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A Case Study of Imo State (Part 2) ? By John Mgbe

In the  first part  of this  report  which  was  published  on  this website a few days ago, I  tried  to  peep  into  some  of  the  several  federal  government?s  presence in Imo State .The  essence  of  the  exercise  was to  debunk  the  claim  of   the Okorocha-led  APC Administration in Imo  State  which  has  serially accused  the  President Goodluck Azikiwe Jonathan-led FGN  of  not  having  any  federal  presence  in Imo  State. I wish  to  start  this  second stanza  by  reminding  the  reader  that  aside  the  other  facilities  listed in  part 1 of this review, the  Independent  National Electoral Commission ( INEC), the Nigerian Census Board, the National  Open University of Nigeria(NOUN)  and  River Basin Authority  are  well  represented in Imo State. As  I said earlier, I don?t  have  the  full list  of  FGN  presence  in Imo State because  I am not  a  PDP-sponsored journalist ; I am also  not  a  member  of the PDP ;but in Journalism, facts  are sacred. So, it will be  a  wanton betrayal  of  professional  oath for   media  professionals  to  turn a  blind  eye  while the  Okorocha  Government  which  we  elected  into  office   embarks  on a  barefaced  campaign of propaganda and  malicious  falsehood against  the  Federal Government  of Nigeria (FGN).

I must  not  fail  to  mention that one  of  the   critical  areas  of  identifying  the  FGN   presence  in any  state can be traced to the  cumulative  projects  of the  members  of  the National Assembly (Senators  and House  of Reps) in that  particular  state. These  projects  which are  called  ?Constituency Projects? represent  the  various  FGN  projects  which are  routed through the  members  of the NASS for  onward  actualization in their various  constituencies. These  projects  are  not  executed  with  the  personal  funds  of  the NASS members; they  are  federal government  projects. Hon Emeka  Ihedioha  has  incessantly  made  it  clear  that  the  constituency  projects  are  FGN projects as  they  are  fully  funded  by the FGN. Unfortunately, there are  some  misguided  NASS members who  give  the  impression that  they are  using their money  for such projects.

Hon Emeka  Ihedioha?s Example: A good example  is  the  case  of Hon Emeka  Ihedioha , Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives,  who  has  maintained  a  very  impressive  record in constituency projects and  empowerment  of Youths  and Women. It is  on account  of  his  track  record in the realm of constituency projects  and Youth/Women empowerment that  I referred to him as ?Mr. Constituency Projects? in one of my viewpoints. If you  do  an exhaustive  analysis  of  Hon. Emeka Ihedioha?s  constituency projects/Youth and Women Empowerment, you will  be overwhelmed  at what  the  federal  government has  done  in Imo State  through   Emeka?s  representation in the NASS. So, the  cumulative constituency projects  of  the  three senators  and ten  members  of the House  of Representatives in the National Assembly   also represent the  FGN  presence  in the  various  senatorial zones  and  federal constituencies. It  is  not  the fault  of President  Azikiwe Jonathan that  some  members  of the NASS from Imo State  are  bench warmers who  have  failed  woefully in attracting  federal  projects  to their  constituencies. Rather  than blame President  Jonathan for  such  travails,  the  Constitution has  made  provision to  enable  the  constituents  to  recall such an indolent  and  non-performing legislator. Ditto for State Assemblies. When you  consider  what  Hon Emeka  Ihedioha  has  achieved through  his Constituency  Projects/Youth/Women Empowerment, you  are  forced  to  wonder  why  some  NASS members in IMO State   don?t  have  any iota  of  achievement  to  show that  they  are  in the  same NASS with  the  like of HON Emeka  Ihedioha.The reason is  not  far to seek.  One  of  the  secrets  of Hon Emeka?s  superlative  performance  is  that  he  has  served three tenures  and  thus  risen to  the  NO 6th  in the  country. As Deputy Speaker, he  belongs  to  the  IME OBI  or  the  caucus  that  decides  how the  patrimony  of state  is  appropriated. Above all, he  has  always  blended  with  the  grass roots  in his  constituency   even   from  his  days  as  a university student. After all, in Orlu zone there was a senator  who  served  for  over 12  years  but  today,  you  cannot  point  at  any  constituency  project   that  could  be  traced  to  him.  There  is  no  trace  of  anybody that  was empowered by him . Above  all, such  people can  never  be  appointed  as  principal  officers  of  the NASS  on account of their   embarrassing  lifestyle. However, in the case of Hon Emeka  Ihedioha, he  started  front loading  impressive  constituency  projects  even  before  his  third tenure. As Chairman, House Committee on Marine Transport(2003-2007), (i.e. his first tenure) he attracted  a Jetty project at Imo River, Okpala. It?s  too high  a  capital  intensive  project for  a  first  timer  to  present  to  his  constituency.Since  every legislator  cannot  be HON Ihedioha  who  started  making impact from his  tenure,  I am  making a case  that  our NASS members  should  be  allowed to  serve  up to  three tenures or  so  in order  to  become  ranking  members who  influence  policy  in the NASS. The  ongoing  policy  of serving  just  one  term is  not  helping Imo State. The Senate President, Senator David  Mark, has  been there since 1999  and  he  can do  for  his  state  what  the  President  can do  for  the  country.

