Recently, Imo state has been witnessing some peaceful but agonising protests by aged and sickly pensioners who usually come out en masse in front of the Imo State Government House to ask for their arrears.
Four months gone by, and they are yet to receive their pensions from the state government. This ugly cruel treatment is not only being meted to the pensioners but also to many of the civil servants.
In fact, many of them have not been paid any salary ever since Senator Hope Uzodinma took over the leadership of the state as Governor from Honourable Emeka Ihedioha. Governor Uzodinma makes it look as if he will be doing them a favour to pay their settlements considering his unresponsive attitude towards them.
Salaries and pensions are not favours done to workers, and it is highly preposterous of any leader to suggest such either verbatim or via reckless conduct.
The emergence of Senator Uzodinma as Governor of Imo state through the Supreme Court verdict on the 14th of January 2020 by a seven-man panel of justices that was led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Tanko Muhammad, happened to be an event that eventually caused series of controversies which sort of compelled legal luminaries in Nigeria to question the veracity of the ruling as well as the competence of the CJN who many had earlier written off as a charlatan because of his gross failure in responding appropriately to the “technicality” question, the clever Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe asked him during his (Justice Muhammad’s) screening in the Senate.
Shortly, after the supreme court verdict in favour of Senator Uzodinma, protests erupted in Imo as the masses vehemently expressed their dismay over what they described as an imposition on the state by the Supreme court which further made them gave him, the nickname name, “Supreme Court Governor,” which he gravely dislikes but unfortunately it seems the seemingly derogatory name has come to stay, and the only possible way to get rid of such derogation is to win the love of the masses by serving their interests which of course are not out of the ordinary.
But very unfortunate, Governor Uzodinma does not seem to have the interest of the teeming masses of Imo state that he governs. He appears and acts unperturbed by their plights. The Governor is totally unconnected with the people, and every of his actions seeks only to serve the interests of those that allegedly imposed him on the people of Imo state.
In the past, there had been similar situations as the controversy surrounding the emergence of Senator Uzodinma as Governor among which were Dr. Chris Ngige as Governor of Anambra state and President Umaru Musa Yar’dua.
Ngige served as Governor of Anambra state from 29th of May 2003 to 17th of March 2006 before the Apeal Court sacked him, and awarded victory to Peter Obi as the rightful winner of the election. But in less than three years, Ngige stayed in office as a Governor, he transformed Anambra from the dilapidation the erstwhile Governor Chinwoke Mbadinuju, his predecessor plunged the state into. He built lots of infrastructures and ascertained that his administration ran successfully, which endeared him to many Anambra people.
Late Yar’dua, who became President on the 29th of May 2007, admitted that the election that brought him to power was marked with anomalies but he later won the love of the masses by the beautiful policies, he created such as amnesty for the Niger Delta militants which helped the country to save billions of dollars which ordinarily would have been wasted by the militants, setting oil pipelines ablaze, and reduction of fuel prize among others.
Just like Ngige, Yar’dua spent less than three years, and accomplished so much before he was proclaimed dead by the presidency on the 5th of May, 2010. His death threw the country into serious mourning as the citizenry genuinely mourned him.
Till today, the Nigerian masses are still blessing his gentle soul wherever he might be due to his selfless services and patriotism to the country.
Probably, a rational mind would have expected Senator Uzodinma to shun the displeasure of Imo masses initially at his emergence as Governor, began working for the progress, and further development of the state but pathetically, Senator Uzodinma is more concerned about how to deal with those addressing him as, “Supreme Court Governor” instead of genuinely running the affairs of Imo.
In all truthfulness, with the nonchalance of Governor Uzodinma towards workers welfare in the state, does he not deserve to be called, “Supreme Court Governor” or even a more derogatory name?
A Governor who receives monthly allocations from the Federal Government of Nigeria as well as internal generated revenue but fails to pay civil servants and pensioners who already worked for their payments do not deserve any respect from those in the state he owes.
A Governor who is yet to take the arrears, salaries, pensions of workers and retirees in his state should not be seen, and appreciated by the masses as a leader.
It is an insult to the sensibilities of the masses that Governor Uzodinma receives monthly allocations to run Imo state but refuses to pay workers. There is no justification whatsoever to owe workers when federal allocations are released for the state.
Without being economical with the truth here, any Governor who does this in Nigeria or any part of the world is simply a criminal!Because this act of refusing to pay salaries and arrears is nothing short of a criminal offense and this would have been destitute of legal effect if not for the immunity the constitution of the country accords the Governor.
Governor Uzodinma has actually never got anything right in leadership as a politician beginning from 2011 to 2019, he served as a Senator for conservative eight years.
Governor Uzodinma, till date, still has a fraud case of twelve million dollars ($12,000,000 USD) levelled against him, and among the forty-nine alleged treasury looters placed on travel by the Federal Government of Nigeria prior to becoming a Governor.
It is only wise for Governor Uzodinma to start getting things right in governance by first paying the workers in the state that he governs. Struggling to please a cabal while negating the interest of the masses, will not be in his favour in the long run.
No politician can really have a long and successful career in politics by completely disregarding the masses that he is supposed to be leading.
𝐃𝐫. 𝐌𝐚𝐫𝐤𝐀𝐧𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐧𝐲 𝐍𝐳𝐞
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK