure which
took place incidentally from Umuduru market which will cover my home
town of Arondizuogu located in Onu-Imo local government area
While on board, I sat few places away from and infact next to the
newly sworn in governor of Imo state Mr. Emeka Ihedioha who was also
travelling back to Owerri apparently from an official tour in the
nation’s capital or somewhere near by.
The governor came in to the aircraft with about half a dozen
personal staff and his beautiful daughter just as one of his top
private officials sat just next to me.
This proximity afforded yours faithfully the opportunity of
exchanging few words regarding the planned flag off of this rural
I also had about five minutes conversations with the governor
whereupon I applauded him for remembering my hometown which has
faced horrendous ordeals of infrastructural deficit over the past
decades from virtually all the previous governors of the state.
Arondizuogu suffers from multiple deficiencies of social
infrastructures and the worst case scenario of marginalization of
unfathomable scale even as the few signs of civilization such as
electricity and graded rural roads were done as a result of communal
and/or individual efforts.
For instance, the only source of intermmittent electricity power to
most parts of Arondizuogu in Onu-Imo local government was donated by
a single individual who is also reputed to have singlehandedly
constructed some culverts and rural roads beginning from his
immediate community in a part of Arondizuogu located within Onu-Imo
LGA. It must be noted too that Arondizuogu traverses Okigwe and
Ideato North local government area councils.
In effect, our people are amongst those who feel the pains of a
failed administration under Rochas Okorocha whose long stay in
office was characterized by predatory diversion of public fund to
God knows where and who appeared to have spent more time in the
media spreading falsehood and outright cheap propaganda about some
fantastic feats he achieved as governor which are not in existence
anywhere in Imo state which today appears like the ruined segments
of the war torn Syria.
My readers can now understand my overwhelming enthusiasm to read
that the Imo state governor has remembered a long forgotten part of
the state and has indeed scheduled the flag off of the World
Bank’s partly funded rural roads which incidentally has only
happened because the now governor paid the counterpart fund which
Rochas Okorocha failed to do.
My trip to my state was therefore a labour of love for my hometown
and to witness the beginning of history and to be able to pen down
my thoughts independently and to charge governor Emeka Ihedioha to
ensure that the flag off ceremony does not become the end of the
dream of the long suffering people for imminent liberation from an
absolute denial of social amenities by the state government. This is
exactly what this article is set out to do- set agenda and to remind
Emeka Ihedioha that we are monitoring his administration closely to
see whether he will rebuild the devastated state from the debris of
ruins left over by the failed governor Mr. Okorocha who miraculously
manouvered his way to the Senate to represent Orlu which is one of
the places he destroyed by way of incompetence in office as governor
for two terms.
So on Tuesday this week, the governor arrived my hometown to begin
the construction of this all important road infrastructure which if
actualized, is capable of opening up many communities and helping
rural farmers and dwellers to be able to connect with modernity and
civilization and to enhance their economic activities.
As stated, i witnessed first hand using my own resources to fly all
the way to and fro to see as Governor Emeka Ihedioha flagged off the
construction of rural road projects in Imo state which he estimated
is worth N13.5billion – It include 380.7 kilometers of rural road
across the 27 local government areas of the state.
I stood amongst The enthusiastic crowds in Umuduru near Arondizuogu,
as the governor said he approved the swift payment of the
counterpart fund to activate the project upon assumption of office.
Incidentally, upon departing my hometown the entourage reportedly
stopped over at Mbaitoli LGA for the same solemn occasion in which
he read identical speech.
Speaking at the flag off at Onuimo, Isu and Mbaitoli local
government areas of the state, Governor Ihedioha assured the
readiness of his administration to partner development agencies for
the betterment of the state.
The governor said he approved the swift payment of the counterpart
fund to activate the project upon assumption of office.
He also decried the poor states of roads in the state said the
project will boost agriculture and socio-economic development in the
state and reduce rural urban migration.
His words: “As soon we assumed office, the RAMP project attracted
our attention, and so came under review. Our task teams and
committees analyzed the program and its processes, and being
satisfied with its objectives, immediately ratified it, then
provided the necessary approvals and directives therein including
updating payments of counterpart funds. “As a state, and indeed as
a person, we are particularly grateful to the two (2) institutions
that have made today possible – The World Bank and the AFD (the
French Development Bank).