Although I said  that I would  restrict  my analysis  to  a  small sample  of Imo State, it  may  be  germane  to  make  some  passing  comments  on  the  FGN presence  in other  states  in the South East,  after all, Ndigbo  are  members of a  family. I will not  forget  to  commend President Jonathan  on the  2nd Niger Bridge  contract  which  was  recently awarded. The President personally came to Onitsha for the turning of the Sod of the great project. During his election campaign in 2011, he promised to build the 2nd Niger Bridge-a promise which has now been fulfilled. The project  is funded  through the Subsidy Reinvestment Scheme  and  the  Public Private Partnership(PPP) ; this means  that  the  project  cannot be abandoned, more so,  since  the  contractor  is the  well known construction giant, Julius Berger Group. The project has a whopping contract value of N117 billion. In spite  of  some  minor  hiccup in regard to  the  issue  of Environmental Impact Assessment  clearance  from the  relevant Ministry, the  project  is  on course  as  it cannot be  abandoned. It is a thing of joy that the first Niger Bridge was built by President DR. Nnamdi Azikiwe   and several years after, another President DR.  Azikiwe Jonathan is building the 2nd Niger Bridge. Praise God! This  is  the Lord?s  doing  and  it?s  marvelous  before  our  eyes.

In fact, during one of  his  official  visits  to  Anambra  State after  his 2011 election victory , President Goodluck Azikiwe Jonathan vowed  that  he  must  build  the 2nd Niger Bridge. He said:?The  first Niger  bridge  was  built  by DR Nnamdi  Azikiwe in the 60s .I want  to  assure  you  that  the  2nd Niger  Bridge  will also  be  built  by another Azikiwe.  If I don?t do it, I will go on exile?.  So, the 2nd Niger bridge project is a classic case of promise made and promise fulfilled.  It?s  pathetic  that  Governor  Okorocha  was  the  only South East Governor  that  was  not  present  on the  occasion  of the  turning of the  Sod  of this  great project. The reason for  his  indifference  to  such  a  great  project  is a matter  for  personal  conjecture.

Again, President Jonathan must  be  commended  on the  brand new retooled  Akanu Ibiam  International Airport, Enugu  which  was  commissioned  a  short while ago.  It  is  a  mark of courage  for President Jonathan  to  actualize  this  project,   in spite  of  the  efforts  by  enemies  of  NDIGBO to truncate  the project   for  obvious  reasons. Ordinarily, it would  not  have  been feasible  for  a President  from  the  outside  to  build  an International  Airport in the South East Zone. In  view  of  the   demands  of  some  ethnic militia  for  a  separate  state of Biafra, the  decision  to  build  an international  airport  in such  zone  is  not a task  for  the faint  of heart. In spite  of  the  uproar  generated  in some  quarters, President Azikiwe  Jonathan  went  ahead  to  actualize  this  project. He  insisted  on  embarking  on this  project  because  of  his  sanguinary  relationship  with  the Igbo nation. Again, Governor Okorocha of Imo  State  was  the  only  South East Governor  that  was  not  present  on that  great event.

In the same,  the remodeling of the Sam Mbakwe Airport, Owerri  to  accord  with  International Best Practices is progressing smoothly. The dual carriageway of Owerri/Onitsha road has been  completed  and plans are  on stream for  the dualization of Onitsha/Owerri/PH Highway. In the same vein, the dualization of Owerri/Elele road is on course. The Owerri/Elele  dual  Highway  is  a  pet  project  of  former Governor Ikedi Ohakim  which  he  could  not  actualize  because  of  paucity  of  funds. However, the project was adopted  by Hon Emeka  Ihedioha  for  inclusion in the regional projects  of Niger Delta  Development Commission(NDDC).In one  of  his  official  engagements  recently Hon Ihedioha   assured   all that  adequate  funding  would  be  provided  to  execute  the  project. Before now, projects  under  the  Regional  Budget  of NDDC States  were  limited  to  the  coastal  states (Rivers ,Bayelsa,Delta, e.t.c )_ of  the  Niger Delta zone. The  vassal  states  of Imo and Abia  states  were  always  discriminated  against  in NDDC projects  before now. A short while ago, the NDDC recently constructed a large hostel for Imo  State  University. It is also handling various projects in the nooks and crannies of Imo State. These are FGN projects, or if you like, President Azikiwe Jonathan?s projects in the South East.

