By DURU J C
It is a big irony that while Imo state is home of some of the most highly sophisticated and intellectually fecund minds in Nigeria, the quality of public discuss in the state has so degenerated that charlatans now delve into matters they know nothing about. Take, for example, the article by one Mike Ejiogu, entitled “As Nigeria Revenue Shrinks: Why Uzodinma, Okigwe Zone Need Araraume’s Capacity And Reach At National Assembly”. Under this rather drab title, the author went into weird postulations on the Nigerian economy vis-à-vis it’s revenue profile in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wrote Economist Ejiogu in his opening paragraph: “While oil prices continued to drop and Nigeria Economy keeps shrinking, the domestic and foreign investments could no longer finance Nigerias’ budget especially the funding of capital projects”. Before I continue, witness the author’s use of both past and present participles to describe a situation that is evidently contemporaneous. He writes, “Nigeria (instead of Nigeria’s) economy “keeps shrinking”.
Yet, in the next breathe, he writes: investments “could” (instead of “can”) no longer finance Nigeria’s budget especially the funding of capital project’s(instead of “projects”).
Now,see the solution proffered by this ‘economist’ to the problem even though he could not articulate it – the problem – properly:“The experience, contacts, political party and capacity of who represents every constituency, zones and states at the centre have become a very serious matter to state governments across Nigeria”. (I have reproduced the above passage verbatim from Ejiogu’s article, not minding the grammar) This is the panacea the self styled economist proffers for state governments in the Herculean task of shoring up revenue to meet their responsibilities. I ask: how would the “experience, contacts, political party and capacity” of a mere representative bring hard-earned revenue to a state government? If that is all that Mr. Ejiogu knows about fiscal governance, then the fellow, to whom his analysis is target at, the governor of our dear state, His Excellency, Senator Hope Uzodimma, should be wary of emergency economists like him.
Now, witness Ejiogu’s recommendation to our dear governor in confronting the challenges of revenue-generation: “As for the case of Imo state where a senatorial bye election is (SIC) expected anytime soon, it’s an opportunity for His Excellency, Senator Hope Uzodimma, to work with Dist. Senator IfeanyiAraraume for the overall interest of the state”.
The last time I checked, Senator Araraume is not an economist or revenue expert but let’s see what, in the estimation of Ejiogu, qualifies him – Senator Araraume – to be appointed Governor Uzodimma’s Economic Adviser. He writes:
“Distinguished Senator Araraume left the senate in 2007 after eight fruitful years of attracting heavy projects to Okigwe which includes but not limited to roads, electricity sub stations, federal appointments to Imolite, etc; despite leaving the senate since 2007, Senator Ararume have (SIC) continued to attract and ensure the financing of over 30 NDDC roads construction within Imo state, he has influenced the federal appointments of lots of Imo state sons and daughters into lucrative boards… the projects and federal appointments influenced and attracted to Ndi Imo state by Araraume have greatly reduced pressure on the successive state governments and governors of Imo state in recent years”.
From the above, even the least discerning fellow can see that if Senator Araraume is the type of economic or revenue expert Governor Uzodimma requires, then, the entire state isin trouble. Of course, Senator Araraume is a successful business man who is highly respected and loved for his philanthropy and large heartedness.But he should worry when emergency economists like Ejiogu begin to mention his name carelessly on issues they know nothing about.
But now that it is clear that Ejiogu failed in his first recommendation of Senator Araraume as an economic expert, let us see how he fared in his main task, which is to recommend him to Governor Uzodimma as the fellow to support as the next senator for Imo North. “Considering all these facts I stated therein, I wonder why any sane person will advise our experienced governor to support the candidature of any beginner or learner to represent Okigwe/Imo state at the national assembly now, we do not need learners at this critical point of Nigeria’s existence at all, we need Senator Araraume to work closely with His Excellency, Governor Uzodimma, both in Imo state and federal government to achieve goals easily. His Excellency, Governor Hope Uzodimma, doesn’t need to spend a dime or struggle in Okigwe zone for his re-election in 2023 if he works with Dist. Senator IfeanyiAraraume …”Ejiogu wrote.
Agreed, it is normal for candidates or aspirants and their supporters to lobby for support from strategic quarters but Ejiogu’sperfidy in this case is coming against the governor’s open avowal that, on the forth coming Imo North bye election, he has no interest in a particular candidate. Incidentally, Ejiogu’s advocacy comes amid the controversy of a purported endorsement of the Secretary to the Imo state government, Cosmos Iwu, by Governor Uzodimma and which the governor’s handlers have denied, insisting that the governor as a democrat believes that the people of Imo North should have the liberty to elect whomever they want as their next senator.
