The Man, Hope Uzodimma: Why He Deserves Second Term As Imo Gov

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Hope Odidika Uzodimma is a prominent Nigerian politician who represents different things to different people. He symbolizes trust and loyalty to friends and associates, and hope and succour to the downtrodden. At work, he is an embodiment of capacity and efficiency to his staff, and at home, he is the epitome of love and affection to his family.

As a man with hallowed grace and a Midas touch, his most striking quality has been his uncommon ability to think globally while acting locally with exceptional street intelligence and his determination to bring positive change to Imo State. Since Hope Uzodimma came into office as Imo State Governor in the last four years, he has been an embodiment of excellence, hard work and patriotism.

Born on 12 December 1958 in Omuma to an Igbo Catholic family; his father Chief Michael Uzodimma held the chieftaincy title of Igwe of Ozuh Omuma and his mother was Ezinne Rose Uzodimma (née Nneoha), he is a kinsman of the Okoro family of Etiti-Omuma. Uzodinma is a devout Catholic, and he is married to Chioma Uzodimma with seven children.

Uzodimma attended Mgbidi Secondary School in Omumu, Oru West, Imo State, Nigeria, for his secondary education.

He enrolled in college in 1978 and studied international studies there until 1982 when he received his bachelor’s degree. He had already earned an advanced diploma in transport studies before this.

Uzodimma graduated from the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) with a master’s degree in human relations. He also graduated from the University of London with a degree in political science.

He holds a Diploma in Maritime Management Technology, and a Higher Diploma in the same field, from the Federal University of Technology Owerri.

He has an Honorary Doctorate degree from Imo State University and a Fellow of the College of Agriculture, Umuagwo.

Uzodimma began his political career during the Second Nigerian Republic, joining the ruling National Party of Nigeria (NPN), where in 1983, he became the Imo State youth leader. In the 1990s, with the aborted transition to the Third Nigerian Republic, Uzodimma featured prominently as a member of the United Nigeria Congress Party.

In 1999, after the return to democracy, Uzodimma joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), where he served as a member of the party’s National Caucus, National Executive Committee and on the Board of Trustees, at various times between 1999 and 2017. As a party boss in Imo State, Uzodimma was a close associate of Governor Achike Udenwa until late 2002, when ahead of the April 2003 elections he decamped to the Alliance for Democracy (AD), becoming the party’s candidate for the Imo State gubernatorial election. After losing the election to Udenwa, he returned to the PDP in February 2004.

In March 2019, the Independent National Electoral Commission sitting in Imo announced the governorship election results of Imo State: Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP who won with 273,404 votes, Uche Nwosu of Action Alliance with 190,364 votes, Ifeanyi Ararume of the All Progressives Grand Alliance with 114,676 votes; and Uzodimma in fourth place with 96,458 votes. Uzodimma later challenged the victory of Ihedioha up to the Supreme Court. On 14 January 2020, the Supreme Court declared Uzodimma the duly elected Governor of Imo State. The court held that results from 388 polling units were wrongly excluded from votes ascribed to Uzodimma and the APC in Imo adding that the first appellant Uzodimma holds the majority of lawful votes cast.

On 15 January 2020, he and Placid Njoku were sworn in as the Governor of Imo State and Deputy Governor of Imo State.

As Governor, Uzodimma has focused on various sectors such as education, healthcare, infrastructure, and security. He has initiated projects to improve the living standard for the people of Imo State, including the construction of roads, renovation of schools, and provision of healthcare facilities.

Uzodimma has also been involved in efforts to promote peace and security in Imo State. He has collaborated with security agencies to tackle issues of insecurity, particularly the activities of armed groups and criminal elements.

Despite facing criticism and challenges during his tenure, Uzodimma remains committed to the development of Imo State. He has expressed his vision to transform the state into a hub of economic activities, attracting investments and creating employment opportunities for the people.

Titles

In Oru local government, Imo State, Gov Uzodimma holds the chieftaincy title of Onwa-Netiri Oha of Omuma Kingdom because he is one of the relatives of the Okoro family of Etiti-Omuma.

