New Telegraph

Imo 2023: Will Ndi-Imo have hope or lose hope?

Governor Hope Uzodinma’s rise to power as Governor of Imo State marked a turning point in the state’s political course and indeed that of Nigeria as a whole. Though Uzodinma had a rocky beginning but since assuming office on January 14, 2020, he has displayed a unique brand of visionary leadership that has begun to transform the state. While it could not be said that Hope Uzodinma, a former Senator was a greenhorn in politics having traversed major political parties including the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) where he was one time BoT member and also ran as governor of Imo State on the ticket of the Alliance for Democracy in 2003, his eventual declaration as winner by the Supreme Court in a rather controversial circumstance was a paradox that made Uzodinma’s journey to Imo Government House peculiar in a manner of speaking.

This is because Hon. Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP who polled the highest vote of 273,404 had been declared winner by INEC and sworn in as Governor while the first and second runners-up, Uche Nwosu of Action Alliance and Ifeanyi Ararume of APGA, with 190, 364 and 114, 676 votes respectively were by passed in the wisdom of the Supreme Court and Uzodinma who polled 90, 458 was declared as winner. However, as Ndi-Imo braces for another round of governorship elections this November, the question on the lips of every citizen is whether they will have hope or lose hope in Hope Uzodinma (pun well intended) who is vying for re-election under the banner of the All Progressives Congress (APC). The electoral process is not just a contest of candidates; it’s a pivotal moment for the people of Imo State to evaluate the progress, promises, and prospects of another term for Uzodinma. Imo State has been one of the hot beds of insecurity in the South East. On the political front, the state has had its fair share of ups and downs, but the recent events leading to the November polls have taken the political tussle to a whole new level. Or how could one describe a state that has often been a crucible of intrigue, controversy and brinkmanship? Over the years, its governance has been marked by a series of shifting allegiances. The state of affairs in Imo State prior to Governor Hope Uzodinma’s tenure have been characterized by frequent changes in leadership, political instability, and a lack of sustained progress. Imo State experienced a revolving door of governors, often with short tenures and limited impact on development.

As a political veteran, Uzodinma took office amidst a wave of expectations and anticipation. He promised to usher in an era of development: economic growth and infrastructural transformation. His administration’s key focus areas included education, healthcare, job creation, and security. However, observers of the political developments in Imo State believe that the gubernatorial election in November is a referendum on Uzodinma’s four years as Governor of Imo State. One of the central issues that will influence the decision of Ndi-Imo is the state of infrastructure. The Governor had promised aggressive infrastructure development with emphasis on roads, healthcare and Education. Many abandoned roads by previous administrations were re-awarded and completed. The verdict on his performance in this regard will largely determine whether NdiImo will continue to place their trust in him or explore alternative options. His commitment to improving the state’s infrastructure is evident in the numerous ongoing projects aimed at enhancing the lives of Imo State’s residents. This is also true owing to what his administration have termed “Three and Half Years of Profound Change in Imo State”.

While addressing the elders of the state in a forum recently, Uzodinma gave a scorecard of his road infrastructure programme in the state. He said that he was barely two weeks in office as Governor when some people started shouting about the poor state of roads and related infrastructure in the state. “How they expected me to right the wrongs of the past within just one month was baffling me” the Governor said. But on a second thought, Uzodinma said he understood the frustration of the people regarding the road situation in the state, noting that from MCC road, to Port Harcourt and World Bank roads, the story was the same. Governor Uzodinma said that with the issue on ground, he didn’t need anyone to tell him that the compelling and immediate needs of Imo people included motorable roads.

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