BY: SAM OSUJI
Professor Wole Soyinka was right to declare at the wake of the Negritude movement in African Literature that a tiger does not shout its tigritude. This saying is very germane to the leadership style of Dist. Sen Hope Uzodinma.
Fundamentally, the Imo leader is not given to superfluity; he simply acts. Since his emergence as governor of Imo State, he has with the deftness of a doyen and an avatar overcome one challenge after another.
From the very critical hurdle of meeting an empty treasury, and with a pile of huge debts worth billions of naira, the calm and calculated leader did not go about complaining to the high mountains. Instead, he faced the challenges headlong with an array of solutions typical of exceptional leaders who want to make the difference. At the wake of the dreaded Covid-19 outbreak too, Gov Hope Uzodinma did not appear helpless especially considering the novelty of the epidemic. He sagaciously handled the hazard with the precision of a doyen, making Imo State among the least infected states.
Dist. Sen Hope Uzodinma has shown in many ways that leadership is a serious call. It is not a tea party as most people tend to misconstrue it.
From one landmark to another, Gov Uzodinma has been showing leadership. Even the naysayers who were used to noisy and rambunctious leaders have been forced to reconsider their ill-conceived views.
Many Imolites have come to reckon that good leaders do not make the most noise. Leadership, as it were, is a serious business that demands a lot of creative and strategic reasoning.
Above all, it demands a great deal of emotional stability. It is not for anything that it is globally acknowledged that leaders who talk too much end up acting too little.
Beyond the empty treasury and Covid-19 epidemic that challenged the stability of the state, there was also the End-SARS protests that came with a gale of destruction and unrest.
In all these, however, Dist. Sen Hope Uzodinma showed leadership with proactive steps that restored the peace and pace of the state. Palpable in the entire episodes is that the Shared-Prosperity governor came up with practical solutions, keeping him steps ahead of the challenges.
There is perhaps no social malaise that had apparently upstaged the peace of the state like the unfortunate attack on the correctional facilities and the attendant jail break.
The weeks following were predictably loaded with ominous signs of insecurity. Violent extremism which was totally alien to the state was suddenly visited on the state. The citizenry watched aghast as their beloved Imo suddenly became an epicenter of violence, something that was unprecedented.
Little did they know that their leader, the governor was at work, unraveling the source(s) of the new security threat, the dynamics and the solutions.
To be sure, security snags are not what anyone obviates at the snap of a finger. But what we have seen in Imo today is a pleasant atmosphere of relief and peace. The governor has walked the talk, and of course he does not speak flippantly. He did say, for instance that he was going to remodel major roundabouts Owerri, and today beautiful roundabouts are springing up in the city. He did say he was going to rid Owerri of the eyesore of flooded roads and grim environs.
Today, he has done it with an ambitious road infrastructural development in Owerri and a strategic drainage system in the city. He did also say he was going to tackle the length and breadth of the heavily damaged Owerri-Orlu dual carriage and Owerri-Okigwe road and, that, he is doing with commendable dexterity.
O yes, he promised to restore the peace of Imo, today he has done it.
Who says there are no doyens of peace?
Imo State is undoubtedly the hospitality and entertainment capital of Nigeria. This is the industry that has seen to the employment of thousands of young Imolites. By extension, the industry has a good stake in the economy of the state.
It is rather unfortunate that Imo opposition elements and blocs over the last few weeks have shown their deep-seated hate and bitterness for their fellow Imolites as they try to play politics with such a delicate if not touchy issue as insecurity. Obsessed and possessed by demons of bitterness, the opposition in Imo rather than close ranks with the government in pursuit of peace, try to make elusive political capital out of the issue. The oppositions of this world I know should act as a credible alternative, proffering practical solutions where need be and bridging gaps with the ruling government when situations prompt it.
Essentially, the doyen of peace in Imo, Dist. Sen Hope Uzodinma, is obviously not resting on his oars in his avowed commitment to restore total peace to Imo. An Imo defined by modern and sustainable multisectoral infrastructure is what Gov Uzodinma is working to bequeath to Imo State: the Imo of our dream. Distractions therefore will not be in our interest as Imolites. Certainly, we owe our governor our unflinching support and prayers.
This is the kind of sincere goodwill manifest at the ongoing Town Hall meetings with LGAs where stakeholders irrespective of party affiliations rub minds with the governor for the good of the state.
There is indeed no one today in Imo that is in doubt of the absolute sincerity of Gov Hope Uzodinma in ensuring shared prosperity to Imo State. This is a covenant he made with the Almighty. God bless Imo State.
Hon Sam Osuji (KSM) writes from Owerri.