By Everest Ezihe, Owerri
Barely 24 hours of his removal as the Executive Governor of Imo State under the political platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha has described the Supreme Court judgement as traverse of Injustice and advised Imo citizens to extend similar support and cooperation he enjoyed from them to his successor Senator Hope Uzodinma of All Progressives Congress (APC)
Ihedioha stated this in an address he endorsed and made public to the people of the state following the out come of the apex court judgement that nullified his election as the Executive Governor of the Eastern Heartland state.
According to him “My dear good people of Imo State,I address you today, following recent developments affecting our dear state, and in particular the Supreme Court judgement of 14thJanuary 2020.In my relationship with you as Governor of Imo , I had employed regular consultations and dialogue as a tool of political discourse. This has informed this course of action”.
Ihedioha pointed out that he was reporting back to the great Imo people on the fate of the mandate they freely gave to him as their Governor and Engr. Gerald Irona as Deputy Governor.
He lamented that the mandate has now been truncated and cut short by the Supreme Court, against the will of the people.
The embattled former Governor applauded the people for the tremendous goodwill and support his administration received as they grappled with setting up a new administration to rebuild a state that was allegedly devastated by bad governance.
He said, “In the last seven months we sought to elevate merit, unity of purpose, honesty, transparency and an inclusive approach to governance, as the hallmarks of our administration. We sought to restore once again, the pride and dignity of Imo people. We worked very hard to re-engineer the Imo renaissance. But God knows why He has allowed this current state of affairs.
No doubt, yesterday’s Supreme Court verdict, came to us as a rude shock and surprise considering the facts on ground, legal precedence and clear verdict of Imo People on March 9 2019, that returned me as Governor with the highest valid votes of 273,404.
I do not agree with the judgement of the Supreme Court. I think it is unfair, unjust and does not reflect the voting that took place during the elections. It also didn’t take care of the sensibilities of the people of Imo State. But as true democrats, Engr Gerald Irona and I have no option but to respect the outcome of that judgement.
Consequently, we have put machinery in motion to hand-over the reins of office to the APC Candidate as the the next governor of Imo State” he noted.
Ihedioha directed the Secretary to the State Government to coordinate the handover process while ordering all members of the State Expanded Executive Council, and all political appointees under his administration to write their handing-over notes and to return all government properties in their custody, forthwith assuring that he will not be party to pilfering of Government property or funds.
He further said,”May we use this opportunity to express our gratitude to God for the opportunity to serve, within the short period He granted us. We sincerely appreciate you for all your solidarity and goodwill. We would forever cherish and treasure your love, your trust and your partnership. We made our mark. Rebuilding our dear state is neither easy nor personal, but a task undertaken for our today and tomorrow”.
The former Governor, in given account of his stewardship explained that it was significant to note that Imo State was looking good again given that administration earned the state an honour and was declared as the least corrupt State in the Country, the fastest state growing economy in Nigeria and the most improved, in terms of the deployment of Information Technology in service delivery.
Ihedioha pointed out that the state infrastructural development did significantly come alive as civil servants and pensioners were paid as and when due which returned optimism to the State.
He equally placed on record that his ‘Rebuild Imo administration’ positioned the state as the most sports and diaspora friendly state in Nigeria just as life and activities once again returned to the local governments.
The sacked Governor revealed their plans to make Imo the centre of commerce, industry, technology, tourism by providing good leadership and first class infrastructure, reiterating that under his watch, Imo became safe as a result of their systematic approach to securing lives and property.
He maintained that they were able to achieve the feats due to the peoples’ prayers, support and sacrifices, while appealing to all Imolites, especially their teeming supporters to remain calm and to shun any action that would result in a breach of peace.
According to him “We can always have different parties, but we would have only one Imo State. In the same vein, I urge you to extend to my successor, the same support you gave me. It is my wish that he will continue on the path we had set for the rebuilding of our state as well as consolidate on the progress and milestones we achieved”.
Ihedioha insisted that they ran a good race, fought tough battles, (including, principalities and powers) and governed the state well, with the fear of God, accountability, transparency and entrenched due process.
The architect of ‘Rebuild Imo’ mantra insisted that they have taken solace in the biblical book of Ecclesiastics 3:1, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” insisting that they have stepped aside with implicit faith in the Sovereign Lord who reigns over the affairs of men.