It is  necessary  to  state  that  aside  the  above  listed  FGN presence, Imo  State  is well represented  in federal  appointments into  the   Federal  Ministries, Agencies, and Departments(MADs).Information from my data bank shows that  Imo State  has  over fifty political  appointees  in the  Administration of President  Azikiwe Jonathan. How  can you  say that  a  state  with the  above  fundamentals  is  hated / marginalized by President Goodluck Jonathan.There is  also  the  capital- intensive  ALAOJI power plant in Abia  State .I am also  aware  that  at, least, two more  federal  interventions  are   slated for  Imo State, but I am not authorized to  let  the cat  out of the  bag, until the  affected  MADs conclude their work.

One  of  the  projects  of President Goodluck  Azikiwe Jonathan  which  must  remain  fresh in the  consciousness of  right thinking  members  of  Igbo  nation  is  the  State Burial  which  he  gave  to  our  leader, DIM Chukwuemeka  Odimegwu  Ojukwu  when he  died.In spite  of intense  opposition from the National  Assembly, President Jonathan  moved ASO ROCK to NNEWI  in order  to  give, ikemba Nnewi,  Dike di Oramma of Igbo land, a befitting  state burial. This  is  one  of  the  reasons why  some  disgruntled  Nigerians  are  fighting President Jonathan.They are  not  happy that  President  Jonathan accorded such  high  honour to  our leader, Dim Emeka Ojukwu, a  man they  planned  to  humiliate  in  death. So, how  can any  genuine Igbo man  abandon  a  President  who, in spite  of insuperable  odds,  wiped our  tears  at a  time  some  others  thought  DIM Ojukwu  would be shamed in death. Once again, the Igbo political  leaders  who are  against President Jonathan ?s  2015 presidential project  are  Caliphate  politicians   and Fifth Columnists  in Igbo land. They should be ignored. In the  same  vein, President Jonathan  swiftly  appointed  MRS. Bianca  Ojukwu  an ambassador  to Spain  in order  to   defuse and ameliorate  the  extent  of  her  sorrows and grief  after  her husband?s  demise.

There is a need to appeal  to  our Governor, Owelle  Okorocha, to  emulate  the  dynamism  and  humility  of  the  like  of  MR. Peter Obi, immediate past governor  of Anambra State, and  Governor Godson Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State  who  have  done  so  much  to  transform  their  two  states   by  their  loyalty and synergy  with Aso Rock. A state  governor  who  has  a  penchant  for  exhibiting nonchalance  and  disrespect  to  a  sitting President  is  not  doing his  State  any good. Imo  state  has  lost  a  lot  of  opportunities  as  a  result  of Governor Okorocha?s  disdain and  contempt  to  President Jonathan. As stated above, Imo  State  has  over fifty members  in the MADS. This may even higher  since  I have  not captured  the  full list. The  media  unit  of  the  Imo State  PDP is  not doing enough to   market  the  activities  of  President Jonathan in Imo State. They  are  totally  preoccupied  with  the  task  off marketing  themselves  for  appointive  and  legislative offices. I advise  President Jonathan to  recruit  core  media  technocrats who who will  take  care  of  showcasing  his  achievements  in Imo  State  and  even in the South East.

RECCOMMENDATION on FUTO: In view of the  large number  of   candidates  who  seek university admission in Imo State, it is my opinion that  PDP chieftains in IMO State  should  approach President Azikiwe Jonathan to  convert FUTO to a  conventional university. This should form part of PDP campaign manifestoe  for Jonathan 2015 election. The  thousands of youths  who  cannot  secure  admission  into IMSU will give  total  support  to this  project. In fact, the youths will support  this  project  more  that  the free education project. If FUTO becomes a  conventional university, it  can then offer  courses in Law, Medicine, Management, Pharmacy, Humanities/ Social Sciences, Igbo Language, Economics and the  others. It will offer  various  programmes  like University of Nigeria, University of Lagos ,Nnamdi Azikiwe university, University of Ibadan  and  other  such  tertiary  institutions. The  PDP  should  sell this  idea  to  the  President and  if it is adopted, the  PDP will get  majority of the  votes  of  the Jambites  in Imo State.

EUROPEAN UNIVERSITY, OGBOKO: The PDP and other opposition parties must also  tell us  what they intend to do with the so-called ?European University, Ogboko, in Ideato North Local government Area. How  can a  university  built with  state  fund become  a  private  university  of  some  persons  whose  identity  is  not yet  manifest? The IMSU  facility  at  Ogboko  must  revert  to  its  status  as  the Orlu Campus  of IMSU. We want  to  know  the   stand  of  the 2015  governorship candidates  of the  various  parties  on this  strategic issue. Finally, it  is  a  gratuitous  insult  on the  right  thinking  members  of  the  society  for  those  who  used  the  compassion and  ladder  of President JONATHAN   to  clinch political power to  be  sponsoring a  campaign of  calumny, propaganda and  frivolous  falsehood  on President Goodluck Azikiwe Jonathan. (CONCLUDED).



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