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Time For Gov. Uzodinma To Tigrify —Dr. Ugorji Ugorji

By Obiageli Adiasor

Dr. Ugorji Okechukwu Ugorji, an APC Chieftain in Imo State, was welcomed at the Sam Mbakwe Airport, Imo State by some APC members from Mbaise on February 21, 2020. This reporter was one in a pool of journalists to whom Dr. Ugorji gave an interview.

This appears to be your second return to Nigeria in about three weeks. Does your current trip have anything to do with politics in Imo?

In part, yes. The National President of Mbaise-USA, Chief SOS Echendu, invited me to his investiture of knighthood at the Anglican Church at Ife, Mbaise on February 21st. I came to honor the invitation. I also came at this time because the Chairman of the APC at Lorji, Mr. Onyekwere Ukanwa, and members of the party in Mbaise, such as Dr. Ada Okwuonu and Barrister Iheukwumere Alaribe suggested that I should be present in the state at this critical moment.

What’s your impression so far?

I see a calm citizenry. Governor Hope Uzodinma appears in charge, and is displaying a necessary sense of urgency to get the work of the people done. His policy statement to pay the 30,000 Naira minimum wage for Imo State workers is a sound one. In 2016 or thereabout, Igranted an interview wherein I suggested that President Buhari should have used the loots recovered by his administration from corrupt officials, and the savings he has made in closing loopholes for kleptomania, to fund the minimum wage for federal workers.

Dr. Ugorji Okechukwu Ugorji and his wife during an event

As a former labor activist myself,  I am elated at Governor Uzodinma’s pledge to pay the minimum wage to Imo State workers. He has walked his talk by announcing he would forgo security votes and deploy same to meeting this promise. And he appears to be quietly deliberative in his effort to put together a full cabinet.

So you think Governor Hope Uzodinma has started well?

I do. However, it can and will get better. The reality of his ascension now demands strategic planning and strategic communication. Every communication from the government must be anchored on a whole-of-government approach that is people-centered, strategic, and compassionate. There needs to be an urgent segmentation of the stakeholders at the local, state, national, and international arenas, with targeted communication strategies. A tiger does not have to talk his tigritude – he just has to tigrify.

Do you feel any apprehension in your party (APC) about the Supreme Court review of the Imo Governorship case?

North really. There are no guarantees of course, once parties are back in court. Governor Uzodinma has so far demonstrated to APC members in Imo State that where there is HOPE, there is hope. The party’s outlook in Imo and in Igbo land in general, has improved dramatically, laden with hope, thanks to Governor Hope. He is about to reunite a party in Imo that was fractured by a succession gambit by former Governor Okorocha that went awry.

What was your rational for supporting Hope Uzodinmma in the last election?

I joined the APC in 2015, long before the 2019 election. Many of us in Imo State APC just could not swallow Governor Okorocha’s succession plan in 2019. Those of us from Imo East (and in fact many others from other regions of the state) felt that equity demanded that Okorocha’s successor come from Imo East. When the battle ensued, however, the more urgent impetus became the rejection of a family-centered succession plan. Many of the APC big guns left the party during the primary season because they did not see a route to stopping the family succession plan in APC. Senator Uzodinma stayed put. He became the only person in APC who could stop the speeding locomotive of family succession. When Uzodinma emerged as my party’s nominee, I ended whatever other flirtations I had and supported him. Twice now, he has surmounted what appeared insurmountable.

What’s your view about the protests over the Supreme Court victory of Senator Hope Uzodinma?

The right of protest is an important aspect of democracy. Protests are actually healthy if the necessary permits are in place, and if they are peaceful. It actually allows the government to also feel the pulse of the people and/or the opposition. I just don’t get the idea of showing up at foreign embassies to protest a Supreme Court ruling in a governorship election. And this is a party (the PDP) that governed this country for 16 years. They don’t see the solicitation of foreign help, and the demand for foreign punitive measures on Supreme Court justices as disrespectful of the nation’s sovereignty? Nigeria is no longer a colony.

What’s your reaction to the mass movement of PDP politicians to the APC since the Supreme Court ruling?

Perhaps more than anything else, the movements are reflections of attraction to and respect for the new governor, Uzodinma. I make no other judgement about people’s free will to exercise their political options as they see fit.

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