By Clifford Ndujihe & Chinonso Alozie, Owerri
AHEAD of the Supreme Court ruling on Monday, Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma has been on his wits end worming his way into the hearts of Imo people and consolidating his hold on power.
On Monday, the apex court will decide whether or not to review its judgement voiding the election of Chief Emeka Ihedioha and declaring Uzodinma as winner. Ihedioha, who contested on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was returned as winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
However, Uzodinma, who ran on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and came fourth, challenged the decision saying that the INEC refused to accept results from 388 polling units, which if added would give him victory.
He lost at the Eletion Tribunal and Court Appeal but got favourable ruling at the Supreme Court.
The PDP said the verdict was made in error and asked the apex court to review the decision, which will be done on Monday.
While awaiting the ruling, governance is taking place. The Imo state governor, Hope Uzodinma, has promised to deliver quality governance using his 3Rs of Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Recovery.
Political spectators yesterday told Vanguard in Owerri, that they started assessment of Uzodinma on his 3Rs, officially from January 14, 2020.
It was the day that the apex court sacked Emeka Ihedioha as governor, and Uzodinma was sworn-in.
Uzodinma returned and boasted that he has the key to unlock good governance in Imo. It’s now more than a month and three weeks he mounted the position as governor.
Vanguard observed mixed reactions from his people regarding the way and manner Uzodinma has performed.
Different approach to governance
According to them, one of the points scored by the governor was that he has approached governance differently, to have continued with the projects of his two predecessors, Rochas Okorocha and Emeka Ihedioha.
This move by Uzodinma, may have earned him the name continuity in governance, and that the governor is not discriminatory, vindictive in his policies and programmes.
They were of the view that the governor has shown some laudable interests in civil service reform, welfare and incentives for workers.
Within the period under review, the state’s head of service and permanent secretaries of the various ministries were gifted cars manufactured by Innoson, a local manufacturing company, to enhance workers’ performance. Not only that, after almost a decade water supply has been restored at the state secretariat.
Inline with this, the government has planned a mass transit scheme specially for civil servants and a housing scheme.
Also, the governor has approved the N30,000 national minimum wage. ”The Imo State Government has approved immediate implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage in the State Public Service for the least paid worker on Grade level 1 Step 1. Consequential adjustments on other levels will be implemented as soon as the ongoing Government-Labour negotiations are concluded,” he said.
On road construction, the governor was angered by the abandonment of projects by contractors engaged by Ihedioha, and threatened to take a decisive action on runaway road contractors as well as to terminate their contracts. The warning forced many of the contractors back to site.
In the area of boosting the revenue of the state, in order to execute capital projects among other things the governor signed into law the amendment of the Imo State Revenue Administration Law 2020, to channel 95 percent of the Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, directly to the coffers of the government.
His reasons: “Before now, the law provides for consultants that collect 10% of the total revenue, 10% goes to the Board of Internal Revenue (BIR), 20% to ENTRACO and 10% to OCDA.
“At the end of the month, 50% of the IGR is gone, leaving the state with only 50% of the internally generated revenue collected. This is in violation of the provisions of the 1999 constitution as amended.”
But “the amendment will empower the Board of Internal Revenue to spend 5% of the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for the payment of salaries of their workers and other personnel services. This expenditure, the governor said, will be subjected to appropriation by the State House of Assembly.
“With the amendment, the state now stands to gain more as 95% of the total IGR will go directly to the state coffers as against the 50% which was the old order.”
On water supply in the state, the government said it commenced a comprehensive maintenance work on the Otammiri Headworks of the Owerri Regional water scheme, “as part of measures to guarantee constant supply of portable water to residents of Owerri metropolis.
“The comprehensive maintenance work would entail desludging of: Raw water tank, Aeration Basin, Flocculation Basin, Sedimentation Basin, Filter Beds and replacement of media and nozzles, Clear Water Tank, Backwash Tank, and other variables inhibiting free flow of portable water in the Owerri metropolis.”
Apart from the water project, investors have started coming to the state, one of which was the the American International Health Incorporated led by its Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Prof. Uche Nwaneri. The investors donated $1.2m worth of medical equipment.
It was gathered that other investors have entered into the state, many of which in few days will be signing their Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, with the state government.
However, when Vanguard called the opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, State Publicity Secretary, Domain Opara, to comment on the governor’s performance so far, he said: “I have nothing to say for now because the supreme court has not decided who is the governor of Imo state, until the supreme court decides I will know what to say.”
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