Therefore,Ejiogu’s recommendation of Senator Araraume for endorsement by the governor is at once an affront on the governor’s personal integrity and blackmail to his administration. Even more preposterous is the talk that the governor will not “need to spend a dime to get votes from Okigwe zone for his reelection in 2023” provided he works with Senator Araraume.
Apart from amounting to cheapening Governor Uzodimma’s political clout, it is an affront on the entire people of Okigwe zone. How can getting votes from the zone be equated with patronizing just one fellow out of the whole lot of political juggernauts that abound in the area? Governor Uzodimmais a pragmatic politician whose pedigree attests to the fact that he has earned every political milestone he has achieved in his career; not through monetary inducementsas Ejiogu insinuates. In 2023, GovernorUzodimma’s reelection will be guaranteed by his sterling performances which are already being manifested from the much he has done thus far.
Even so, Ejiogu and those who are thinking like him know too well that Governor Uzodimma is surely smarter than they are. For, even if the governor were to be interested in hand picking the next Okigwe senator, is not.
Contrary to Ejiogu’s claim that the senator has jettisoned his gubernatorial ambition, even the least discerning fellow in the state would tell you that his current plot to return to the senate is just a prelude to re-launching his governorship project for 2023.
Ejiogu wrote glibly about “beginners” but it is difficult to see who are the beginners among those currently in the race for the vacant Okigwe senate seat. What is known is that the people of the area have decided that their next senator will be one who does not carry any baggage; indeed one who will proceed with the same youthful alacrity and enthusiasm with which the late Senator Ben Uwajumogu served.
Imo To Launch Metro Transportation Scheme With 130 Brand New Buses
The Government of Imo State through the Ministry of Transport has entered into talks with Macnath Investment to launch an automated metro transportation scheme in the the State under Public Private Partnership (PPP).
The Commissioner for Transport, Barr. Rex Anunobi, who disclosed this after a meeting with the management of Macnath Investment on behalf of Nana Motors in his office, the scheme would be launched with an initial 130 brand new fleets of 46-Seater Leyland buses covering inter and intra city routes from Owerri capital city.
“The management of Ministry of Transport is glad to announce a successful business meeting entered with Nana Motors through a Development Partner, Macnath Investment, who proposes to boost our transport system with 500 brand new vehicles for the provision of commercial transportation services to the people of Imo State under Public Private Partnership with the Government of Imo State.
“By the time every arrangement is duly perfected, the scheme will be flagged off with an initial 130 brand new buses of 46-Seater Leyland model which will ultimately ensure efficient service delivery, increase the state revenue from the transport sector, create additional jobs as well as empower the citizens of the state”, the Commissioner stated.
Barr. Anunobi who reiterated the commitment of the Ministry of Transport under his watch to translate the vision of Gov. Hope Uzodinma for the transport sector into a practical reality and visible achievements by partnering effectively with sincere Development Partners and stakeholders, said his his Ministry will further study the proposal and make useful recommendations to the Governor to enable commencement of such modern transportation system which he also admitted is key to achieving a sanitized transport sector in the state.
He thanked the management of Nana Motors and Macnath Investment for making Imo their investment destination and assured them of the readiness of the Shared Prosperity government under Senator Hope Uzodinma to partner effectively with them to midwife the scheme in the State.
Earlier in his presentation, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Nana Motors Ltd and Macnath Investment Ltd, Mr. Nathan Nwaiwu, said they have proposed an investment size of 500 brand new buses with an initial deployment of 130 buses.
According to him, “the investment will cover the cost of vehicles, Insurance, Tracking, Speed Limit and other ancillary cost”.
He added that the investment which worths billions of Naira will stimulate the economy, generate revenue to the State and accord adequate goodwill to the Shared Prosperity government of Senator Hope Uzodinma.
Those present during the meeting include the Permanent Secretary, Mrs Ngozi Izunobi, Directors and Head of Departments (HODs) in the Ministry, Nze Franklin Iwunze, SA Monitoring, Implementation and Enforcement, Hon. Steve Agbarakwe, SA Technical and Mr. Ebere Uzoukwa, SA Media/Special Projects to the Honourable Commissioner for Transport, Imo State.