Gov Hope Uzodinma 

By Henry Ekpe

The Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma was sworn-in for a second term on Jan 15, 2024.

Many political pundits had predicted that he would immediately after  inauguration announce a skeletal Cabinet of Appointees right there at the venue.

Eighteen days after, Uzodinma is yet to appoint his inner Staff, like the Secretary to the State Government SSG, Chief of Staff, Special Advisers,  SAs, Senior Special Assistants, SSAs etc, before the list of Commissioners that must pass through the House of Assembly.

But indications are that the Governor has decided to take his time before arriving on the list of his new appointees.

Various factors may have caused this. The major reason we heard is that the Governor discovered that most of those he relied on as his confidants and first Eleven of his cabinet, got involved in shoddy land deals that embarrassed the Governor.

To the shock of the perpetrators themselves, the Governor did not condone  their  misdemeanor but rather allowed the law to run its full course, as some of those indicted spent weeks in police cells.

Therefore, the people he ought to have left behind in his old Cabinet  while searching for more fresh hands got swept off in the blanket State Executive Council dissolution that spared no body.

Following this ugly scenario, Uzodinma is now  shopping outside the Imo political shores to fish out people to help him drive the State in his next four years in office.

And again, following the humongous funds pumped into the Uzodinma reelection project, it looked as if the Governor had paid off his party stalwarts.

They did not spare a kobo and showed no pity on the Governor as they demanded for the Head of John the Baptist in the name of support.

With these developments, nobody should blame the Governor if he decides to ignore his Party leaders and side track godfatherism in choosing his appointees.

In that case, it will not be a surprise if  those from other political parties who just joined in the Battle of Nov 11, 2023 under agreement get plum positions, ahead of their APC counterparts.

From the Governor’s body language, he also is likely to use more of Technocrats than “Professional Politicians”, as that experiment failed him in his first few months in office which is the reason he dropped his Old Political Friends in his cabinet and used more of Technocrats to complete his first term.

And mind you Uzodinma is not ending his political career  in 2027.

Therefore it will be a wrong assumption to believe that he will use the next four years to “Settle Friends and Enjoy”. 

No at all. The Omuma, Oru East born political Avatar certainly has other ideas.

He will try to improve his records when leaving office as part of his selling points to gain more political leverage in 2027.

 Uzodinma’s last outing as Governor may not be all about “Bread and Butter” for desperate lobbyists and sychophants.

One thing sure is that the Governor will not act  “Father Christmas”  as before when he created over five hundred appointments that dug deep hole into Imo coffers.

Although that exercise  helped to create numerous jobs for Imo people, but it also helped  create more lazy people who now have  Entitlement Mentality since most of the appointees refused to create a second address for themselves thinking Government Appointment is a profession.

While the professional ones among the legion have since moved on in search of fresh challenges, others are still loitering around Government House gate with the hope that they are "entitled" to return even after four years on Government patronage.

Therefore, Imo people are now looking forward to a manageable State Executive Council, where each member will have his/her job specifications  spelt out with out unnecessary duplications and clashes. 

It is believed that the Governor made several number of appointments because of the then governorship election. But now elections have come and gone!

However, one thing certain is that many of those in the last State Executive Council will return.

They will come back either because of their personal relationship with the Governor, or their performance while in Government.

The Commissioner for Works, Bar Ralph Nwosu,  deserves a return, because of his sterling stewardship.

If there is anything Uzodinma can point at as glaring signature achievement in his first four years, it is road construction.

And the man that made that happen is the ever-present-at-site Commissioner for Works, Ralph Nwosu, who has also been a long term buddy and ally of Uzodinma.

The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Hon Mbadiwe Emelumba has been Uzodinma’s Media man for decades now. So, apart from his close relationship with Uzodinma, Emelumba stood his ground in the early days of the administration, when he  met a voracious solid star studded Imo PDP Media machine.

Emelumba was on radio stations every day and was writing to counter heavy bombardments against the Government every hour

The Government even resorted to poaching the PDP Media personnel, the reason Ogubundu Nwadike, Ambrose Nwaogwugwu and others joined the Uzodinma Media team

Presently Emelumba has also repackaged the moribund Imo owned Statesman newspaper.

But what has remained Emelumba's short coming is his poor human relationship with Imo journalists,  his constituency. And it is not a good story  that for four years in office, Governor Uzodinma has not met Imo based journalists. Not for once.

Even when he was running for a second term and briefed all groups in Imo State about his ambition  he did not meet Imo NUJ.

Bar Cyprian Akaolisa, (COC) has been Uzodinma’s man for years and has done well as the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice. In such position you are not seen but  heard.

Akaolisa lost his house and that of his father for supporting Uzodinma.

Another person is the Commissioner for Digital Economy, Dr Okere. The man did a lot in that sector, and suddenly brought attention to the Ministry one thought was alien here.

Bar Rex Anunobi  (Sokom) has also did  well in the area of Traffic Management in the State Capital. The usual traffic jams are vanishing, by blocking most of the junctions that cause the gridlock.

Nze Chinasa Nwaneri, the Special Adviser, Special Duties is poised to come back. You may not like how he carries out his duties, but you are not the one that employed him. Only his employer will rate him.

Bar Enyinna Onuegbu, the SA Political Affairs will return.Uzodimma won 27/27. So, how else would you judge Onuegbu?

The security issue is getting better than before it was unpredictable for one to move around even in the State capital, Owerri.

Today, most of the incidents are outside the State capital. But the guerrilla tactics adopted by the hoodlums  are very difficult to contain because it is not conventional. So, no need changing a winning team in this Area.

Serious  attention must be given to Agriculture. The sector does not need  rocket science method to succeed. 

Governors Achike Udenwa and Ikedi Ohakim administrations showed that it is feasible for Imo State to make progress in Agriculture and at least feed herself.

The seven months administration of Emeka Ihedioha also made Agriculture a priority and the results were quickly noticed.

The teeming unemployed Imo Youths can turn Imo to a Food Basket if  Government makes it a priority.

There are massive lands in Ngor Okpala, Ohaji/Egbema, Owerri West etc begging for attention.

As Imo people quietly await Uzodinma’s new State Executive Council may their patience worth the while.

Ekpe is a journalist and publisher of The Trumpets, an Owerri-based newspaper