OPINION: IMO STATE: UZODINMA’S GANGSTER’S ‘PARADISE’

August 1, 2020
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Hope Uzodinma

Governor Hope Uzodinma has made nonsense of governance in Imo State. He is like an emperor who runs an empire. And because he never got the mandate of the people to govern them through their votes, he rules, not govern Imo like a warlord, a rebel leader who has conquered a territory.

Go to Imo State. There is despondency in the land. Sorrow, pain and regret stare on the faces of the average Imolite. Uzodinma runs Imo State like a cartel, a gangster’s paradise. Just like in the movie- Koolio and the gang.

Those who enjoy the perks of office in Uzodinma’s cartel are few, while those of his aides seen as “outsiders” grope in the dark. Like blind men and women, they are led with a walking stick and directed where to go or not. A kind of zombie movement!

Seven months after he was proclaimed Governor of Imo State by the Supreme Court, Uzodinma is hunted by the ghost of stealing someone’s mandate. He seems overwhelmed with the task involved in governance. And because he never prepared governing a complex State like Imo, Uzodinma is yet to hit the ground running. Like a toddler, he still crawls in learning the art of governance, while Imo bears the consequence of his incompetence.

Uzodinma is an unprepared governor making mockery of his shared prosperity mantra of his administration which has been nicknamed government of shared frustration. His government is plagued by administrative flip flops, un-organized with no direction. He alone runs the show, a negative trait exhibited by someone afraid of his shadow and overtaken by inferior complex.

His Deputy, Placid Njoku, is like a fish in a pond without water. He too gropes in the dark with no aides to aid him. Uzodinma will not approve any for him. Special Advisers, Senior Special Assistants Uzodinma appointed do not have job descriptions. Most of them have no offices. No funds, nothing to work with. It took Uzodinma five months to even assign portfolios to them after their appointment. They loiter about like late comers to school.  And because he underfunds his Commissioners, SAs, SSAs, they resort to desperate measures.

Desperate times calls for desperate actions. This is the posture of some of Uzodinma aides. One particular incident was the State Commissioner of Commerce and Chairman, Mbaitoli LGA. They had to go to the Police over revenue from Egbeada market!

The menace of several Task Forces in Owerri metropolis, who duplicate functions, is another sad testimony of how desperate Uzodinma’s aides’ scramble for survival by milking poor citizens of their hard earned money.

The Task Forces constitute alternative sources of revenue for the government appointees and their agencies because Uzodinma will never release funds to them to function.  In Owerri metropolis alone, more than five Task Forces operate daily, extorting money from motorists, commuters and residents for flouting one “emergency rule” or the other.

At the local governments, the story is pathetic. Uzodinma’s Interim LGA Chairmen, who have been sacked by the courts but illegally sit in offices at the Councils, do not receive allocations as directed by the Federal Government. What trickles into the local governments in Imo State are piecemeal shared at his discretion.  Imo State Local Governments billions go to God knows where.

The House of Assembly members are not spared. They also beg to get paid of their entitlements. Because they have eaten crumbs from the master’s table, they cannot call Uzodinma to order.

There is wailing in Uzodinma’s Imo, a type never seen before. This ‘Capone’s style of governance has led to hunger in the land. It is grinding every sector. No one or sector is spared of Hope Uzodinma’s hopeless pattern of governance. The pensioners and workers are not spared. Protests have become the norm in Imo. No day passes without one protest or the other, all lamenting nonpayment of salaries. What is Uzodinma doing with our commonwealth?

There is anger among the citizenry in Imo State. There is wailing in the land. He sits on the seat of governance of the state exhibiting high level of cluelessness. Imo is on standstill. No direction. No going forward. The people are regaled with tales of monumental achievements which exists on the social media. The opposition is muscled as dissenting views are subdued.  Where did ndi Imo get it wrong? Imo is in limbo. May God deliver us.  May He save us from this gangster’s paradise.

*** Written by Kenny Onwuka.

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