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Peace In Imo Begins With Dismantling Of Dokubo’s Ebube Agu – Onyeukwu


Peace In Imo Begins With Dismantling Of Dokubo’s Ebube Agu – Onyeukwu

Sir Temple Ogueri Onyeukwu, a seasoned politician and Fellow, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (FCA), is a former House of Representatives candidate for the Mbaitoli/Ikeduru federal constituency, as well as philanthropist, social crusader and National Leader, Turning Point Youths Empowerment Initiative.

In this chat with EJIKEME OMENAZU , he proffers an agenda for development of Imo State as Governor Hope Uzodimma begins his second term in office.

What is your view on the Industrialisation of Imo State? Are you happy with the current situation?

Regrettably Imo State is among the three or four states in Nigeria without a branch of the Bank of Industries (BOI). Industrialising a state is not about building gigantic industries that employs 1000 people at a time. Meaningful industrialisation is about Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises that employ four, five or ten and more people.

When such MSMEs are scattered all over the state where the enabling environment exists, criminality will be minimised.

The absence of a branch of the Bank of Industry in Imo State is a grave set back to the attempts by our brothers and sisters to access capital at competitive interest rate from the BOI. Check the BOI website and see the impact it is making all over the country apart from Imo State.

The government cannot do everything. However, if this government must be taken seriously on its pledge to industrialise Imo state, it must immediately provide accommodation for the BOI branch in Imo State without delay. Imo State needs a branch of the Bank of Industry.

How do you see the state of the present industrial layout along Onitsha road?

The industrial layout along Onitsha road has no access road. Year in, year out, bush overgrows the layout.

Despite the fact that the Nigeria Customs Area Command office is located there, the service had to relocate many of its staff to Port Harcourt, Rivers State, due to the inability of the government to construct the road to their office.

Can you imagine the economic impact of the over 100 officers of the Custom Service who are supposed to be resident in Owerri, now operating from Port Harcourt? Can you imagine that an industrial layout has been overtaken by residential houses? Are residential houses industries?

What will be the cost benefit analysis of the 3R government reviving this industrial layout? Imo State will be the beneficiary for it and the legacy will be that of Hope Uzodimma.

Every governor since after Mbakwe wants to be like Mbakwe because of the legacies the Obowo-born politician and lawyer bequeathed to the old Imo State. But, has any measured up to him? The obvious answer is in the negative.

What would you say is the state of security in the state?
Ndi Imo expect that the governor, as the Chief Security Officer (CSO) of the state, must show the political will to end insecurity in the state.

Without adequate security industrial development and growth will continue to be a mirage no matter the big grammar used to mask the truth.

Today, Ebube Agu in Imo State is said to be the private security outfit of Asari Dokubo, a former Niger Delta militant whom Buhari contracted to fight on the side of his government against Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and his flag hanging followers.

When Asari Dokubo brought in his private security, they were officially given the name, Ebube Agu, in order to placate the people that those in their midst are genuinely helping to keep the peace in the state.

This fake Ebube Agu are fully trained and are even said to wear military uniforms during their generations. The restoration of peace in Imo State must start with Governor Hope Uzodimma agreeing with the President and Commander-In-Chief, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to disengage Asari Dokubo’s private security from our dear state.

They appear to be responsible for simulating the insecurity in the state at their will and use the opportunity to carry out their atrocities. No security, no economic growth and no industrial development.

What is your take on the development of road infrastructure in Imo State?

His Excellency, Rochas Okorocha, the former governor of Imo State once noted that the rain that falls in Imo State is acidic and washes away roads after construction.

Orlu Road, Okigwe Road, and the completed portion of Owerri-Mbaise-Umuahia Road have proven this theory of acidic rain in Imo State baseless. Poor quality work does not last; these three federal roads reconstructed by the Uzodimma administration are good testimonies of quality road. I hope the Federal Government has refunded the money Imo State spent in reconstructing these federal roads.

If the Federal Government has refunded the money for these federal roads, that frees resources for the administration to build other roads. The road network in Imo state causes motorists depression.

Apart from Owerri metropolis, most local governments lack roads. Mbaitoli local government reputed to be the largest local government in the state and the second largest in the country is the worst hit.

