DEPUTY Governor of Imo State, Prince Eze Madumere in this interview takes a look at the administration of Chief Rochas Okorocha and concludes that the governor took the state back from the brink. He also spoke on other issues.
By Charles Kumolu
You have been Deputy Governor for the almost three years without having a frosty relationship with your principal. What is the secret?
Being a Deputy Governor for the past three years has been a worthwhile experience. I have been operating based on the constitutional provisions and descriptions as to how the Deputy Governor of a state should conduct himself and abide by the responsibilities therein.
I believe that what is more important is the partnership that exists between my principal and me. It is that partnership and understanding that have given us so much harmony and peace to achieve. I enjoy the confidence of my leader, and I understand him to the extent that he does not need to utter a word for me to take a decision.
Partners and team players
Again, you just have to be proactive to be appreciated by your boss or your principal.
Many are of the opinion that deputy governors are just spare tyres who function when their principal desires. Is that applicable to you?
Spare tyres? No, Deputy Governors ought not to be seen from such perspective. Deputy Governors are supposedly partners and team players.
The spare tyre is only important when the main tyre is too weak and must have been rendered dysfunctional. This ought not to be the case. Truly, it is only in the event of death that you could begin to define the position of a Deputy Governor in such manner. We are all candidates of death.
If death is indiscriminate in its effect in relation to age, sex and class, then the concept of spare tyre should be confined to a political dustbin. I am a partner to my leader and boss. We work together. If you understand the protocol of office and adhere to it, you will discover that where the Governor is unable to cover in the course of administering the state, his deputy will naturally stand-in for him. Constitutionally, Deputy Governors are majorly and statutorily commissioned to handle boundary Issues and few other areas.
In my experience, I have enjoyed the comfort of working with my leader not because I am the best but because it is the nature of Owelle Rochas Okorocha to naturally delegate duties. It is only when you are not delivering that he complains. If you know what you are doing, my Governor will naturally be your best friend and will give you enough tasks.
The baseline for your principal is nothing but loyalty. Another principle is that you must as matter of fact ensure that your boss does not look stupid in the public.
As a former Chief of Staff to Governor Okorocha when the governor assumed the mantle of leadership, what kind of state did your administration inherit?
Like I was taught by one of my lecturers, the brain is a membrane that forgets. Within 21 days, if you have no direct interaction or need to recall or interact with an object, event or even an issue, you are likely to forget except a related issue crops up sometime in the future.
When we came on board, Imo was a model state of nature where life was at the mercy of empowered miscreants. Imo was one hell of a kingdom where kidnappers and hooligans reigned while the people trembled.
Imo people lost their freedom as no one could speak for fear of being molested, intimidated or attacked. In terms of infrastructure, it was a tale of dilapidation as Owerri city had no escape the moment there was traffic. The rural dwellers knew nothing about governance other than radio adverts.
When Rochas emerged as Imo State Governor, many expected him to rebuild the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and transform it from a regional party to a national platform. He left taking along with him most of the APGA stakeholders outside Imo State. He also failed to submit the APGA certificate as one of the parties that formed the All Progressives Congress (APC). What went wrong?
You cannot build a party beyond its vision or the vision of those who feel they own it. All Progressives Congress truly was a great instrument, if you like, a vehicle with which we used to launch the Rescue Mission Agenda into government.
However, the party was long overdue for overhaul, but those in leadership felt it was more of their personal stock for the advancement of their personal aggrandizement. They will wake up and negotiate with whosoever they feel will pay the bill. That was not the kind of progressive party we envisaged. Efforts were made to re-evaluate and repackage the party but that was not to be because a few persons felt it was their means of livelihood. The Second point is that the party was trouble-ridden at a time when others were getting ready for the season, the party was embroiled in leadership tussle to the extent we had three chairmen at the same time.