A non-political group, known as Association of Concerned Indigenes of Imo State (ACIIS), has commended Nick Opara-Ndudu, a banker and former commissioner , for his decision to vie for governorship position in 2019 election in Imo State, saying that it was a bold initiative that would liberate Imolites from current socioeconomic and political slavery in the state.
The group which spoke at the weekend in Owerri, through Zacchaeus Ikwonma, its acting Publicity Secretary, said “the current state of things in Imo State was tantamount to slavery and only a person with purposeful leadership ability could liberate Imo people from the ugly situation. And it is for this reason that we are commending Opara-Ndudu for his bold step to mount the gauntlet for the liberation of the state.”
Ikwonma said that “in the last seven years, Imo State has been reduced to a fiefdom and run as a private estate to the exclusion of the people for the benefit of family members of the powers-that-be and his cronies”, adding that “in Imo, life has become solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short for the people and it is personalities like Opara-Ndudu the Imolites need to put things right in the state.
He said ACIIS which is a nonprofit organisation was formed to save Imo State from misrule perpetrated by the current administration in the state, adding “we are neither aligned nor affiliated to any political organisation. Our objective is to defend Imo, and to rescue Imolites from the clique at the corridor of power. Hence, we resolved in our meeting at the weekend to commend Opara-Ndudu, who we believe can do the job.
“Imo people want a selfless leadership; one who is devoid of cronyism, bootlickers, rent-seeking, impunity and manipulation as well as the subjugation and subordination of the state legislature to the apronstring of the state executive, which has assigned it executive roles against the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” said the group.
Opara-Ndudu had late last year informed Imolites in the country and other parts of the world about his interest to run for governorship race in 2019 general elections on the ticket of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) pledging to put things right if given the mandate to run the state.
In a recent letter which, was addressed to “Dear compatriots” and titled “Imo Governorship 2019- Declaration of Intent”, Opara-Ndudu lamented the deplorable state of infrastructure in the state and urged Imolite to be ready for a change for a better Imo in 2019.
The letter reads: “I bring you tidings of the Lenten season and earnestly hope that the blessings of the risen Christ shall be upon you in abundance during this season and beyond.
“And for my fellow citizens of Imo State, this season offers us a unique opportunity to reflect on the dire straits we are in and the uncommon challenges that we face as a people in the governance of our dear state and seek God’s intervention in our affairs.”
The former bank boss said “with decrepit infrastructure across the state and in particular, in our rural areas, we must rise to the challenge of ensuring that government is held accountable for providing quality, durable roads; good hospitals, conducive environment for learning in our schools, etc. The current razzmatazz of ‘urban renewal’ which has seen the Governor Rochas Okorocha’s Administration expand a few roads within Owerri metropolis must yield to a more orderly, structured and professionally managed infrastructure provision framework for our people.
“With the scourge of unemployment taking its toll on our teeming population of young people, we must begin to address the challenge of providing jobs and sundry forms of productive engagements for our citizens as veritable instruments for preventing them from engaging in crimes and varied forms of negative behaviour.
“Our agricultural sector must be revamped and repositioned to unleash its latent capacity and create at least 200,000 jobs in a space of three years. In the same vein, we must rise to the challenge of providing a conducive environment for the industrial sector to create at least 50,000 jobs over a period of five years. The Imo economy and its people have a capacity to attain these goals and more, provided we have the right leadership.
“With most of our pensioners continually being denied their benefits and rights as senior citizens, we must rise to the challenge of redeeming our collective humanity by ensuring that their entitlements are paid. Otherwise, posterity and the judgment of history shall be unkind to us all.
“With our state’s debt profile at an all time high in excess of N100billion, we must now address the urgent need of diversifying of our state’s economy and revenue base to cope with the challenges created by this needless and avoidable debt overhang. Governing Imo State is not going to be a tea party and we must collectively seek a new development template driven by new approaches and alternative revenue sources. Continuing reliance on existing revenue streams would only spell doom for our future development efforts.
“With poverty ravaging our land and the Imo State government destroying markets and other traditional sources of productive engagement for our people, we must begin the process of addressing the damages done by evolving a poverty alleviation programme that would bring succor to our people and create opportunities for them to earn a decent living.
“With our traditional institutions thoroughly bastardised and rubbished, we must collectively rise to the challenge of restoring dignity and respectability to these institutions. We must accord our traditional rulers the respect they truly deserve as the custodians of our traditions and cultural values,” he said.
A Catholic Christian by faith, and an indigene of Emekuku, Owerri North Local Government of Imo State, and Opara-Ndudu served as Chief Economic Adviser to the state government as well as Commissioner across three ministries (Budget & Economic Planning; Works & Transport; Internal Resources (IGR) and Pension Matters) in Imo State during the first term of Okorocha’s administration.
ACIIS called on all the citizens of Imo State across the country and the world to support Opara-Ndudu to enable him to emerge as the governor of the state in 2019, adding that the “emergence of Opara-Ndudu, who is coming on the platform of APGA, will save Imolites from the slavery in the state.
The group said another reason it is pledging its support for Opara-Ndudu derives from its belief that Imo State should go for the third force to liberate Imo people.
“The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) have ruled the state and nothing to show for the almost 16 years they have held sway in the state, hence we need somebody from another party and APGA is perfectly in order because it is our party,” it declared, adding that Opara-Ndudu meets our criteria.
“We want to do it the Anambra way. We want APGA to dominate politics in Imo State. No other party should be allowed anymore because they have nothing good to offer the Imolites,” it added.