Udenwa On The March Again

FROM THE ARCHIVES: THE CASE OF IMO STATE
The Use Of Propaganda To Send Misleading Messages


ACHIKE UDENWA


BY EZIKPE UZOKA
JANUARY 16, 2003

OWERRI (THIS DAY)
--Last week, Chief Achike Udenwa, the executive Governor of Imo State, formally commenced his re-election campaign. In his characteristic candour and unassuming style, he held discussions with different audiences, telling them why he thought he should be returned as the governor of the state on May 29 this year.His mood was inviting. His delivery was concise and measured.

They compelled understanding. The governor said he had seen and that he understood what the problem of Imo state was.. In the last three and half years, he has confronted the monster of under-development which has kept the state down. He has, through his efforts, driven the monster to the fringes. What is left is for him to nail it to the coffin. The next four years, he said, would help him to realise this objective to the fullest. It is a height which he wants to attain not for his own sake but for the benefit of the people of the state whom he holds in very high esteem.

To be sure, Udenwa's Imo is quite a model. It is a well known fact that Imo is a haven for learning. The people of the state cherish education and many of them have reached glorious heights in the field of education. Udenwa is quite happy and satisfied with the progress of the state in this regard and he has continued to provide a conducive atmosphere for more learning in the state. Under him, the state has continued to remain in our educational statistics as a frontline state. The number of Imo sons and daughters in universities and other tertiary institutions has continued to top the national list.

Beyond these well known credentials of the state, Udenwa's Imo now boasts of having the best secondary school in Nigeria- Government Secondary School Owerri. The Imo State University was recently adjudged the best state owned university in the country by the National Universities Commission. 

Today, as well, the state is savouring the glory of having the best teacher in Nigeria. This is in addition to the fact that the state has the highest number of primary and secondary schools in the country. In fact, Udenwa's Imo is a reference point for having continually maintained the lead in having the highest number of school enrolment at both the primary and tertiary levels. If Udenwa's Imo were to be a state where schools are closed for months owing to non- payment of salaries, all this string of firsts would not have been possible.

But if there is any area which has tasked Udenwa and which is seriously propelling him to return to Government House to finish the good job he has started, it is his interest in giving Imo an industrial base. As a private sector person, the governor says he will not rest until he gets the private sector to begin to participate in the industrial development of the state. While the government of the day has been able to rehabilitate the ailing or moribund industries in the state, it still believes that the state would be better off if its economy is private sector-driven. This is one of the main concerns of the governor.

It is not in doubt if Imo State is on the path to progress again for re-nominating the incumbent Governor, Chief Achike Udenwa for a second term bid under the platform of Peoples Democratic party (PDP) a few weeks ago. But the development has succeeded in putting to shame those opposed to the administration who have in the recent times employed all sorts of propaganda to whip up sentiments against the state government amidst the numerous achievements of the present administration in the state.

Suffice it to say that one good turn deserves another; Udenwa deserves another term in office for some obvious reasons. It is no longer news that in 1999 when this administration was ushered in, the level of rot in the polity was unquantifiable. The past military administrations were mere conduit pipes that left the state in a mess of indebtedness. But not deterred by the depth of the decay, Chief Udenwa and his table in some neighbouring states. It did not stop there; the administration went further to computerise some schools in the state. 

Frankly speaking what does this gesture portend for our future generation? Is there hope for the young generation? Basically, the response is in the affirmative. Computer literacy is fast becoming a pre-requisite for the younger generation. A lack of it could smear the chances of an individual to achieve a preferred height in career pursuit. In a world where too much emphasis is being placed on computer literacy, Udenwa, perhaps, saw the imperativeness of the phenomenal capacity utilisation emerging young Imo citizens when he took the decision to computerise a number of secondary schools with another rolling plan to extend it to other schools that were not computerised in this dispensation.

A cursory look at various schools in the state before the inception of the Udenwa's administration in May 1999, will testify that some schools were glorified termite abodes. Children were subjected to ignoble torture of learning under trees. It looked like there was no hope. Suddenly, out of sheer wise decision of handing over the mantle of leadership to Udenwa, the pendulum swung. Today, not only have some schools been renovated, a lot of new blocks were put in place to accommodate the teeming Imo sons and daughters yearning for formal education.

The point to appreciate here is the kind of person Udenwa is. As one who was brought up under the strict and disciplined atmosphere of the private sector, Udenwa combines managerial acumen with financial prudence. This is what he has brought to bear on his administration in Imo State. Presiding over a state, as Imo State is not as easy as one may probably think. It requires financial discipline and wisdom in the allocation and distribution of the meagre resources. Invariably, Udenwa has been able to keep this track record and has equally proved some that think that all about governance is to loot the public treasury. That readily gives a bird's eye view of some obvious reasons why some people who belong to the governance school of looting often quarrel with the strategy of Udenwa in channelling the lean resources of the state to where it will pay the masses most.

Similarly, the Udenwa administration has improved the health sector tremendously within the last four years. He has recruited some sound Medical Doctors, Pharmacists and Nurses; he has rehabilitated and re-equipped more than five general hospitals across the state. His administration has equally completed to the level of usage the state's Public Health Laboratory at new Owerri and the World-Class Imo State Environmental Protection Agency laboratory Complex.

It will be wise on the part of Imo people to re-elect the man who knows where the shoe pinches. It should be our collective resolve to be wise at the polls to elect only those whose credentials are well known to us. The opportunity to stop at the polls those who have evil intention of smearing the treasury of the state is now. Equally, we have in our kitty their antecedents and strengths in as much as they grew up with us and live with us. But it will be a display of wisdom if tested, reliable, trusted performers like Udenwa are returned to governance in this 2003. Definitely, Udenwa fits in. He is a man who has the fear of God. He has been there and knows exactly what to do and where to continue with his laudable programmes. He knows where the problems of the state lie and how to keep solving them rather than bringing in another person to start all over.

Apparently, our votes are our future. So it is important that we make judicious use of it. It is also imperative to note that there are legions of unscrupulous elements amongst us that are bent on ruining the hard earned achievements of Udenwa's administration. Some may even offer us money or use all forms of stunts to thwart our vote in their favour. But we must try as much as we can to look beyond our nose to sieve between the chaff and the man who can deliver as usual and even more to us. More parties have been registered, like wise more aspirants are coming up. Above all sentiments lies our collective future, which we must avoid to mortgage in the hands of few cohorts, bound to nose-dive our economy and social integration in the state. Be wise. Subscribe to continuity. Udenwa remains unbeatable amongst his peers when it comes to democratic dividends.
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