UZODIMMA FACTOR IN APC’s POPULARITY IN SOUTH EAST
BY OGUWIKE NWACHUKU
Last weekend at the National Defence College in Abuja, where the Governor of Imo State, Dist. Sen. Hope Uzodimma delivered a lecture on: National Security, Strategic Leadership and Development: My Political Experience, the Commandant of the institution, Rear Admiral Murtala Mormoni Bashir told the quality audience that the College has listed Uzodimma’s leadership qualities as a course for study.
During his brief remarks, Rear Admiral Bashir spoke from his heart as he evaluated Uzodimma’s paper after patiently listening to him for about two hours.
What the Commandant said and how he said it was nothing but a true confession.
Perhaps he was thrilled by the manner Governor Uzodimma fielded questions thrown at him by the faculty members during a question and answer session.
Rear Admiral Bashir informed the audience that he has not been privileged to listen to a lecture so rich in content and delivery since assuming the leadership of the College, a position that was corroborated by more than 300 Faculty members drawn mainly from the military, para military and related institutions working on security matters in and outside Nigeria.
Rear Admiral Bashir did not stop there. He had thanked the Imo State Governor profusely for physically obliging the College his time when other lecturers would prefer to send representatives with their papers to come and read while denying the Faculty members the opportunity of personally interrogating them.
The Commandant had reiterated that Governor Uzodimma’s lecture did not only awaken the intellectual consciousness of the Faculty members to the intellectual fecundity of the lecturer, but that it brought to the fore the governor’s leadership qualities which he said are lacking in most leaders of the country, hence the resolve to study him further for the benefit of the students and the society.
I do not intend to waste our time on the paper delivered by the governor as it is already in public domain, but it must be noted that while drawing from his personal experience since becoming a political figure in the country – particularly a senator for eight years and now a Governor for three years – Governor Uzodimma is worried that today’s leaders have failed to build a cohesive society. He is concerned that our so-called leaders prefer to expand the frontiers of ethnic and religious divide, for selfish consideration, attributes he said cannot be found in strategic leaders.
Uzodimma believes that as a strategic leader and a slave to merit, an advocate of nationalism and patriotism, he derives joy in relegating religion and ethnicity because they breed mediocrity and subvert every sincerity of purpose geared towards the promotion of public good.
Few of us who are his aides and privileged to be part of the event could not agree less with Rear Admiral Bashir and his colleagues that it is high time the rare leadership attributes of the governor were subjected to further interrogation for the benefit of all, including those who take such leadership qualities for granted due to their self inflicted ego.
Enough of the National Defence College lecture, but is there a nexus between the lessons learned from that outing and exploits Governor Uzodimma is making in Imo State in particular and the South East in general as leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC)? The answer is yes.
It is no longer in contest that the popularity which the ruling APC has garnered in the South East recently is directly linked to the capacity and rare leadership attributes Governor Uzodimma has exhibited.
His simple mien and urbane physical disposition not withstanding, those who describe him as a gentle giant cannot be wrong, going by the exploits he has been able to record for the APC in the South East, using Imo State as a base.
It is therefore not surprising whenever one hears his political associates referring to Uzodimma as the Governor-General of the South East.
Too many questions agitate the minds of those who are still perplexed about how Uzodimma was able to turn the fortunes of the APC in South East around.
Truth is that when Uzodimma mounted the saddle as Governor of Imo State in January 2020, the APC in South East was enmeshed in crisis of confidence, lacking in purposeful leadership and struggling to survive in the zone. The Party was treated more or less like an orphan.
But three years down the road, the same Party has become the toast of the moment, dreaded and respected for its popular following and eventually becoming the envy of any politician serious about political contestation both in the South East and Nigeria at large. All thanks to Hope Uzodimma.
Uzodimma has demonstrated that his capacity and leadership qualities are divine by how he has single-handedly brought all APC members across the South East under one strong platform regardless of negligible distractions here and there.
Thus, all the APC Chairmen from the South East – Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo States – defer to the Governor as the rallying point for purposeful leadership and strong Party.
Now, fast forward to the recent APC presidential campaign that took place in Owerri with President Muhammadu Buhari leading the Party’s presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the National Chairman of APC, Sen. Abdullahi Adamu, his predecessor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, among other key figures of the Party to an event that APC faithful have not stopped talking about, then you know the reason Uzodimma remains the talk of the town.
At the Palace of the Chairman of the Imo State Council of traditional rulers, HRH Eze EC Okeke, where Buhari was given a chieftaincy title of Nwanne di na Mba of Imo State ( brother in Diaspora) with the APC chieftains also in attendance, the President did not hide his feelings about his cordial relationship with Uzodimma which was not just instrumental to his visiting Imo State for four good times within three years of Uzodimma’s administration, but making himself available to be at the Presidential Campaign rally of Tinubu in Owerri.
