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There are numerous fundamental reasons why many people oppose Governor Hope Uzodinma as Governor of Imo State. Some others including Governor Hope Uzodinma know these reasons but would prefer to wish them away and that makes the difference.
A lot of people know this but for different reasons make preferences to accept and support Governor Hope Uzodinma, some to repudiate and distance themselves while, and yet some others to be indifferent or are helpless. How for instance, should Imo professionals, the clergy, real elders and statesmen relate with events surrounding the 2019 governorship elections in Imo and the very controversial Supreme Court ruling that brought Uzodinma to power? Governor Hope Uzodinma has been wearing the uncomplimentary tag of Supreme Court Governor since January, when a seven-member panel of the apex court in a controversial judgment nullified the election of Emeka Ihedioha of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and declared him the new Governor of Imo State.
In the March 9, 2019 Governorship Election, Uzodinma placed fourth but in the controversial judgment read by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, the court agreed that results in 388 polling units were unlawfully excluded during the collation of the final governorship election result in the state. Kekere-Ekun said with the results from the 388 polling units added, Uzodinma polled a majority of the lawful votes and ought to have been declared the winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. That fateful judgment of the Supreme Court on the Imo gubernatorial election still remains a controversy and very strange development to a good number of Nigerians.
For the avoidance of doubt, Uzodinma is as qualified to be governor of Imo State as any of the former governors or many others in the State. Imo State is a galaxy of stars at whatever level. He was in the Senate of the Federal Republic and had made marks in other spheres of life too but it should be known that beneath that facade of a well-experienced statesman also lies a wardrobe-full of fraud, lies and shoddy dealings which he cut on his way to the top. It suffices to say Uzodinma’s political journey became prominent in the early 2000s as a PDP member. In 2003, he ran for Governor of the State on the ticket of Alliance for Democracy (AD) but did not win. He returned to the PDP and in 2006, sought the ticket of the party to contest the governorship election but also lost at the primary poll to Araraume. Uzodinma, who was later appointed a PDP board of trustees (BoT) member, was first elected into the senate in 2011. He was re-elected in 2015.
Before 2000, Uzodinma was the youth leader of the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN) in Imo in the Second Republic. He was also a prominent member of the now-defunct United Nigeria Congress Party (UNCP).
He was elected Senator for the Orlu (Imo West) constituency of Imo State, in the April 2011 federal elections. He ran on the PDP platform. His election was challenged on the grounds that he was not the valid PDP candidate, but on 5th May 2011, the Supreme Court declared that his election was valid.
He nearly broke up the All Progressive Congress (APC) party in 2018 when he declared himself as the APC flag bearer despite not winning the Party primaries in the state, much to the chagrin of the people of Imo state. He did this with the help of Comrade Adams Oshiomole and Chairman of the Imo State APC primaries, Ahmed Gulak with whom he struck a secret deal that if made the gubernatorial flag bearer and eventually wins the election, he would grant a monthly release of about ₦500 million throughout his tenure from the Imo state treasury to Oshiomole, Gulak, and their cohorts.
When Buhari joined the presidential race in 2014 many expressed delight that his administration would put an end to corruption or lobbying with gratification or carry out a sizable reduction in its volume. That joy had since waned as everybody now seems to see the Federal Government’s fight against corruption as one-sided. You are corrupt if you are in the opposition. You are a saint if you are a member of the APC.
Uzodinma joined the train of barefaced sycophants of the land when he said hunger will kill those who were not in APC. What is the governor advocating here? It is more of monetary politics than the Government of the people for the people. He was calling on Nigerians to form a long queue behind APC gladiators for mere political patronage and no interest in the ideology factor thus showing how corrupt he is.
Governor Hope Uzodinma has also been involved in multiple scandals since his political career began. One of which is that he is barely educated and did not complete high school. He once indicated on social media that he is a graduate of Washington University in Missouri USA with a degree in Arts/Criminology. Which of course, was nothing but a ruse!
