Ody Ajike, a lawyer, security expert and chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in this interview with Vivian Okejeme, said Governor Emeka Ihedioha came fully prepared to build an intellectual based leadership for the people of Imo state.
In your view, what prompted the victory of Governor Emeka Ihedioha in the last governorship election in Imo state?
It’s not about Governor Emeka Ihedioha deserving eight years in office, it is about equity. We need to understand the political complexion of Imo state before we know why Govwrnor Ihedioha won the election. Why I talked about the political complexion of Imo is because, in Imo, since 1999, no one from Owerri zone has been elected as the state governor. We have three zones in Imo state, Orlu zone, Okigwe zone and Owerri zone. Achike Udenwa is from Orlu zone and was governor for eight years and after Udenwa, Ikedi Ohakim came into power from Okigwe zone and was governor for four years. In 2011, Rochas Okorocha came in from Orlu zone again and was governor for eight years. You will see that it has been auxilating between Orlu and Okigwe zone. Owerri zone has not produced any governor since 1999 and it has nine local governments as against Okigwe’s 12. But what happened at the last election, governor Ihedioha did not only win all the local government in Owerri zone, he also won some local government in Orlu and Okigwe zones. So, that shows that he has that spread and the people are interested in making sure that there is equity. So you will see that, this is the first time somebody from Owerri zone will win an election since 1999 and that is what the people are concerned with. People are concerned about how to undo the political inequity in Imo state since 1999. That was why they came out en-mass and voted for him. It is on record that even the APC candidate didn’t win any seat in the State House of Assembly in Imo state in the last election and that explains to you that the APC is not on ground in Imo state. Even in the local government of Uche Nwosu, the candidate of AA in the election did not have up to 10,000 votes in his local government.
With your analysis of the last election in the state, would you say competence should be jettisoned for the zoning arrangement?
That is the beauty of democracy and the beauty of political complexion of the politics of Imo state. We are not jettisoning equity for competence because we have on ground today Governor Emeka Ihedioha, who is running a knowledge intensive government. I said it even before he became governor, that he is coming to run a knowledge intensive government. This is a man who came fully prepared, built an intellectual bases for leadership and for you to understand what he is doing, you need to go to Imo and see that the former governor of the state destroyed every democratic process, procedure and institution in the state. What governor Ihedioha is doing is rebuilding the establishment rules, institutions and putting in place people who are intellectually capable to design solutions for the development of the state for the people. You can imagine, ministry of works under the last administration was a ghost to itself. Today, the civil service is being reorganize and the entire public sector is also being re-organize so that structures are being put in place. The pension scheme has been completed because, the governor brought in experts to create accurate data to know the number of pensioners. In the process, over 3,000 ghost pensioners were discovered. He is putting ideas in place and technology at work because those are the two things that help government today. His competence is deployed across technology and ideas for people’s prosperity.
How would you compare the previous administration to the present one?
I am not here to do a rear-view analysis of what happened in the past. I only highlighted it for you to have a little idea of the level of devastation and destruction that occurred in Imo under Rochas Okorocha. Governor Ihedioha is not interested in personal vendetta. When you look at the structures he puts in place, you will see that they are structures the former administration should have put in place for the people of the state to enjoy. There is a board of enquiry put in place by the state government that is looking at the issue of allocation of lands and abuse of extant laws in land procurement and allocation. The board is headed by a retired high court judge. There is also another board of enquiry in respect to government contracts. How can Okorocha and his supporters say governor Ihedioha is engaging in personal vendetta, where, how, for what purpose? Everything he is doing is for the benefit of the people of the state and that is why hw is following procedures permitted by law to achieve all these. So, you know that, as they always say, corruption will always fight back. You need to come to Imo and see the level of devastation. You need to come and see how government property were carted away from government house, offices and establishments by the past administration. We are not even dwelling much on some of these things, we are talking about purposeful leadership, knowledge intensive leadership aimed towards the welfare of the people and reviving the present and the future of Imo state.
Should the previous administration be probed?
The state government has put structures in place to look into the total devastation of the state because what happened in Imo before now is not just looting but total devastation of the state. So, you can imagine even spoons and other utensils were taken away from the government house. Even investors left the state under the last administration because as you know, investors are very shy people. But today, confidences are being rebuilt and investors are coming back. I will not sit here to tell the level of intervention coming into the state by people who have expressed intentions and people who are actually part of the development going on in the state now because of the confidence they have in the present administration.
How would you rate the present administration since inauguration on May29?
He has done what no governor has done in the first hundred days and I can count some of them. In his hundred days in office, he has been able to democratise local government administration. Today, they receive their funds and spend it without any interference from the state government. The local governments are engaged in people’s oriented projects. Each local government is developing a stadium so that the youths can be engage and tap their talents. Pension reforms in the state, has also received attention from the state government with credible data structures for pensioners. Today, pensioners are receiving their pay monthly and public servants also receive their salaries promptly. The roads are also receiving attention. From Owerri to Okigwe is under construction; from Owerri to Obowu is under construction and from Owerri to Nekede is under construction and so many others. As a matter of fact, 27 roads are under construction in the state and none of the construction companies handling the road projects has anything to do with him or members of his families. The contractors are prime Chinese, Europeans and Asians construction companies. Indigenous companies are also part of the project. As we speak, Dan Anyiam stadium is under construction to host the next National Sports Festival and the festival will hold across the local governments in the state because the local governments are also building stadiums. Technocrats who were chased away by the previous government are coming back to work with the state government to move the state forward for the benefit of the people.
What is your advice to Imo people concerning Governor Ihedioha?
The Governor needs their prayers and support to succeed. He means well for the people because the people are his biggest strength and source of inspiration. The governor is always very sad when he sees the level of destruction and devastation levied on Imo in the past 8 years. He is sad when he sees that they people were pacified with hardship. However, he has started implementation of his development programme by instituting a systemic security cum development strategy, that its end state is the prosperity, welfare and security of the people and the State.