Imo communities move to shape Ihedioha’s policy focus

  • Imo Marshal Plan, consensus approach top agenda as Mbutu-Nweorie storm Governor-Elect’s home

(Culled from BD Sunday by Ignatius Chukwu)

Most communities in Imo State seem no longer willing to allow elites to form cabals and hijack the agenda of the incoming administration in the state or allow the next governor to be so power-drunk to operate a strange governance system that would look like a runaway government.

Instead, they seem to resolve to embark on participatory approach and help to formulate policy focus of the in-coming administration to be led by Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). To this end, most communities now beckon home their sons and daughters to help articulate community-interest policies and programmes to be submitted to the Governor-Elect, his think-Tank, and his transition committees.

This came to light when one of the early ones to make such move, Mbutu-Nweorie Autonomus Community in Aboh Mbaise local council area paid a visit to Ihedioaha’s Arunta country home in Mbutu Mbaise at the Easter weekend. The delegation was led by the Mbutu-Nweorie Stakeholders’ Forum (MNSHF).

Another important group that also paid a visit to Ihedioha same day is the Mbutu Peoples Assembly (MPA) along with other communities from far and near that trouped to Arunta.

A source said most communities including Mbutu-Nweorie people have demanded for an Imo Marshal Plan to draw a blue print for the development of the entire Imo State along an ordered pattern in a particular fashion instead of dumping of ideas and projects on the state without direction.

Some elders that were on the team were said to have also advised Ihedioha to thread on the path of consensus to govern Imo State so that most groups and communities would develop a sense of belonging and reduce unnecessary acrimony usually caused by division and marginalization.

In a speech signed by leaders of Mbutu-Nweorie including the Eze Uboha 1 (Michael Okpara), former deputy mayor (George Ohaegbule), and the convener of the Mbutu-Nweorie Stakeholders Forum (Christian Anyanwu, PhD), the people said Ihedioha had already launched a consensus approach to governance by the composition and size of the transition committee he recently set up.

The speech which was read by Anyanwu, the MNSF expressed the hearty gratitude of most Imo communities and Mbaise in particular for governorship to rotate to Mbaise people this time around. “The overwhelming support of Imo people during the electoral campaign and the massive turn-out of voters on the Election Day are indicative of acceptance of your incoming administration’s mission and vision of recovering and re-building Imo State. Your humility, calmness, patriotic and all-inclusive government approach are eloquent testimony that there is hope for Imo State and her people.”

He went on: “Mbutunworie people before now have always thrown their unflinching support behind your governorship aspirations. You are not only an illustrious son of Mbutu community but the God-sent Governor of Mbaise extraction for all Imo. Your emergence shook the whole of Nigeria and you are indeed ‘Governor for All’. You made waves when you served meritoriously as Deputy Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives during the 6th Assembly. Your achievements remain visible for all to see. Our autonomous community was not left out in your numerous landmarks of achievements especially in the re-construction of the Airport – Uvuru Road, construction of the Nkwo – Mbutu – Amawo – Ihitteoha – Ubahi – Nnorie Road (still-ongoing) and the renovation and reconstruction of the 5 – classroom block in Group School Mbutu that was de-roofed by storm.

“Now that much has been given to you by Imolites, much is being expected from you. Imo people have in recent times desired to have a credible governor like you; a man of impeccable character. We are happy you have made it.”

In an interview, Anyanwu told BD Sunday; “As his kinsmen, our first duty is to watch his back especially by always asking him to watch the fly by his feet, each time we think caution is needed on any matter. This is an Mbutu proverb.”

He had told Ihedioha; “Save Imo from insecurity and restore our land to a 24-hour economy. Make vast use of vigilantes that are nonpartisan so that they can work with the security agencies to restore stability and the sanctity of life in Imo State. Help our brothers in the Diaspora who have stopped visiting home due to insecurity to resume the annual Christmas home-coming that Igbo people are known for.”

He added in his speech: “We the Mbutunworie people are saying remember us when you would be in your kingdom’, as you have done previously. It is not the requests we can make here today that would be important but the open door we have between us that would enable us chip in requests from time to time. After all, every man knows exactly what his kinsman needs. The peculiar needs of the Mbutunworie community are well known to you.”

In his response, Ihedioha urged communities to shun violence and avoid criminal acts, saying any community that wanted government attention must join hands to chase away insecurity in the land.

He said Imo State can no longer habour insecurity and crime and hope to develop and grow. He called on those who may have committed crimes in the past to turn a new leaf and hold on to legitimate handwork and means of livelihood.

He charged communities that would need developmental projects or any social amenities to fight off insecurity in their areas and urged the youths to behave well and not to indulge in crimes and criminality. He made it clear that his administration would not condone crimes and would not shield any person that is implicated in crimes.

“Those who are caught in crimes will go in. We cannot condone crimes and this is the time for those who indulge in committing crimes to repent because you will go in for any crime you commit. I have the best intention for our people and I know what to do for them to be happy. We will provide jobs for our people”.

For communities demanding for amenities, he said he would not be part of marginalising any community or diverting what was due to any community.  He made it clear to the kindred-communities that he knew what was good for them but demanded loyalty to constituted authorities at all times.

He particularly promised to develop Mbutu Mbaise his home town and ensure that all autonomous communities in Mbutu Mbaise got equal share in terms of developmental projects and that attention would be given to all communities in Imo State.

He promised that he would do what the people of Imo State asked for and that his administration would be people –oriented. He added; “I will not put shame or bring shame on the people of Imo state”.

He described the courtesy visit on him as a thanksgiving to God in another form, and told Mbutu Mbaise people to always be happy and  thank God for his emergence as governor. He said only God made this election possible. If it were in the hands of men it would have failed. “We fought principalities and powers, because they prepared evil for us, therefore let us not lose focus”.