Professor Magnus Chidi Onuoha is the Pioneer Professor of Green Economics in Africa, world class researcher and a political Scientist. The Ogwa, in Mbaitoli Local Government Area of Imo State born social crusader and public opinion commentator in this interview with EVEREST EZIHE, gave a roadmap on how the Senator Hope Uzodinma administration would transform the economy of Imo state, as well as the clamour for Igbo Presidency in 2023. Excerpts
The Supreme Court of Nigeria declared Senator Hope Uzodinma as the rightful winner of March 9th, 2019 Imo State gubernatorial election, as a politician how do you see the judgment?
It is a dream come true for Imo State. It is a recovery of a stolen mandate. I never believed the declaration of INEC, saying Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha of PDP won the governorship election, considering the fact that Imo masses voted for Senator Hope Uzodinma of APC. Besides, Ihedioha did not meet the 2/3 constitutional spread. Recall that the election that gave Ihedioha illegal mandate excluded 388 polling unit results which Uzodinma simply appealed to the court of justice to include and declare whoever has the highest votes and the constitutional spread as the winner. The contentious polling units result came from strong hold of Senator Uzodinma. It baffles me when people lampoon the Supreme Court’s landslide judgment. People should go and read the judgment. Any unbiased mind that reads the judgment will know that, this is a triumph of justice.
Senator Hope Uzodinma is a man of destiny and with unfathomable grace. Last Friday during the Eucharistic Adoration Service held at Assumpta Catholic Cathedral Owerri and officiated by His Eminence Archbishop Anthony Obinna, I had goose pimples and flowing tears of joy when Senator Uzodinma as the Executive Governor of Imo State stood before the altar of most High God and said “I may be the rejected stone but I will be a corner stone”. You know Jesus Christ is the Chief Corner Stone and immediately I cued into that. I want Imo people to understand that the Mmanu Akara am answering as a Chieftaincy title has nothing to do with Imo Charter of Equity but rather the prosperity of the land. Live and let live, let the wealth circulate. Not a situation that the wealth is within the confines of few people. Hope is a man who is not selfish and materialistic. In his broadcast to the people of Imo State, he said money must circulate and this is Hope for you. He has instituted full autonomy to the local government council and he is very emphatic about this. This is a man I have followed for over ten years as we worked seriously together in National Assembly. Eight years of Hope in the Senate was evidence of robust and quality representations. He was Chairman Senate Committee on Customs, which is no mean feat. Both at the plenary and committee levels, he was a true ambassador and highly respected. He is a man willing to learn, very humble and unassuming.
Ironically, many people perceived Senator Hope Uzodinma as a man of pomposity and arrogance, why are you thinking otherwise?
He is a man people misrepresent. You know God’s grace and favour manifested in him early enough. He is just a victim of jealousy and envy. Those who talks ill against him have never been with him. His greatest weakness is that he is humble and humane to a fault. You may not know these until you come closer. How is it that he is one politician in Imo State that his followers are infectious and likened to mass movement? I challenge you to listen or read his maiden broadcast to the people of Imo State. If you are a man of wisdom, you will understand the man called Hope Uzodinma. He believed in rebuilding, recovery and reconstruction. That his maiden speech is predicated on these three “R” .any good students of Economics knows that good wealth distribution must be anchored on inclusiveness, equity and egalitarianism. Thus, within the purview of Economics, I said that is it. The problem of poverty in Nigeria dwells on so much gap between the have and have not. His mission is to close the gap. He laid emphasizes on rural development, thus the essence of given full autonomy to the local government councils. He has demonstrated his strategic love to bottom to top approach against the mindsets of the earlier administrators of the state given credence to top to bottom strategic approach. He has shown that he is on a mission to wipe-out poverty in Imo and restores the populace hope and confidence in governance.
As a political stakeholder in the state, there is this perception that Imo State is PDP and PDP is Imo State?