Mbieri has no single motor-able tarred road. The Umuonyeali Mbieri road, excavated by government construction contractors, has become an erosion site. Houses in the area have been abandoned due to impassibility of the road.

People cannot enter their houses and are seeking alternative accommodation elsewhere. Until the government adopts a coordinated programmed rural road infrastructural development Imo State will continue to be one of the states with the highest number of unemployed employable youths.

In fact, with prudent management of the monthly allocations to Mbaitoli from FAAC, the local government will not be complaining of bad roads.

What we see are Sole Administrators who are accountable to the governor and not to the people and the local government continues to deteriorate.

What is your take on the local government administration in the state? Are the local governments living up to expectation?

It is an open secret that most governors appoint local government administrators and sole administrators because of their alleged penchant to appropriate local government allocations from FAAC.

So, they appoint men and women who must take instructions from them. It is in the open that when on monthly basis, the local government allocations come, the governors call these appointees to come and sign for the money.

After they would have signed, the governor now gives them whatever he wants to give. Most local government secretariats in Imo State have been over grown by weeds.

In our pathetic case, our Ninth House of Assembly even voted against local government autonomy, financial autonomy of the legislature and state police during the period of amendment of the constitutions.

Imo State House of Assembly as then constituted, was among those that ensured that those amendments never saw the light of day despite the ravaging insecurity and the moribund status of our local government.

Rivers State House of Assembly also voted in line, but when the present governor fell apart with his godfather, Nyesom Wike, the present House of Assembly loyal to Wike quickly introduced bills for financial autonomy for the legislature and local governments and passed the bills into laws.

Hypocrisy personified. We cannot continue to look to Abuja for our emancipation and development when if we can be less greedy and manage the local government area funds properly, we can emancipate ourselves. Our deliverance and redemption lies with us and not in Abuja.

What do you think would happen after January 14, 2028 when the term of the incumbent administration will have expired?
What happens after January 2028? What will this administration be remembered for? What lasting legacies will subsequent administrations emulate from this administration? Governance is a continuum.

However, most Imolites about the age of 50 and above remember with nostalgias the monumental accomplishments of Chief Sam Onunaka Mbakwe of blessed memory.

From present Abia State to now Imo State and parts of Ebonyi State, De Sam transversed everywhere with concrete durable projects. Many administrations after him have left the industries to die and the infrastructure to decay beyond imagination.

Imo State generates and receives enough resources for our needs and not for our greed. Mr. Governor, Hope Uzodimma, this tenure calls for your introspection.

You must subject your appointments to critical scrutiny and bring on board only those who will add value to your administration and help you leave a legacy that will live beyond your lifetime. The measure of your success will mean leaving Imo State better than you met it.

The next set of appointees must be people with second address who have something doing and not only politicians. ‘I am a politician’ is not a profession. Look for professionals and technocrats who can survive without government resources. Imo State currently has the highest number of unemployed youths.

Orlu Senatorial zone has been the headquarters of insecurity in the state since four years now. Surprisingly, the same produced the highest number of votes during the election for your second tenure. What an irony? What a puzzle?

The past four years saw the unprecedented escalation of insecurity in the South East geopolitical zone. Historically, traditionally and culturally Ndigbo are not violent people.

They are a group of people that despise injustice. They value human life, perhaps more than any other group of people that constitute the geographical space called Nigeria.

As at today, Governor Uzodimma is the Chairman of the South East Governors Forum. What legacy will he be remembered for after this period? The South Easterners must take their security into their own hands irrespective of their different political leanings.

Governor Uzodimma is expected to champion this noble cause. If Miyeti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, a business group that rears cattle, can establish a National Security outfit to guard their cattle, what of human beings of South East extraction? Where do we go from here? This is the time Governor Uzodimma should decide what he will be remembered for.

When we are humiliated, traumatised, our business threatened, our livelihood threatened, our properties demolished and our existence threatened either because we are Igbos or we harbour different political opinions from that of our host states, where do we run to if running to the South East exposes us to higher existential threats?

The restoration of peace in Imo State must start with Governor Hope Uzodimma agreeing with the President and Commander-In-Chief, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to disengage Asari Dokubo’s private security from our dear state.

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