The Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, claimed on Sunday he inherited a failed state from his predecessor, Emeka Ihedioha.
Uzodimma, who stated in a broadcast in Owerri, said he did not receive a handover from Ihedioha after he assumed office in February 2020.
The governor said that he took over a state beset by challenges such as bad roads, a poor civil service system, and other crises.
He, however, noted all of the challenges had been successfully surmounted by his administration.
Ihedioha was removed by the Supreme Court on January 14, 2020.
In the landmark ruling, a seven-member panel of the Supreme Court led by the then Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Muhammad, declared Uzodinma, who finished fourth in the 2019 election, as the duly elected governor of the state.
He said: “The Imo State we met in February 2020 on the assumption of office can best be described as something very close to the political definition of a failed state, this time at a sub-national level.
“For all practical purposes, we met a state with a decayed infrastructure, a dysfunctional workforce and a deeply despondent and traumatised populace. There was hardly any single motorable road across the state.
“The state capital of Owerri, in particular, was littered with unmotorable roads and dilapidated government buildings.
“The civil service was a good example of a disoriented and directionless institution with no regard for regulations and due process. As a consequence, productivity and reputation dropped to zero.
“For a state like Imo which was renowned for its efficient and reputable civil service, this collapse was a major dent in our pride and reputation.
“The general populace, dismayed by the inexplicable failure of government, relapsed into utter despondency and hopelessness, like sheep without shepherds. Yes, the situation was that bad.
“The situation was made worse by the fact that we had no handover note, and there was nobody to ask questions about the government’s assets and liabilities. We were faced with a dead end on arrival. Our situation was worse than talking to the deaf and dumb. It can only be comparable to the ordeal of someone groping in the dark in search of a pin.
“Yes, it was that daunting. But we refused to be deterred. I am not the one to give excuses for failure. By my election, I had reached a social contract with Ndimo to move our state forward. And that, for me, was a task that must be accomplished.
“To make a very bad situation even worse, it appeared that the god of oddities was temporarily on the throne.
“While we were trying to navigate an already messed up ship without a compass, the COVID-19 pandemic reared its ugly head with its negative consequences on the global, national and state economies, in addition to an unprecedented toll on human life.
“As if that was not enough trouble for us, some unrepentant sour political losers vowed to make the state ungovernable for me. And they did not stop at mere threats: They walked their threats by unleashing unbridled violence in the state. It was like hail was let loose and insecurity became the order of the day. Our state which was once admired for its safety, serenity and sanity became a den of criminals.
“Our state was a preferred destination for tourists became a dreaded city as visitors and even indigenes stayed away for fear of becoming victims of the senseless killings, arson and violence that spread across the state. Yes, our take-off was that bad.
“It was bad enough to daunt even the bravest. But we refused to give up. Instead, we summoned courage and confronted all the challenges head-on. I was convinced that this was what the Imo people who chose me over the other candidates expected me to do. Looking back to three years ago, I can beat my chest and say that to a very large extent, we have overcome.”
By Abdulkabeer Ambali
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