He continued: “As a policy of state, we will continue, as a matter
of fact to intensify our engagements with the development partners
and multi-lateral institutions, in order to leverage on their
The governor revealed his administration’s intention to revive the
Imo Rural Roads Maintenance Agency (IRROMA), to ensure that no part
of Imo state rural areas remained inaccessible due to bad roads.
Hear him: “In order to ensure that beyond the construction of
these projects, their continuous use is guaranteed, we will revive
the State Road Maintenance Agency. This will ensure that our roads
remain in satisfactory conditions even years after construction,”
Governor Ihedioha said. He then assured that construction on the
state’s urban and major link roads will commerce in earnest. “Let
me use this platform to say that in the next few days, massive
constructions will commerce on Imo urban and major link roads. You
will agree that we met a road network in a deplorable state of
“We have painstakingly gone through the path of due process – from
the design to the procurement. “We have involved the ministry of
works, as never before, in the process. We want to deliver durable
roads that will stand the test of time. Be assured, development will
get to all parts of Imo state, no discrimination or exclusions,”
On his part, the senior special assistant to the governor on rural
development, Richmond Osuji, said the state government approved the
payment of 15% initial mobilization fund for the project.
He disclosed that the state government has mapped out fund to
compensate owners of properties that will be affected in the course
of the project. Osuji also promised that the Bureau for Rural
Development will ensure the compliance of the contractors with the
technical specification, budget and timeline for the completion of
the projects. Another bad development left behind by Rochas Okorocha
is the lack of good sanitation. The Imo state governor has disclosed
that he will attend to the urgent need to make Imo clean and green
Governor Ihedioha had said his administration is determined to make
Imo, the cleanest state in the federation.
The governor, who spoke at the Government House, Owerri, on
Wednesday, July 17 during the inauguration of the panning,
sensitization and implementation committee for the July, 2019
clean-up exercise, said the health of the state’s citizens was
threatened by unhealthy environment. He said that between 2008 and
2011, the state was adjudged the cleanest in the country by the
federal ministry of environment, lamenting that in the past 8 years,
the state had become one of the dirtiest.
The journey to and fro my state took me four days and within this
period, the traditional rulers drawn from all parts of the state met
and endorsed the decision of both the Imo state government and the
state’s legislature to investigate why the entire state has become
such a destroyed habitation even as infrastructures require
emergency to fix.
The Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers said they are in full
support of Gov. Emeka Ihedioha’s plan to probe the administration
of former Gov. Rochas Okorocha.
Available information i got states that the Chairman of the council,
Eze Samuel Ohiri, disclosed this to newsmen on Wednesday, at the end
of an emergency meeting of the council where the resolution was
He said that after a critical examination of the situation of Imo,
the council deemed it imperative that Okorocha must be probed.
Ohiri said the latest discovery that Okorocha allegedly spent N10
billion to build police headquarters called for serious probe.
He said, “After the emergency meeting of all the traditional
rulers, we resolved to encourage Ihedioha to ensure that all the
government properties illegally acquired by the former governor and
his cronies were recovered to Imo.
“We also want to use this opportunity to call on the Inspector
General of Police to return the money used in building the police
headquarters,” he said.
He said that “Imo does not have money to spend on Federal
Government’s project,” adding that “FG is supposed to show its
presence in Imo, not Imo building projects for FG.”
The royal father also admonished Okorocha, representing Imo West
Senatorial District, to stop inciting his supporters to cause
trouble in the state.
“Okorocha has finished his tenure as governor and we are calling
on him to allow Ihedioha to govern the state without
distractions,” he added.
This visit I must state is revealing. The current Imo state governor
must note that So much is expected from him so he has to spend
quality times inside the state and reduce the tendency to embark on
frivolous foreign trips which is one way most governors lavish the
resources of their states in the guise of chasing for foreign direct
investments. Imo state needs an ever present competent
administrator to turn around the devastated State.
*Emmanuel Onwubiko heads HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA
(HURIWA) and blogs @www.emmanuelonwubiko.com
,www.huriwa.blogspot.com ,www.thenigerianinsidermews.com .