Awards And Nominations

Among several awards and accolades, Gov. Hope Uzodimma was given the 2017 Personal Life of the Most Outstanding Parliamentarian of the Year by the Nigerian News.

In 2022, Uzodimma bagged a peace award from the United Nations for his efforts at promoting inter-ethnic harmony in Nigeria and good governance in the state.

He was nominated for the award by the United Towns Agency (UTA) for North-South Cooperation of the United Nations.

He also bagged The Sun 2021 Governor of the Year Award

Due to his sterling performance since his assumption of office as the governor of Imo State, South East Nigeria, Hope Uzodinma, bagged the prestigious honour of Most Prolific Governor of the Year 2023 by Face of Democracy Nigeria, FDN.

In May 2023, Gov. Uzodinma was conferred with the Grand Service Star of Rivers State (GSSRS) award for his contribution and commitment to national unity and equality.

Governor Uzodinma was also honoured by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) for his outstanding performance in promoting fiscal transparency in governance.

Hope Uzodimma in the last four years: What he has done

Even in the most difficult of times, the people of Imo State still have reasons to smile. In his accustomed manner of connecting with the people, the state governor, Hope Uzodimma is unrelenting in the delivery of good governance.

One of the major takeaways from the first term in office of Governor Uzodimma is that a leader will always achieve good governance when honesty, passion and vision brought into policy-making and execution are greater than fears and excuses.

Despite fundamental challenges such as agitated violence and global economic downturn economic among others, the Uzodimma administration has continued to bring dividends of democracy to the people.

It is, therefore, heart-warming that the governor is seeking to be re-elected for a second tenure. This is good news for the residents of Imo state. Uzodimma, popularly known as Onwa, has used a greater part of his first term in office to improve their living condition.

This, he has done through the creation of wealth and more job opportunities, provision of quality social security system and galvanization of the youths with fresh ideas and tools to make them productive citizens among others.

Against all odds, In line with the manifesto of APC, Uzodimma fashioned out his prosperity agenda anchored on the three-pronged (3Rs) agenda of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Recovery. The broad objectives of the policies included a firm resolve to revive Imo State and recover for the people the years that had been lost to the locusts.

Where others saw only turmoil and deprivation, he recognised the boundless ingenuity and tenacity of the Imo people and applied extraordinary pragmatic and visionary leadership to rebuild the State.

For example, in healthcare, Uzodimma has tremendously granted access to quality and affordable healthcare to many Imolites. Through a strategic partnership with the World Health Organization, he created and implemented the Imo Health Insurance Programme. This has enabled over 66,000 Imo residents to obtain healthcare protection. Concurrently, strategic investments are augmenting primary healthcare infrastructure across the state to further expand and enhance access and availability of vital services for rural and urban communities.

ROADS:

• More than 1,000 kilometres of road networks in both urban and rural areas have so far witnessed reconstruction.

• The 35-kilometre Owerri-Orlu dual carriageway and the 46-kilometre Owerri-Okigwe road were delivered as intercity roads.

• The dualization of the Owerri-Mbaise-Umuahia road and another 46-kilometre stretch is ongoing.

• Also under construction is the Orlu- Akokwa-Arondizogu-Uga road leading to Anambra State measuring 37 kilometres.

• More than 30 major roads have been completed in the Owerri Capital Territory alone including Assumpta/ IbariOgwa/ Port Harcourt Road, Federal Secretariat Road (now Muhammadu Buhari Dual Carriage Way Drive), DickTiger Road. Akachi Road (nowEvan Enwerem Way) and Relief Market Road.

• About 64 roads spanning over 150 kilometres constructed and completed.

• Rehabilitation of another 43 routes accounting for over 350 kilometres ongoing in both urban and rural areas.

