The immediate past Deputy Speaker of the Federal House of representatives and the gubernatorial aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general elections, His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, has identified some of the critical points of failure of the expiring government of Gov. Rochas Okorocha of Imo State.
Ihedioha made the remarks in a key note address he delivered on Saturday, May 26, 2018 at the 2018 Diocesan Synod of the Diocese of Mbaise, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), which was held at Holy Trinity Church, Oru, Ahiara, Ahiazu Mbaise Local Government Area (LGA). The topic of the keynote address was “Restoring Confidence of Citizens in the Political Leadership in Nigeria – A Case Study of Imo State”.
He said: “I must not fail to decry the fast erosion of the fundamentals of statehood under the current administration namely: conspicuous misapplication of state resources on vain projects such as building of statues that have no elementary economic or social benefits to the people; backlog of salary arrears and pension allowances; conspicuous reckless consumption of our commonwealth etc.
“In specific terms, is it not disturbing that under the 7 years (May 2011-Dec 2018) of the maladministration of the APC government in Imo State over half a trillion (i.e five hundred billion) naira has been received from the federation account? This sum excludes internally generated revenue (IGR), bailout fund of N63.91 billion, and Paris Club refunds of N22.03 billion.
“Characteristically, evidence of bad governance is manifest in all facets of our polity. There is decline of sports standards with the attendant decay of sports infrastructure. There is a crippling of the local government tier of government. There is the bastardization of the Land Use Act. There is the collapse of the education and health facilities and standards. There is the disobedience of court judgments. There is the decay and destruction of inherited infrastructure. There is the negation of Rule of Law and cardinal principles of democracy i.e separation of powers.”
Rt. Emeka Ihedioha digressed a bit and injected some element of counsel when he stated that “Governance is a serious business, requiring some level of tutelage and preparations, and not for vacation seekers. I believe, however, that the election of well-tutored and prepared helmsmen in the state will correct this anomaly.
“As someone who has traversed the executive and legislative arms of government at the centre between 1992 and 2015, I am compelled to conclude that Imo is denied the benefit of qualitative democratic practice essentially in the sense that, apart from the virtual non-existence of local government as the third tier of government, the legislative arm at the state level is hampered from the discharge of its responsibilities by executive handedness. A fourth tire of government which is alien to the Nigerian constitution has been added in Imo and this is, at best, curious and worrisome.”
Stressing that leaders owe the led a duty of good representation measured by the extent of improvement in the standard of living of the people at the commencement of their representation and at the end, Rt. Hon. Ihedioha stated thus: “On the day of election, a social contract is supposedly made between the citizens and the political leadership based on the perceived convictions of the manifesto presented by the candidate and confidence in the ability of the candidate to deliver on his/her promises for the good of the people. This confidence anchored on a firm belief in the honesty and sanctity of the social contact.
“Elementary political science teaches us that elected public officials hold the offices they occupy in trust for the electorate, who voted for them and thus gave them the mandate of leadership. As a representative at whatever level and varying degrees of responsibility where they play their roles, their legitimacy derives from the power transferred to them through the ballot box on the day of election.
“The people find it difficult to believe their political leaders any longer because they have ceased to be leaders and have rather become rulers and classical despots. How would people have confidence in leaders who flagrantly and intentionally disobey the laws of the land, dispossess the people of their properties with impunity, destroy their means of livelihood, desecrate their revered religious leaders, while at the same time attempting to create a primitive fiefdom in this twenty-first century?”