Although it was a voluminous speech that was focused on his administration’s plans for Imo development, a large chunk of the frameworks and elements that he noted would define his administration”s policy thrusts are manifestly and essentially a rehearsal of Rt Hon. Emeka Ihedioha’ s Rebuild Agenda which in seven months as Governor he implemented with vigour, intensity and abiding faith.
In all modesty, not a few observers believe that the speech lacked veritable flow, elegant touch, proper sequence and clear segmentation intrinsic in such high profile speeches. As a result the speech typified more of a campaign message than a state broadcast
In contents and context, the broadcast attempted to provide insights into the new administration’s trajectory of governance. But on the contrary, the speech was fraught with unassailable inaccuracies, ample gaps and disturbing misinformation about Ihedioha-led government.
Unmistakably, sectoral analyses of the frameworks and governance structures unfolded in the speech would drive the point home profoundly. Take the fiscal sector as a case study. The speech contained that the new government “will restore financial discipline, enthrench due process and conduct government business in the most transparent fashion” as if these were non-existent prior to this time.
This is far from the truth. Ihedioha took efficient steps to enthrone fiscal discipline in government through the introduction of Treasury Single Account that cancelled the 250 accounts ran by Owelle Rochas Okorocha government. Ihedioha-led government also revitalized Bureau of Public Procurement and Intelligence and Easy of Doing Business towards instilling due process and transparency in government. The fascinating result was that Imo under Ihedioha’s watch was rated as the least corrupt state in Nigeria by the National Bureau of Statistics and relevant international development agencies. The critical point being emphasized is that the new administration should be more inclined to consolidating the impressive fiscal disciplsine Ihedioha’has responsibly laid down rather than using the errenous term ‘ to restore’ what has already been an organic structure of Ihedioha administration
Again,the impression created
in the speech that the 27 local councils in the state didn’t enjoy autonomy under Ihedioha’s watch was misplaced and deceitful. It is on record and verifiable that one of the earliest accomplishments of Ihedioha-led government was restoration of sanity to the local councils and enthronement of full financial autonomy. Consequently, Joint Account meeting was introduced towards ensuring that the authorities of the local councils collected their allocations in full.
It is equally untrue to suggest and imply in the speech that Ihedioha didn’t tdrive civil service and pensions reforms underpinned by regular payment of salaries. The had contained that the new government will “overhaul the civil service and other institutions and ensure prompt payment of salaries, pensions and other statutory obligations”. One of the cardinal objectives of Ihedioha-led administration was the revamp of the civil service and reinstatement of the pensioners entitlements abandoned for about six years by the previous administration. It is evdence-based that within three months of his administration Ihedioha restored full payment of.workers salaries, undertook pensioners biometric verification leading to regular payment of the pensioners entitlements through bank alerts system. Last December, for instance, both pensioners and civil servants received their entitlements before 20th of the month ,early enough for the Christmas festivities. It is therefore inappropriate to incorporate prompt payment of salaries in the speech as one of the plans of the new government as if it was not a standard practice under Ihedioha’s watch.
Besides, Ihedioha crucially addressed recruitment, promotion, appointment, disengagement and other challenges confronting the civil servants through a committee he set up to look into the avalanche of petitions that inundated government and impacted adversely on the civil service. The White paper on the committee’s report was painstakingly considered by the State Executive Council.
The administration also undertook staff retraining for enhanced proficiency, motivation and productivity
Equally worrisome and trite was the manner Governor Uzodinma presented his administration’s infrastructural development plan without making even veiled reference to the massive and significant infrastructural development drive of Ihedioha administration. Within seven months of his administration, Ihedioha demonstrated unprecedented sensitivity to the deplorable state of Imo roads leading to the plights of Imo people by awarding 25 critical roads projects for reconstruction and rehabilitation and accordingly mobilized the contractors to the sites. As it is well known by Imolites work has reached
advanced stage on some of the projects
However, the impression inherent in the speech that the Otamiri Water Scheme was abandoned by Ihedioha is another huge misrepresentation that needs to be addressed. The records are established that Ihedioha restored Otamiri Water after eight years of dry taps in Owerri. What is therefore required is an earnest follow-up to functional foundations already laid out
It is in the same regrettable manner that the technology hub which Imo was rated the best in the country under Ihedioha’s watch was inaccurately captured in the maiden speech.
It is therefore imperative to note that a veritable way forward is to acknowledge the remarkable accomplishments of Ihedioha-led government within a short period of time and develop desirable capacity to build on them for enhanced results.