Enquiries were made into his proclaimed dual degree and a quick call to the Alumni Affairs Office at The Washington University in St. Louis Missouri showed that his name was not in the database. In the year 2001, Hope Uzodinma was fingered in a scheme to bribe the then former Head Of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar through the National Maritime Authority. This was revealed by a committee headed by Justice Oputa. He was also arraigned in 2005 and 2009 by the EFCC after he was awarded fraudulent contracts worth ₦250 million by Dere Awosika and also for obtaining money under false pretence from SpringBank Plc. using one of his fake companies, Transurb Technical Consult Ltd
In 2013, the media was awash with claims by Senator Hope Uzodinma that he graduated from the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO), and that he possessed a Higher National Diploma (HND) from the institution. This was completely debunked by the management of FUTO as no such certificate was at any time awarded to hope Uzodinma, and that the certificate he was parading was a complete forgery. He was also arrested during the 2015 gubernatorial re-run elections in Imo State for thumb-printing ballot papers at a private residence.
Governor Uzodinma is notoriously known as a philanderer who often throws caution to the wind to engage in amorous affairs little wonder he was accused by Activist and businessman, Nze Ebubeagu Ekenulo for having an affair with his wife and infecting her with HIV which led to her untimely death.
He was also arrested in 2018 by the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for Recovery of Public Property (SPIPRPP) for failure to execute a contract of $12 million (₦4.8bn) for the dredging of the Calabar channel by the Nigerian Ports Authority. According to the chairman of the SPIPRPP, Okoi Obono-Obla, the senator had been evading arrest for over a year, until he was finally apprehended by the panel.
Come 2024, Governor Hope Uzodinma has already started making moves and political alliances to show how he plans to retain the apex seat for himself in the State. He has begun by destroying other opposition parties in the State by luring their staunch members with the use of mouth-watering monetary bribes, plum undeserving positions and political gratifications. After that, he went ahead to monopolise the Judiciary and House of Assembly in Imo State by ousting former office holders and replacing them with those who have sworn an unwavering alliegance to him.
To make sure his plans are foolproof, subtly, he is gradually putting in adequate plans to terminate the idea of Gubernatorial zoning politics in Imo State while pushing laws to make sure he has little or no opposition from any quarters in the State.
Governor Hope Uzodinma is nothing short of a dictator who has little or no regards for his wards in Imo State. From terrible State infrastructure, owing of salaries and pensions to the embezzlement of State Internally Generated Revenue, Governor Hope Uzodinma and most of his cronies are rapidly turning Imo State into a personal bank account just like the erstwhile corrupt administration of Owelle Rochas Okorocha did. His government has been nothing different from a maladministration where peddling falsehood has become the order of the day. After making bogus claims that Imo state was owing over 60 billion naira in arrears from 4,800 ghost workers and later positing that his government had resolved the issue, Imo state workers and pensioners are yet to receive their arrears. The labour in the State even recently went on an eight day warning strike as a protest for owed salary arrears. According to them, they have been owed salaries from February to December since Uzodinma assumed office as Governor after Supreme Court sacked Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP who was paying salaries and arrears owed by the APC administration of Rochas Okorocha.
Governor Hope Uzodinma has blatantly refused to disburse salaries and pensions to those deserving of them and he has turned a deaf ear to the numerous protests and petitions by civil servants on the issue of salaries and pensions. He has also joined the bandwagon of Governors who take pride in the diversion of state funds into personal accounts while his state deteriorates into utter poverty.
This kind of leader does not deserve to be at the State’s helm of affairs anymore. If in his first term where he is supposed to leave a good impression, he has decided to loot the State’s treasury with reckless abandon then imagine what he would do if he eventually gets his second term bid. It would be in the best interest of Imolites if they join hands together to thwart Governor Hope Uzodinma’s plans for re-election in 2024. Imo State has suffered under bad leadership for so long and it is time to take a stand and an end to the activities of political jobbers in the State who do not have the well-being of the state in their best interests.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK