Amby Uneze in Owerri
Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma, has assured the state that it will prosper under his watch as the era of executive lawlessness and neo-feudalism is a thing of the past.
In his maiden broadcast yesterday to the people of the state, Uzodinma outlined policy measures which his administration intended to apply to achieve the dream of a ‘New Imo’. Such policies include restoration of due process, financial discipline, re-invigoration of the heath sector and security of lives and property.
The governor stated that his vision of the state is predicated on freedom, security and shared prosperity welded into good governance, stressing that the evidence on ground indicates that Imo State requires fundamental reform to forge a new trajectory.
To achieve his vision of ‘Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Recovery’, the governor directed the overhaul of the bureaucratic structures to entrench strict adherence to extant laws, procedures and statutes to achieve efficient service delivery.
He assured workers of prompt payment of salaries, pensions and other statutory obligations.
On education, Uzodinma announced that a highly functional, qualitative and science-driven education system, focused on skills acquisition, innovation, manpower development and entrepreneurship code-named Imo State Education Opportunity Programme (ISEOP) shall be established with a view to producing a new generation of graduates equipped for immediate employment and self-reliance.
For the health sector, the governor promised to pursue a policy of comprehensive medical care with primary and preventive components which shall achieve 75 percent coverage of the populace across the 27 local government areas within the first two years.
He noted that the state would recruit 850 community health workers, renovate and equip community health centres in the 305 wards, procure modern diagnostic equipment, including CT scan and mobile X-ray as well as provide Rapid Response Ambulance Services (RAMS) at the zonal hospitals and rural health centres.
The governor explained further that the Imo State University College of Medicine and the Teaching Hospital in Orlu and the Public Health Laboratory and the Specialist Hospital in Owerri shall be equipped for lesser surgeries, as well as serve as Regional Medical Informatics Centres for the South-east region. “The abandoned MRI and other sensitive scanning machines transferred from IMSUTH Orlu to ‘OCHIEDIKE’ shall be rehabilitated and restored for service,” he said.
To channel the economy to massive growth and job creation, Uzodinma pledged to focus on mainstream macro-economic programmes based on his ‘3R Algorism’ recovery of damaged economic structures, re-construction of core infrastructure and rehabilitation of component micro-economic institutions with the overall aim of achieving rapid economic diversification through ‘backward integration’ involving a synergy of rural-urban paradigm shift from a core public sector-driven economy to Public-Private Partnership (PPP).
He also announced the establishment of a State Economic and Rehabilitation Council (SEDARC) to redress the fiscal and infrastructural deficits militating against economic development in the state.
Additionally, Uzodinma said: “The Council has the mandate to recover missing public assets as well as co-ordinate a forensic investigation into the finances of the state in order to establish its true financial status as at January 13, 2020, together with the recovery of all illegally acquired private lands to enable their return to their rightful owners.”
On local government administration, the governor, while guaranteeing the restoration of autonomy to the third tier of government, pledged to conduct a credible council election in due course, even as he approved the reconstitution of the State Local Government Joint Accounts Allocation Committee to manage and superintend over council funds, including 10 percent which the state shall statutorily contribute as counterpart fund to support development at the grassroots.
To boost the security architecture of Imo State, the governor announced the establishment of a new Neighborhood Security outfit code-named ‘North East West (NEW)’, involving a coordinated network of community intelligence-gathering programme to complement the conventional security agencies.
He, however, declared that Imo State shall become uncomfortable for criminals with the launch of ‘Operation Flush Out Criminals (FOC)’.