By Stanley Okehie
Governor Hope Uzodinma has accused Imo State politicians and civil servants of destroying the State. The governor also alleged that Imo State was a cemetery before he took over the reins of power as governor in January 15th.
Uzodinma who spoke during a grand reception programme organized in his honour by the people of Oru Nation (Oru East and Oru West), told Imo citizens to blame civil servants for their failures as they also blame politicians. He said Imo State can only be repaired when both politicians and civil servants work together.
He lashed out on civil servants who receive multiple salaries and team up with politicians to steal and sell government lands.
The Governor said, “Those of you who are employed by the government, who receive multiple salaries, who take government property as if it belongs to nobody, who join politicians to steal lands, to steal government guest houses, who sell government lands at will as if it belongs to nobody. If you don’t change, the politicians may not change. So while begging politicians to change, am also begging civil servants to change.”
Uzodinma promised to pay the minimum wage from January 2021, but however warned civil servants in the state not to hide under the cover of the minimum wage to embark on industrial action. The Governor also said there are people who collect pensions whereas they are not pensioners and called for a change of attitude.
He added that government can only provide good schools, good roads and good hospitals when people like them and civil servants who delight in sharp practices are stopped.
Uzodinma said he has come to manage government as a business and threatened such people of severe consequences should they fail to repent.
“If you know you are earning salaries in more than one place, go and cancel the other one, if you don’t, in the next three weeks, when the report of the automation exercise comes out, those who did not cancel their own by themselves will be prosecuted and sent to prison.”
Uzodinma also accused doctors in the State of mismanagement of government hospitals and advised those who are not ready to play by his rules to quit. He noted his interest to recruit new and younger doctors.
On unemployment, the Governor promised to create employment by revamping the moribund industries built by late Sam Mbakwe.
“I am apologizing to our young men and women for the neglect they have suffered in the hands of previous leaderships. We are doing our best to revamp all the good industries built by late Sam Mbakwe in Imo State. By the time we revamp 50% of such industries, we are sure of reducing unemployment in Imo State by 60%.
He disclosed that the federal government has approved an intervention fund for the revamping of all industries in the state.
Earlier, Ambassador George Obiozor who chaired the occasion, described Governor Uzodinma as an achiever. He said the governor will do wonderful things for Imo State. Barr. T.U Asoegwu, a director at Imo State Specialist Hospital said Oru nation has no reason not to honour Uzodinma.
“Onwa from birth has been a goal-getter. As a senator, he did so well, you can imagine what he will do as a governor. I assure you, by the time he completes his first tenure, Imo people will be clapping.”
HRH Eze Okeukwu Victor appealed for support from Imo people to enable the governor perform well.
“We have to give him our support for him to do better. As his name implies ‘Onwa’, he shines for us and for the entire state.”
HRH Eze Victor Ogwurumba, Igwe Duruoha 1 of Ohakpu said the occasion was necessary because it was the first time, a son of Oru is governing the state. He said it will afford the people the opportunity to tell the governor of their needs. He mentioned Mgbidi College Road-Ozara-Ohakpu as one that needs urgent attention. The monarch also appealed to the governor to look into the education sector, noting that most schools are dilapidated while some lack teachers. He said his community has no electricity and hoped the governor intervenes soon.
Uzodinma was at the occasion, conferred the title of ‘Onwa Gburugburu’ by traditional rulers of Oru Nation.
Anambra State born sensational singer, Phyno and ‘African China’ performed at the event.