HEALTH

• Uzodinma has an impressive footprint in the health sector, expanding healthcare services, building and upgrading hospitals and clinics, and ensuring the availability of essential medical facilities

• Over 66,000 Imo residents obtain healthcare protection under the Imo Health Insurance Programme

• Renovated over 305 health centres in the 305 electoral wards

• More than 300 medical students graduated from the Imo State University Teaching Hospital after a decade of non-accreditation

• The Teaching Hospital is now fully equipped with state-of-the-art medical facilities including digital x-ray machines, mammogram machines, ambulances, dialysis machines, molecular biology and chemical pathology laboratory, equipment (for COVID-19andother viral disease tests) and anaesthetic machines

• Re-accreditation of nursing and midwifery schools in Aboh Mbaise and Awommama after they lost accreditation in 2011

• The Imo State Specialist Hospital in Owerri is now fully functional and performing complicated operations such as spinal and brain injury surgeries

• The Governor has procured 10 mobile clinics for speedy intervention

EDUCATION

• Upgrading facilities of primary and secondary schools across the state

• The facilitation of the upgrading of the Alvan Ikoku College of Education to the Federal University of Education

• Accreditation of the College of Education, Ihitte-Uboma to run various courses, including the Professional Diploma in Education (PDE), in affiliation with Imo State University has also been successfully implemented

YOUTH AND SPORTS DEVELOPMENT

• Training of 300,000 Imo youths on digital skills and link up to relevant jobs (i.e., the SkillupImo project).

• Full reconstruction of the famous Dan Anyiam Stadium in Owerri including the main complex, the indoor sports centre, and the handball court. An Olympic-sized swimming pool under construction on the same site is now nearing completion

• Over 5,000 young Ndi Imo have already completed the training and are either leveraging their heightened technical acumen to establish promising digital ventures or securing employment with leading tech firms like Zinox, Konga, and WakaNow among other digitally driven businesses within and beyond Imo.

• Rebranding of the state-owned Heartland Football Club.

WOMEN EMPOWERMENT

• The Ministry of Women Affairs and Vulnerable Groups in collaboration with the Office of Her Excellency, the First Lady, facilitated the organization of the International Children’s Day Celebration and other National/Global Observances such as the International Women’s Day.

• Organised Sixteen (16) Days of Activism on the elimination of Gender Based Violence (GBV) against women and children, like Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Early Child Marriage, Child Labour and other harmful traditional practices.

• The Ministry also recorded the registration of five (5) Motherless Babies Homes and Three (3) Day-Care Centres

• The ministry also ensured that existing Homes/Day-Care Centres maintained approved Operational Guidelines.

• The governor also signed into law the bill on Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP)

AGRICULTURE AND WATER RESOURCES

• The state engaged the Federal Government to complete the dams for dry-season farming at Inyishi and Okigwe

• Uzodinma also secured the cooperation of the CBN and other relevant bodies that have facilities for those in Agriculture

• The State Government replanted over One Hundred and Forty (140) Hectares of land with Oil Palm seedlings at Ada-Palm, Ohaji and Ngor-Okpala.

• He rehabilitated the abandoned Adapalm Plantanlan which occupies an area of 4310 hectares of oil palm

• The Acharaubo Farm Estata at Emekuku in Owerri North Local Government Area is back to life.

• The Otamiri Water Scheme which serves the Owerri Capital Territory now delivers potable hygienic water for members of the public

• The Eluama Water Scheme in Orlu local government area and Ekenguru Water Scheme in Aboh Mbaise LGA rehabilitated

COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY

• Recovery of markets especially Ekwe Ukwu Owerri Market built with state funds but handed over to the cronies of the previous administrations

• Strengthening of the market associations in a manner that streamlines the collection of government revenue just as it enables them to defend their rights as traders.

• Construction of a state-of-the-art ultra-modern market in Eke-Ukwu to assuage the pains of the people.

• The crafting and developing of the Imo State Sustainable Industrialisation Policy in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

• Commissioning of fashion clusters with well-equipped industrial sewing machines to help our skilled dressmakers in the state to make trendy dresses, including T-shirts and face caps for industrial use

• The Uzodimma administration has also commenced moves to revamp all the moribund industries in the state

• Hope Uzodimma has paid off the debts owed to Assets Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) by successive administrations in the state as regards the Imo Shoe Industry

• The government is also working with Investors for the revamping of the Nsu Tiles Ehime and the Avutu Poultry Farm.

• The government registered over 200 cooperative societies and organized rural farmers, artisans, and workers in the Private Sector into Micro Businesses for sustainable capital formation and increased productivity.