This is a fallacy from the pit of hell. PDP in Imo State died some years ago, precisely in 2007. Truly, most of us caught our teeth in that political umbrella called PDP but impunity and imposition killed the party. There is nothing democratic about PDP. Recalled that Senator Hope Uzodinma just like most political gladiators in the State left PDP due to exclusion. Imo people belong to any political party that will guarantee them equity, justice and inclusiveness and this is why, APC have captured the state for almost a decade now. Imo politicians are highly sensitive and they understands the political pendulum thus why the state since 1999 has been governed by PDP, PPA, APGA and APC. Certainly, the era of PDP in Imo State and Nigeria has gone and gone for good. PDP has been decimated to death. I am not saying that APC would be perpetually in government, it is a gospel truth that politics is all about interest. You see, with Senator Hope Uzodinma’s coming, political stability has been restored. There is a ray of hope for the people and thus, the people are happy. Senator Hope Uzodinma’s, emergence as the Executive Governor of the Eastern Heartland states has brought the state political gladiators together, stem brotherly love and unity of purpose. I am equally impressed with the Governor’s spirit as he said he has forgiven all and that is Hope. He has a forgiven spirit and large heart to accommodate and this is the major reason I have been supporting him politically for over ten years now.
Are you not an apostle of Imo Charter of Equity that operates within the framework of Federal Character in terms of power sharing and restoration of equity and natural justice?
Let us be realistic and truthful to ourselves. Have the so called Imo Charter of Equity ever worked in the State. To me it is a document parochially designed to serve some selfish political interest. This is the major reason the implementation of the document is not workable and it cannot work..
As a Professor in Green Economies? What is your road map to the new administration in terms of overall development of the state?
I foresee Imo State being one of the fastest growing economy in the country as a result of restoration of good, visionary and purposeful governance. I wish the government will embark on solar tunnel to alleviate the problem of epileptic power supply as witnessed in Kwara State. I want the government to Institute a Ministry for Climate Change, just like Cross River State. It subjects the government to be proactive and sensitive to environmental matters. Uzodinma I know, is a man of great ideas and in today’s leadership, ideas rule the world. Imo children in schools starting from primary to tertiary institutions must be entitled to solar lantern. Uzodinma is on divine mission to revolutionized Imo State economy. The Chief of Staff is equally gathering all the ideas being nurtured. Don’t forget that Senator Uzodinma says he will run all inclusive governance. I can assure you that behind the scene a lot of things are happening.
Now that the government is seen to have stabilized, what kind of people do you expect the Governor to be appointed in his cabinet?
One thing certain in Camp Hope is that he has egg heads, he doesn’t need to go to Cambodia to import experts. He has indigenous experts all around him, for instance the appointment of Barr. C.O.C Akolisa as the State Attorney General is been applauded, just as the appointment of Barr. Nnamdi Anyaehie as the Chief of Staff, these are sound technocrats with impeccable administrative acumen. He has all it takes in his campaign structure. Even his appointment of Mr. Oguike Nwachukwu as his Chief Press Secretary is an indication that the Governor is not clannish and he knows what he is doing.
Governor Uzodinma is a man that believes in fear of God, integrity, pedigree, patriotism, honesty, experience, result oriented, team player and discipline. Therefore, Imo people should expect people with the above criteria’s to fill his cabinet. He has so many best in his political structure and people who are passionate in the growth and transformation of the state.
Recently there have been clarion calls that Igbos should enmasse join APC ahead of 2023 Presidential election as the only political party that will guarantee the realization of their Presidential ambition. As an Igboman and political stakeholder what is your take on this?
I give my absolute support to the call because the more the numeral the better for us. The Presidency of Nigeria is not a tea party, a lot is involved. Politics is all about number. Obviously, for Igbo man to seriously aspire for the Presidency, we need the numbers. We can’t stand alone. Igboman cannot get the presidency without strong bargaining power and it is only APC that can guarantee Igboman the Presidency they deserve. In APC, the doors are very much open, there is no restriction and very happy about it. I stays in Abuja, Igbomen must shine their eyes