NEW YEAR BROADCAST BY GOVERNOR HOPE UZODIMMA OF IMO TO THE PEOPLE OF IMO STATE
My dear good people of Imo State, It is a thing of great joy to address you on this New Year day. That we are among those who survived the exceptionally difficult year 2020 is worthy of celebration. We must give God the glory for his mercies upon our lives. I am indeed excited to welcome you to this divine year of 2021.
While I commend to God the souls of all the departed in the preceding year, I am profoundly grateful to Him for the privilege He granted us the living to see this new year.
It is an indisputable fact that 2020 was a very difficult year with its concomitant challenges especially the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic. Yet it was also the year that God in his infinite wisdom favoured us to take charge of the governance of our dear state.
It should never be lost on us that the economic growth of the world and our country was negatively impacted as a result of dwindling oil prices occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic. But I believe that God designed everything to bring out the tested leadership endowments he bestowed on us.
The first manifestation of this was in ensuring that our people were not swallowed by the suffocating economic doldrums that besieged the world and Nigeria.
As the cliche goes, necessity is the mother of invention. Difficult times challenge the wits to bring out uncommon creative ingenuity of leadership, to surmount the challenges of uncommon times. I believe that this was what played put in Imo State in 2020.
To the glory of God, we came out strong with visionary policies that repositioned our dear state for greater heights.
Undaunted, we remained firmly determined to serve you the good people of Imo State, better inspite of the daunting challenges we met on the ground.
Looking back, I feel very glad that inspite of the fact that I became your Governor at a most difficult time in the history of our state; it never deterred me from offering you quality service.
The reform in the civil service, the reverse of the infrastructure deficit, the improvement in the lives of our civil servants and the empowerment of youths were attended to with utmost vigour. Even the most unrelenting doubting Thomas will agree that our state capital is wearing a new look. Most of the roads that were a nightmare to road users by this time last year, because they were impassable, are now the delight of motorists because they have become motorable.
A massive reinvention of Owerri Capital City is ongoing. In no time our capital city will stand out in the country as a town planners delight, when the ongoing remodeling of seven roundabouts are completed
Our astute management of the COVID-19 crisis also saved a lot of lives. That’s why I am appealing to all of us to continue to cooperate with the Government in observing all COVID-19 protocols. We should never allow ourselves to be part of the statistics of infections or death.
My beloved brothers and sisters, our deliberate and sustained efforts to automate the financial system in the state and eliminate fraud have yielded positive results. But it has also come with a price.
The orchestrated blackmail against the government, by the opposition parties and some partisan Labour leaders, is just one of such price we have had to pay.
These unpatriotic elements have continued to allege that we have not been paying salaries and pensions. Believe me, my beloved NdImo, what they are doing is nothing but the tepid attempt of corruption to fight back.
It is sheer wickedness and bankrupt falsehood designed to reverse the hard-earned gains we have recorded in our determined fight against public sector corruption.
It is sad to admit that the greatest bane of Imo State is a massively corrupt public service, oiled by a powerful cabal drawn from the political class, the public service and some members of the leadership of organized Labour. Not surprisingly, previous administrations were either overwhelmed by the cabal or simply compromised or chickened out of a fight. Because of our covenant with the Almighty God, we found the courage to fight this hydra-headed monster. Our motive was to secure our state from the hands of a few heartless Buccaneers who feed fat on a corrupt public service.
However afraid of losing the unjust privileges they hitherto enjoyed from a corrupt system, the opposition resorted to every unimaginable antic to discredit our success story. But they failed woefully because no one can deter us.
Let me make this clear: No amount of blackmail, falsehood or campaign of calumny will stop us from concluding our fight against public sector corruption. In addition to a new Imo of fully rehabilitated infrastructure and job opportunities to boost economic growth, the greatest legacy I want to bequeath to the next generation of Imo Leaders is a corruption-free public service that serves only the interest of the good people of Imo State. On this mission, no cabal can stop me.
Like I said a few days ago before the altar of God, almost everyone verified to receive salaries and pensions in the state has been paid. The few having problems, maybe because of double entries or multiple BVN, have been urged to approach the appropriate quarters or the head of service to clear themselves. But because the guilty are afraid, they have refused to comply.
However, the time is here to put an end to the mindless serial blackmail by this group over a non-existent claim of nonpayment of salaries.
Consequently, and as a further demonstration of our transparency and accountability, I have directed the ministry of information and strategy to publish the names of the over 40,000 civil servants and 21,000 pensioners who have fully been paid up to December 2020. This information is already on our website, but will still be published in the conventional media for the people to see and know that we mean business and to shame the perennial prophets of doom.
The names of the few who have refused to comply with the automation process will also be published.
This should serve as a final warning to those parading falsehood of non payment of salaries to shut up or publish their own list of those who have not been paid with all the relevant automation data, showing that they are real civil servants. Should they fail to do so or should they publish falsehood, then they will have to face the music of the legal consequences of their unpatriotic actions.
Beyond that, we have used the outgone year to lay a solid foundation for a new lmo State founded on our shared prosperity agenda. This year is not only the year of promise but that of divine accomplishments.
More and more quality roads will come on stream this year. The Owerri- Okigwe and Owerri- Orlu roads which will change the economic landscape of our state are expected to near completion this year.
Our health care delivery system which kicked off last year will be improved upon and sustained. Our new university and other educational pursuits would materialize while thousands of our youths would be taken off the unemployment market.
Our indigent rural dwellers will also have a new lease of life. We shall open up many rural roads this year, through quality road construction, and improve tremendously on primary health care delivery.
As we embrace the new year, let us march confidently knowing that we have a God who will never abandon us and that we also have a Government that deeply cares for the welfare of all lmo people and residents irrespective of political or religious affiliation.
Be rest assured that shared prosperity will manifest in every local government this year and that this shall be the year of great promise for everyone.
I know that recent security challenges in the state may be a source of worry to some of us. Let me use this opportunity to assure all Imo people that our security outfit, Operation Search and Flush, is on top of the situation. Your security is always guaranteed.
One thing I am sure of is that at the rate we are moving, my 2022 New Year gift to Imo people will be a brand new Imo State that will be a marvel to all and the pride of every Imo person, to the glory of God
I wish you, my beloved brothers and sisters, a very Happy and prosperous New Year.
Thank you all and may God bless all of us this new year.
Sen. Hope Uzodimma