• Several cooperative societies have been linked to multi-lateral finance agencies such as Agric Loans Board, Bank of Agriculture (BoA), Bank of Industry (BoI), Micro Finance Banks (MFB), etc.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

• Uzodimma’s economic performance has been impressive considering several parameters including Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

• The 2022 State of States report released by BudgIT revealed that Imo State has an estimated GDP of N7.68 trillion, making it the 4th out of the 36 states in the country with the largest GDP among its peers in the Southeast region

• Dredging and linking Oguta Lake to the Atlantic Ocean

• The revival of hitherto moribund industries in Imo State such as Adapalm and Acharaugbo Farms.

• Through his leadership, Imo State is included in the Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) in Africa.

• the Imo State Industrial and Innovation Park is slated for take-off as the multi-billion-naira project will be situated at the Ibigwe Oilfield in Ohaji-Egbema LGA

• Creation of Ministry of Digital Economy and E-government through the Imo Digital Economy Agenda (IDEA) 2022-2026)

SECURITY

• Among other efforts, the government of Hope Uzodinma provided security vehicles, including Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) to security operatives in the state.

• Provision of 100 Numbers of Innoson Hilux Vehicles for the operation of security operatives in the state

• Procurement and installation of very high frequency (VHF) radio/telecommunication equipment and other security equipment and gadgets to enhance communication and information gathering between security operatives

REVENUE AND BUDGETARY REFORMS

• The Imo State revenue has jumped by more than 100 percent under Uzodinma through meticulous and well-thought-out policies.

• Automation of all financial transactions and training of the staff of the Internal Revenue Service

• The optimization of revenue processes through the Treasury SingleAccount (TSA)

• The domestication of the Imo State Debt Management Law No. 6 of 2021 has become a great milestone for the State attracting USD 2 Million to the State as a Grant from the SFTAS/World Bank Programme.

REJUVENATION OF CIVIL SERVICE

• Digitisation of the workforce and mode of salary payments aimed at detecting and flushing out ghost workers.

• Training and retraining programmes for workers for better service delivery

• All verified Imo workers and pensioners have received their salaries and pensions up to date as the regular and full payment of salaries and pensions has become routine.

• As part of efforts to restore the psyche of the civil servants, the Governor presented official vehicles to permanent secretaries and provided free bus transportation for junior civil servants.

• The governor also restored seniority and discipline in the service and ensured that the hierarchy and reporting line in the service is respected.

• Uzodimma’s Promise To IMOLITES. (Next four years)

For Governor Hope Uzodimma, Imolites remain the pillars of support for the developmental journey of his administration in the last four years. He believes the resilience and trust of the people of Imo State in his administration vision have been the driving force behind the progress achieved so far.

According to Gov. Uzodimma, the Next Level of Shared Prosperity, which his government aims to embark upon, will bring even greater value to our beloved state. The next four years would be a vision where each individual thrives and Imo state collectively soars to new heights.

Governor Hope Uzodimma’s Promise to Imo State in the next four years is numerous. Some of the key areas that Uzodimma has promised to focus on include:

• Infrastructure Development: Uzodimma has promised to prioritize the development of infrastructure in Imo State, including roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, and other essential facilities.

• Job Creation and Youth Empowerment: He aims to create employment opportunities for the youth by attracting investments and promoting entrepreneurship. Uzodimma plans to establish more skill acquisition centres and provide training programs to empower the youth.

• Agriculture and Food Security: Uzodimma has expressed his commitment to revitalizing the agricultural sector in Imo State. He plans to support farmers, provide them with modern farming techniques, and improve access to credit and markets.

• Education and Healthcare: The Governor has promised to improve the quality of education in Imo State by upgrading schools, providing necessary infrastructure, and supporting the training and welfare of teachers. He also plans to enhance healthcare services, upgrade hospitals, and ensure accessible healthcare for all.

• Security and Good Governance: Uzodimma aims to improve security in Imo State by partnering with law enforcement agencies, investing in security infrastructure, and implementing policies to curb crime. He also promises to run a transparent and accountable government.

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