• Laments state’s deplorable leadership
Amby Uneze in Owerri
Former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief Emeka Ihedioha, has taken a swipe at the legislative arm of the Imo State government over it inability to apply the principle of the oversight function as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution, thereby denying the state the attainment of justice, equity, fairness and accountability in government.
Ihedioha, who was also the 2015 governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state in addition took a fresh critical appraisal of the performance of the Governor Rochas Okorocha-led administration, lamenting that the state had so far experienced the most deplorable kind of leadership where policy actions are poorly conceived, and implemented with impunity and without consideration of their nefarious consequences.
He stated this in a lecture entitled: “The Role of the Political Class in Realising the Collective Dreams of Justice, Equity, Fairness And Financial Accountability in Imo State,” which he delivered at the 2017 Diocesan Synod of the Diocese on the Lake, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) at St Mary’s Magdalene Parish Oguta.
The former federal legislator warned that any government unprepared to accept critical appraisal of its policies is bound to make blunders, even as he faulted government’s decision limiting the working days of civil servants in the state to three and forcing them to use the remaining two days for farming.
According to him, “I need to remind us that the attainment of justice, equity, fairness and accountability in Imo State, will remain elusive so far as our Constitution, the very instrument of our federation is applied in breach and until the legislature indisputably oversight the executive for necessary checks and balances, while the judiciary interprets the law without fear or favour.”
He spoke shortly after the presidential address of the bishop of the Diocese, Rt. Rev. Chijioke B.N. Oti, which had the theme “Building in partnership with God.”
Relying on available statistics, Ihedioha said Imo has the highest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) among the states in the South-east but which in reality; neither reflects nor bears any impact on the living standards of the average indigene of the state.
Ihedioha had in the 2016 Synod of the Diocese of Isi Mbano delivered a paper on ‘Restoring the Confidence of the Citizens in the Political Leadership in Nigeria – a case study of Imo State’ during which he provided the Okorocha administration the opportunity to hear from the people, gauge their opinions regarding his style of governance and his programmes.
He argued that the political leadership is placed in a very unique but strong position to galvanise, direct or influence the thinking and actions of the people.
According to him, if the political leadership channels these enormous advantages it possesses into positive uses, the society becomes the better for it as visible beneficial projects would be executed and the people meaningful and gainfully engaged in economic activities.
The former Deputy Speaker charged the political leadership to harness and to put in concrete policies, the expectations and choices of the people, their eventual implementation and evaluation to ensure that the right mix of public goods are realised for the benefit of Imo people.
He advised the political class in Imo State to resist the temptation to be cowed to abandon its sacred responsibility of holding government to account, saying: “When we are afraid to confront our leaders within their failings, we are encouraging bad governance which transforms into tyranny, rule of whims and caprices and abridgement of liberty.