“Okorocha’s sin is that he blocked all channels through which state funds are siphoned. The governor makes sure every kobo goes into infrastructure.”
Mark Uchendu, recently appointed Secretary to the Imo State Government (SSG) and former member of the House of Assembly said the governor’s decision to handover power to his son-in-law and former Chief of Staff, Uche Nwosu in 2019 is an answer to popular wish of Imolites to see the transfer of leadership to the youths.
What are some of the challenges of the state government?
The greatest challenge faced by Governor Rochas Okorocha is the elite who have proved to be enemies of the state because of their destructive criticism of government. These few individuals lack the moral stand to speak against the good job Okorocha is doing. They are misconstruing the administration’s approach to governance. Before I was called to serve, I was on the other side of the divide like the critics, but on getting close to the governor, I realise that the governor means well for the state. Unfortunately, few elites who never see anything good about the administration are blind to Okorocha’s laudable achievement. The only sin of Okorocha that he blocked all channels through which state funds are siphoned.
Can you mention some of so-called achievements that you claimed the government critics are blindfolded to?
Before now, for us to move from Owerri town to the present
new Owerri, it will take two hours because everybody tried to pass through Assumpta, but today we have first, second, third up to fifth inland roads, and even Jacob Zuma road. Within few months, we have been able to do six-kilometer roads in Ihitte Uboma. I think the governor is putting so much pressure on himself and those of us working with him. We are also under pressure, just because he is sincere in trying to open up the state and connected communities through road network. The truth is that Okorocha has done more than what former governors of the state – Achike Udenwa and Ikedi Ohakim – did in 12 years. Okorocha is the only governor after Sam Mbakwe that has the gut to bring down buildings constructed on drainages and obstructing road construction and expansion in the state. Our fear is that if Okorocha fails to do it now, subsequent administration may not have the gut and courage to do it. But I believe that in the nearest future, the people of Imo will celebrate Okorocha.
The administration has come under heavy criticism because of the leadership style of the Governor Okorocha, what is your take?
Okorocha’s sin is that he blocked all channels through which state funds are siphoned. The governor makes sure every kobo goes into infrastructure. And you know, when somebody wants to execute a project of N3 billion with N500 million, of course some people must suffer. That is exactly why Okorocha has a lot of political enemies.
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He has been accused of turning Imo into family business. It is strange that you agreed to serve in the administration. What made you take such decision?
I’m not from Okorocha’s family and I have never transacted business with the governor before now. Okorocha chose to use those he trust to run the fairs of the state because he want to ensure that the state money will no longer be shared by few people in the state. For instance, if as a leader the elite decide to leave you, what do you do? Will you resign? No, you have to look for those who you trust that can help you drive your vision and that is exactly what Okorocha did.
It is alleged that most of the infrastructure constructed by Okorocha is sub-standard and you were the Commissioner for Public Utility until recently, what are you doing to correct this narrative?
Point of correction, there is no sub-standard road or infrastructure done by my ministry when it was under my watch. It is a creation of the enemies of the state. There was and still expansion of road programme going on in the state. When I was called to serve in this government some people advised me not to take up the job, but I told them that you can’t be outside to know more about someone unless you get closer. Today, I can assure you that Okorocha means well for Imo.
The greatest challenge the governor is facing now is how to make his son-in-law and his former Chief of Staff, Uche Nwosu to succeed him. Many believe that move is an error on the part of Okorocha…
Let’s face the fact, Uche Nwosu was in government before he got married to Okorocha’s daughter and it is not as if he married the governor’s daughter before joining the government. He was the personal assistant to Okorocha before he became governor hence he never appointed him to marry his daughter. Uche Nwosu is from Nkerre; and do you want to tell me that if Nwosu is from Okigwe for instance, and Okorocha decided to support him, will the issue of married to the governor’s daughter arise?
In all, is Uche Nwosu capable of governing Imo State?
That is the question I expect people to ask. If you ask me, within the short period I have known the former chief of staff, he is capable to preside over the affairs of the state. Remember that there is clamour for generational shift and because I’m getting to 60 years and couldn’t become governor does not mean a man of 40 should not be governor.