The administration of the two term governor of Imo State and now Senator representing Imo West at the Red Chambers, Rochas Okorocha, was one that was characterized with mixed feelings ‘ndi na ochi ndi na akwa’.
Those whose properties were purportedly revoked and cornered by the then government were in tears and agony. Many of such individuals and groups ran to the judiciary as the last hope of common man, got judgement in their favour but the then government threw caution to the wind and ignored such judgments.
In the full glare of every Imolite, many of such landed properties belonging to individuals, communities and even the ones owned by the state was shared among top government functionaries and cronies to the then administration.
What was in the mind and lip of every well meaning Imolite before the 2019 governorship election in Imo State was to elect a governor who will recover Imo properties and assets looted during the reign of Senator Rochas Okorocha as Imo governor for 8 solid years.
One of the cardinal promises made by Distinguished Senator Hope Uzodinma during his inaugural speech in January 15, 2021, was the Recovery of Imo looted assets and patrimony as initiated by the ousted Emeka Ihedioha led administration who set up a Judicial Commission of Inquiry on land.
Many thought that Uzodinma’s promise to recover Imo looted assets was one of the usual political statements by politicians. To a large extent the present administration in the state have remained unwavering in its drive to return every geninue landed property taken away from an Imolite, group of people or community back to them.
As a man of his word, Governor Hope Uzodinma allowed the Judicial Commission of Inquiry on Land already set up by his predecessor to complete its task which subsequently submitted its report which is now gazetted as ‘Government White Paper’ and a legally binding document domiciled in Imo State.
An average Nigerian politician could have swept this ‘daylight robbery’ of Imo assets to the carpet and life continues.
Some could have used this opportunity to win more political allies to themselves but Uzodinma knowing fully well that he is answerable to God and to Imo people, summoned courage to do the right thing.
Recovery as embedded in the 3R mantra of Senator Hope Uzodinma administration is yielding positive results. Most of the properties cornered by this one man and his cronies who openly bragged that he is richer than the state is gradually been recovered to the admiration of all.
Today, the Imo State second University built with tax payers money and was named Eastern Palm University, Ogboko, as against its original name and objective, have been recovered and renamed, Kingsley Ozumba Mbadiwe University Ogboko with a substantive Vice Chancellor appointed by the state government to manage the institution.
Also, the Royal Spring Palm Hotel and Apartments built on green verge, IBC Quarters converted to Rochas Foundation College Orji, many plots of land belonging to the state government, individuals, groups and communities have been recovered why many others are in the process of been retrieved and recovered back to the original owners as promised by Governor Hope Uzodinma.
There is every need to commend Senator Hope Uzodinma for living up to the expectations of many Imolites in recovering what generally belongs to them. The present administration in the state have remained resolute and unwavering in pursuing this matter to its logical end legally without minding the multitudes of law suits to stampede the state government from doing the right thing it set out to achieve.
On 2 June 2020, the Judicial Commission of Inquiry on land and related matters submitted its report to the Imo State Government which is now gazzeted as ‘Government White paper’ and a legal document to operate with in enforcing and implementing the recommendations by the committee.
Also the Uzodinma led administration took another bold step in its determination to implement to the later, recommendations made by the Judicial Commission of Inquiry on land and related matters by Inaugurating another powerful committee headed by Prof. Ukachukwu Awuzie.
It is now an established legal fact that lands and properties belonging to both the government and individuals were either illegally acquired or misappropriated in the past as identified by the Judicial Commission of Inquiry. The commission’s report has been accepted by the government and Gazetted.
While Inaugurating the Implementation Committee for the recommendations on the White Paper on Lands and Related Matters as headed by Prof. Ukachukwu Awuzie, Governor Uzodinma charged members of the Committee with the responsibility of recovering all assets belonging to the State and/or any individual listed in the White Paper.
Without sounding immodest, Governor Hope Uzodinma has shown commitment and the readiness of his administration to actualize the common desire of every well meaning Imolite to recover every single looted asset in the state no matter who or those involved in it.
Hope Uzodinma deserves a resounding commendation for living up to the expectations of Imo people in seeing that the state looted assets are recovered fully.
It is worthy to note that this move by the State Government to recover assets illegally acquired by some individuals in the past can not be fully achieved without the help and support of every Imolite. It therefore behooves on every well meaning Imolite to support this government to succeed in this direction.