ONWUASOANYA FCC JONES
Every right thinking Imolite and indeed every good citizen of the world would want it's government to succeed, not at stealing money or making lives miserable for its citizens, but at delivering good projects and meeting other needs of its citizens. While a good media and even propaganda unit may be an understandable investment by any government - after all, the so-called advanced democracies could break a bank to get the right public relations - however, it mustn't be all a government succeeds at.
Pictures of newly asphalted Imo roads have been trending on social media, with those, who like me, never attended any engineering class in their lives, churning out desperately strewn analyses of how these roads will last a century and how the best engineering codes were observed in their construction or rehabilitation. I wouldn't be a cynic, so, I pray these analyses are eventually proven true by the time the rains come and go.
In my quiet times, I cringe at the fact that some roads built years before I was born and few built, when I was just a toddler are still there and comparatively smooth, while others built few months or years ago have already washed off, and people are wondering if it were sane humans who did the job or some insane fraudsters had a party on the roads?
If the outcome we saw with roads constructed by the Hope Uzodimma administration during or about the sunset of the rains is anything to go by, then we may have to be careful about our praises for these sweet smelling and beautifully marked asphalts on some roads in Owerri, the capital city.
Those who have some living conscience in them would have learnt to appreciate Owelle Rochas Okoricha, a little more. Yes, a number of the roads he built were not of the best quality, imaginable. But, that man met a State ravaged by erosions, with hardly a single stretch of 10 kilometers of smoothly motorable road anywhere in the State. He threw himself into work, wanting to solve every problem at the same time. It is still on record that no governor in the history of Nigeria, ever came close to doing the number of roads Rochas did in Imo State in his eight years as governor. Even if the entire Federal government budget was given to Imo, there was no how, he would have been able to achieve the expected standard of roads, given, the quantity, he undertook. Yet, there was free education, Imo workers were been promptly paid, and their pay was bigger than at least those of workers from at 27 other States of the Federation, buildings were rising up in every corner of the State and there was hardly a strike action that lasted beyond a week or two in the eighty years he was governor. Indeed, the Rochas pattern needs understudying by anyone who wants to succeed in governance. Yes, you will need tweaking the strategies in a few areas, but you certainly need his driving spirit, his courage and his kind of vision to achieve any little in governance.
Uzodimma's media team is in a dangerous haste to plant a favourable narrative over the outcome of the meeting between the NLC delegation to Imo State and the State government, but like everything done in bad faith and rushed, they are embarrassing the government further. By forging a crap in the name of a communique, Uzodimma's men are hitting home the narrative in many quarters, that the governor believes in cutting corners and manipulating processes. This is very unfortunate.
One thing that is very clear from the parley between the NLC and the State government is that, like I predicted, the governor was forced to eat his words. Chilakpu remains the Chairman of NLC in Imo State and Mr. Uchehara, like a frightened or humiliated dog, has ran into his closet, with his tails tucked into his anus. The governor who was quoted as saying that; "Chilakpu is an impostor" has been forced to sit in a meeting, through his representatives, with the same Chilakpu as State. Nothing could be more embarrassing. Let's hope lessons have been learnt.
The Uzodimma administration officials also conceded to the argument of Imo labour union and activists that thousands of Imo workers are still being owed, while there are discrepancies in the payment of some, and delays, underpayment and staggered payment for some workers and pensioners. The only new thing is that the government has accepted to look into this, and quickly resolve the issue. This is the ground on which the strike action will be called off. By the way, did I forget to tell you that our governor who had vehemently denounced the strike action, called of course, by Chilakpu, has finally accepted that there was a strike, hence, the negotiation for it to be called off. And workers are no longer being threatened with no-work, no pay, authoritarian rehash. Let lessons be learnt.
I will be attending a church for the first time in many years today. While I don't trust the managers of today's churches, any bit, as they are not very different from politicians, I still believe that God's ears are in the Church, especially before the Blessed sacrament. So, I will be praying for Imo in the Church today. I will be asking God not to allow the rains to wash off our roads again and I will be praying that my governor doesn't backtrack on whatever agreement he has reached with these labour leaders. And, even though, I am going to be worshipping in a Catholic Church, I will be employing the prayer pattern of the pentecostals to send down holy ghost fire against Chilakpu or any other labour leader who decides to betray the collective struggle of the workers. May any money they collect to betray innocent workers, become a plague to them and anyone who supports this betrayal. In Jesus name, Amen.
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