By Chuks Osuji
I HAD serious temptation of not writing on Hope Uzodinma’s 100 days in office. On the other hand, as a public opinion analyst, I equally had deep temptation to write, if only as a senior citizen whom many people look up to for my contributions in matters of public interests. I considered it inevitable to write on 100 days in office as a matter of public interest, because it has become my literary culture and a societal imperative to write on 100 days of every passing governor since Achike Udenwa.
Before I progress, I want to advise members of the public, to the best of my knowledge, to be open-minded lest they misunderstand the basic objectives which I bring into my writings on those concerning politics in Imo State, nay Nigeria. It is important to say that writing on Uzodimma’s 100 days in office will be in the best interest of members of the public. Because in this article as I always do, I will strike a balance between a negative and positive assessment of his 100 days in office.
Therefore, those who are Uzodinma or Ihedioha apologists must make up their minds one way or the other that they will be disappointed. Because I am not a praise-singer or obdurate critic. But if you are one of those who have written Uzodimma off for one reason or the other, not even giving him a chance to try then you will be disappointed with this article. After all, I do not write to please people, but I write from the perspectives of objectivity of the truth.
Taking an objective view at Uzodinma’s 100 days, it will be preposterous to take a position one way or the other in assessing him because the circumstances surrounding his emergence as governor have so many embedded public opinion misgivings. After all, there is one Igbo proverb which says: “The hen does not lay eggs while something is blocking her view.”
Prospects of anarchy
It is too late now to talk about those circumstances which preceded his emergence as the governor. To me as a responsible citizen, I have since accepted the realities of such unbelievable legal scenario. No matter how much we may complain, according to Lyndon Johnson, a former American president, “what you cannot avoid or prevent you must try to endure it”.
I said in one of my past articles entitled, “The supremacy of rule of law”, that “this case has become supreme and must be accepted no matter how bitter or uncomfortable.” I strongly posited that all we can do now is to give him support and good advice to move forward in the best interest of the Imo people. If during the past 100 days in office he has held Imo State and its people together, without the state succumbing to the threat of anarchy, it must be seen as an achievement.
Initially, the backbone of Imo civil service was almost in disarray and downcast. Although a few are still lukewarm towards his government, they must be told that they are probably crying for the wrong reason. Gradually but steadily, he is knitting together to move the state forward. Importantly, from January 14, when the Supreme Court affirmed its decision, the political aspect in Imo has not been rosy. After all, after a civil war, both the victors and the vanquished must join together to remove ruins of such war. Because they would not join together to destroy the place.
Added to his political predicaments was the natural phenomenon of COVID-19 which has consigned every government matter to the back seat to secure the health of the people before securing their political interests. Life first. And in this regard, his government has not been found wanting.
Furthermore, in his broadcast to commemorate his 100 days in the office, sincerely speaking, what were listed as achievements could be regarded as anticipatory achievements, scripted by zealous aides and officials who wish to impress the governor.
Even at that, no right-thinking person could say that the governor has wasted 100 days in office. And equally it is wrong to compare Ihedioha’s 100 days with those of Uzodinma. Those doing so are not being reasonable because Ihedioha knew where he was coming from and where he was going. Besides, both Uzodinma and Ihedioha are two different individuals with different political balance sheets. People must compare him (Uzodinma) with Ihedioha because in all aspects, they are different personalities. But Uzodinma will define his own style of governance to suit his own orientation. It is not the question of how far but how well and not issue of expression of political jingoism but results of substance in terms of concrete achievements.
All he (Uzodinma) can do now once the COVID-19 is over is to take a holistic appraisal of his journey. And be able to do internal assessment with those whose perspectives are for his success and not those who want to clap for him in error. In all things considered, in my view, he is not likely to be a failed governor. I remember that when I was a pupil at St. Mary’s Catholic School, Port-Harcourt, I used to ride a commuter bus with the inscription “Hope rising”. Few years on, the entire Diobu vicinity with shanties and slum became a developed modern area known today with pride as Garden City.
Without joining the fray of if he will or will not succeed, why not pull together to help him succeed? That is the bottom line now. Because irrespective of mudsling going on now between Uzodinma or Ihedioha apologists, before long the state will be calm. But as a senior citizen, I want to share with Uzodinma the quotations from Walter Bagehot, a British philosopher, thus: “The banner of every leader must be not to tell the citizenry lies and also to prevent others telling lies on his behalf. A government built on the platform of truth, honour and justice will always have a citizenry on its side.”
After all, truth has no alternative. And according to Michael Stewart: “A leader who is on a shaky ground can only consolidate such ground with fundamental of truth, honesty and good public policies.”
This is a word from a concerned senior citizen. We wish the Governor the best of wisdom to succeed.