Signs that Uzodimma’s imprint is positively impacting the Party faithful in the South East and remains infectious across the country, also finds expression in the way Tinubu describes him as “the Hope of Nigeria,” with Adamu referring to the Owerri rally which Uzodimma superintended as “the mother of all rallies,” and Oshiomhole reminding Imolites that his decision to ensure that Uzodimma flags the APC’s governorship flag in 2019 as the candidate was not a mistake given his superlative performance within short a period in office.
Today, the myth of the People’s Democratic Party as the Party to beat both in Imo State and the entire South East has been completely shattered by Uzodimma, one man with leadership foresight, focus, sincerity of purpose, sense of accountability and transparency and love for team work.
Because these virtues come to Uzodimma naturally, coupled with his firm believe in the sincere and selfless service to humanity and God, the people in turn invest their truth in him.
As his name implies, Uzodimma evokes hope where ever he goes to, be it town hall meeting, Church Service, political events, just name it. And the reason is simple. He tells the people the truth. It has been proven that telling the people the truth always remains the key that unlocks the heart of the followership to the leadership.
What happened at the APC mega presidential rally in Owerri last week is nothing but the culmination of a sincere relationship Uzodimma enjoys with the South East APC followers who know that he is leading them aright.
In that situation, how then does the other political parties existing in the South East, including those gasping for breath and those that their popularity is more pronounced on the social media platforms think they will change the tide with Uzodimma’s popularity looming large?
Whenever Uzodimma says he has been around in politics and knows who is who in the field, he does so with zest and confidence of the master. Experience they say is the best teacher.
Although his own election comes up in November, Uzodimma has walked himself into the consciousness of virtually all Imo citizens with his leadership style of prudence, accountability, transparency, orderliness and creativity.
Unlike those who invest in propaganda to deceive the people, Uzodimma always believes that his good works will speak for him at the appropriate time and that is exactly what is happening across the length and breadth of Imo State today.
One must be blind in spirit, soul and body, like a few attention seeking hired writers who do not know when the train departed the station, to still be asking for what Uzodimma has done under three years in office. But we can refresh their memory because we know that amnesia is real and that decayed memory can occur.
But again, how do you convince one who is adept at mischief making? How do you change one with a huge appetite for hatred and malice without cause for fellow beings? There is nothing much anyone can do to pull such persons out of the inner recesses of their intuition that is tainted and dented. Methinks it is borne out of mere mischief, hatred and malice for one whose relatives are beneficiaries of a working system like Imo people are experiencing today, to still have the conscience to imply that the Governor has not done anything. I digress.
What I am saying is that Uzodimma has proven beyond reasonable doubt that leadership is service to the people. And there are witnesses, both human and material. Breathing and non breathing.
A few of the signature road projects would suffice. They include but not limited to the dualised Owerri-Orlu road, Owerri-Okigwe road, Owerri- Mbaise- Umuahia road, the Orlu- Mgbee- Akokwa-Uga road, the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport road, the Oguta-Okporo road, the MCC- Toronto road, the Toronto- Orji- Road safety road, the Toronto- Uzagba road, among others.
The governor has demonstrated capacity in the area of education in Imo, attracting three higher institutions to the State – University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Umuagwo, the Kingsley Mbadiwe University, Ideato, the Imo State Polytechnic, Omumma – and getting the Federal Government to convert the Federal Medical Centre,Owerri as a Teaching Hospital for Federal University of Technology, Owerri, the Alvan Ikoku College of Education as a Federal University of Education, Owerri, et al.
All these feats and many more have been recorded despite the challenges of insecurity in the State orchestrated by the opposition parties just to distract him and use the opportunity to tag him incompetence. But a focused Uzodimma is not one to be distracted without his knowing the purpose.
As the elections take place few days from now, Uzodimma expects that Party faithful must put on their thinking caps.
The governor has used his capacity and leadership skills to link Imo to the national politics of which the benefits to Imo State are too numerous. The only way to sustain such good things and attract more would be if the APC faithful remain committed to the vision of the Governor as regards the right path to trod in the chequered history of the country today.
The Party has fielded her candidates for the coming elections and the candidates were carefully and painfully chosen because the Governor and the leadership of the APC in Imo State and South East believe they share in the vision of the leader himself to serve our people truthfully and attract the right dividends of democracy.
Yes, elections are about interests, sentiments, intrigues, support, propaganda, and more, but Governor Uzodimma’s leadership of the APC in the South East has provided enough positive developmental and result- oriented narratives to guide the APC electorate to be the king that democracy confers on them.
… Nwachuku, Chief Press Secretary/Media Adviser to Governor Uzodimma, writes from Owerri.