Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State
…Notes what makes Uzodimma different; how he can achieve his dreams
By Chinonso Alozie, Owerri
Many years after he joined the ancestors, Sam Mbakwe is still revered in Nigeria especially in Imo State where he governed from 1979 to 1983. His achievements in the old Imo State (Before Abia was created) have remained landmarks and no governor from the eastern region since then has commanded the kind of respect his people had for him although close watchers would also thumb up for Jim Nwobodo of the old Anambra State.
Mbakwe was a man of the people. His policies and programmes were people-friendly and he lifted many a poor family. Imo people still sing song with his name. It was against this background that, high in spirit, new Imo State governor, Hope Uzordimma said two weeks ago that he is Sam Mbakwe’s reincarnate, promising not only to emulate the revered Mbakwe but also to leave legacies that would make his feet fit into the shoes the man left behind.
“I read the story where the new governor said he is my husband’s reincarnate and that he would pull all strings to excel like my husband and perhaps do more. I was delighted to read that and I wish him good luck, I wish him the best in the effort to serve our people and do great things for them.”
These were the words of Her Excellency, Victoria Samuel Mbakwe, the former First Lady of the old Imo State when Saturday Vanguard had a chat with her in her home town, Avutu in Obowo Local Government Area of Imo State.
She was warm, friendly and happy to express what had been of tremendous concern to her, the problem of leadership and governance in the state.
“God made Hope Uzodimma governor, that’s largely why I believe something good could come the way of the people from him,” she said, adding “what Imo needs is a governor who will complete the good projects of past administrations, embark on people-oriented projects and move Imo forward.” It was clear that the woman now in her late 70s still monitors the goings on in the state and Nigeria in general.
The respected former First Lady condemned the destruction of government facilities such as the Otammiri Water Scheme, resuscitated by the Uzodimma administration shortly after resumption. She said that those behind such acts were enemies of the people. Understanding that sometimes, those who play politics could be dirty, she advised Uzoddima to continue in the spirit in which her husband served Imo State, saying that developing love for the people would make him passionate about his job and compel him to work tirelessly for the people. She spoke more on many issues.
What’s your feeling about this government ?The feelings are those of concern. It is God who makes one a governor and I feel that God put Hope Uzodimma there now and people should support him. The governor, Hope Uzodimma, said he is my husband’s reincarnate, he will do like my husband. He will do more work to help Imo people.
He will do something that will make Imo people happy. What I want to say since he made that statement is that he should continue to act like my husband.
He has been mentioning the name of my husband, he is not the only one who has done so. Many had promised to work like him. The difference is that I believe in him, that he will do more work for Imo people.
Are you worried that since 1979, your husband has been the only governor from Imo recorded as the best among others ?
I am worried. Nobody will be happy that his child is not growing. And since, it has been like that I am so worried.
How do you feel when you see some of the industries built by Dee Sam Mbakwe, that they have all gone moribund ?
Remember, I was part of the work done in those days. Because, they say behind a successful man there is a successful woman. I was helping my husband.
I am not happy to see all these factories going down. It doesn’t make anybody happy at all. It saddens me too..
People should continue from where somebody stopped. That is governance. That way, there will be progress but without continuing those projects of past governments there would not be progress. That is why it appears everywhere is at standstill now. I am not happy when I here these industries are no more.
Which area of governance will you advice governor Hope Uzodimma to concentrate ? I wouldn’t say others did not do anything, there is nobody that came without doing one thing or the other. What I am in support is continuity in governance.
Looking at all of them, I want him to concentrate on roads, electricity, water, education. These are very important, I can’t mention all of them; anything that is good for the people let him face it. . Let him continue with the love, the passion my husband used to do his work.
Let him continue with the love of his people. It is when you are in love with your people that you always think about their progress, what will improve their lives. Let that love burn in him . I am sure that when that happens things will be better because he will be challenged to work for the people. It’s then he will truly be my husband’s reincarnate.
His administration has repealed the law paying pensions and other privileges to Ex-governors, deputies, speakers and their deputies ?
It is the right thing to do because if a governor finishes his term of office and goes to the Senate, he is earning money here and there, I think it is not fair. I like it very much. What the governor has done is commendable.
You finish as a governor and you go to the National Assembly, it is not fair for the person to earn two salaries. So much wastes in our system. It doesn’t help our collective interest. When the leaders deep their hands into what is meant to serve the people, the poor suffer it most. Let’s improve our system and reduce cost of governance and use the money for projects that will benefit the people.
•Mrs Victoria Mbakwe
Shortly after the Otammiri water scheme was resuscitated, it was vandalized.
That is wrong for anybody to vandalize government facility because it is all for the good of the people, for the benefit of the people. Whoever does that is enemy of the people. Such acts are bad news and I don’t like bad news.
What message would you want to pass to Imo people ?
My message to Imo people like I said from the beginning is that every government is sent by God. Everybody who comes on the line is the Lord’s wish. You can be there today and another person comes on board tomorrow. People should support anybody that is there to work for the interest of the people.
I say to Imo people, somebody is on that seat, as governor now. We should give him the full support to move Imo forward.