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I.M.O Goes for Governor



By Patience EjimoforWith initials like I.M.O, Ifeyinwa Maureen Okafor seems cut out for the position she’s vying for in Imo State. But how does the 44-year-old political neophyte convince anyone she can do the job, far more unseat the incumbent Governor?

The answers lie in her professional achievements, experience, training, courage and conviction that she has something new to offer Imo people and the nerve to deliver it. She promises “real Change” through accountable leadership and the pursuit excellence.

“As a people, we yearn for a new kind of Leadership founded on love, excellence, accountability, development, empowerment, responsibility, service, humility, inspiration and purpose. I am prepared to be that kind of leader, that is why I have offered myself to serve my people,“ she says, confidently.

I.M.O. commends Owelle Rochas Okorocha for his free education but says she can do better.

“Owelle Rochas Okorocha has, indeed, done well to the extent of his ability. He has given free education. But I’m coming with a slightly different module – not just free but free, quality education and a lot more.”

The Ehime-Mbano-born I.M.O. is an accomplished chartered-accountant, industrialist, administrator, wife and mother with a distinguished background in business and academia.   Formerly of Ahmadu Bello Staff School, Zaria, Federal Government College Ikot Ikpene, and University of Lagos, she is a first class law graduate of the University of Bradford, England, and currently the managing director of International Packaging Industries plc, Lagos, where she generates jobs for many.

The career woman believes she can make a difference with a new brand of leadership that will develop Imo, create jobs for the hundreds of idle youths, improve sanitation, security and position the state on the cutting edge.

A competent writer and blogger, the ambitious PDP woman shares her vision of a developed and transformed Imo in one of her articles set in the future.

“… I am driving down the banks of Nworie River – an 8-lane highway. It is lined with palm trees on my left, sharp high-rise buildings dot the landscape on my right. Luxury boats anchor on the sides of the motorway while expansive green areas have children playing in the parks… that is what we have become, the most stable and productive of the 36 states in Nigeria,” she predicts.

“By tapping into our high diversified natural resources, huge domestic market and competent labour force, we delivered. We delivered smart cities, superior infrastructure and high quality education. Our schools are the first choice of our children… We reversed medical tourism through a deliberate recall programme of our doctors abroad and by building our own physical and policy healthcare infrastructure. This yielded dividend as our child and maternal mortality rates had dropped significantly and life expectancy moved from 52 to 80 years.”

The above captures her hopes and dreams for a state and people she loves. She has a stubborn conviction that things will get better if competent and visionary leaders are put in place – the time is now!

“I believe I have been called for such a time like this because our nation is in dire need of a new quality of leadership, so I’m offering myself to serve in the office of governor of Imo. I believe that the time for this is now – the time to bring change, real change, into Imo State,” she declares.

“My background, training and experience have moulded me to become who I am today. These are the qualities I will bring to bear on the job. I have been exposed to world-class education; I was exposed to practices in the developed country from an early age… As a mother, I’m concerned. I am filled with compassion for our people. I want to come in and make things right for our generation and the generation yet unborn. “

I.M.O. is a woman with a dream and she is determined to realize it. With role models like the late Prof. Dora Akunyili and America’s Hilary Clinton, it’s clear she’s ready for the challenge. She has ample grassroots support and is not bothered by her newness to politics. Instead of considering it a handicap, she reasons that her lack of a political past is, indeed, an advantage since most of the old brigades lack credibility.

“In terms of being an unknown, I think that’s an advantage – I have excelled in business and industry, I have excellence in academia. I am able to bring the real change we need. I think Nigerians are tired of the norm; they are tired of same old, same old politics… They want people who can deliver, people who keep their word; they want change and I think that change can only come from outside,” she concludes.

In an address to PDP EXCO, I.M.O throws out a challenge for good governance and accountability, ahead of 2015.

“We need real change. And the strategy to deliver that change must be different. We must teach how to fish and not give fish. We cannot be the greatest party in Africa just by numbers, but by measurable indices of economic and social development that we have delivered. There must be a careful and deliberate effort to deliver on campaign promises. We must have the will to deliver good government.”

Furthermore, she defends her choice of PDP as her preferred party.

“Our party is truly a party of the people, where anyone despite age, ethnicity, or gender can aspire to any office in the land. A party with great constitution founded on the ideals of equality and progressive change-a true commonwealth,” says the scholar.

Even then, what are her chances of getting the ticket from a party, where over a dozen candidates want to become the next governor of Imo State? Her confidence shines forth.

“My chances are good and positive. The PDP has said that women should come and run for the party. They have said that 35 per cent of elective offices should be given to women. We need a new model, we cannot continue the same way. I have given up my life for this call and in terms of competence; I think I am the best candidate.”

I believe her!



USAID begins Covid-19 testing in Imo rural areas



USAID averts 25,000 unwanted pregnancies in Ebonyi, Kogi

…Umuagwo Varsity of Agric kicks-off October

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has begun Covid-19 testing in the 27 Local Government Areas of Imo State, “in a bid to reduce the impact of community spread of the virus in the rural areas of the state.

The Imo State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Chief Declan Mbadiwe Emelumba disclosed this in Owerri while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the Weekly Executive Council meeting presided over by Governor Hope Uzodimma on Wednesday.

Chief Emelumba said so far, the USAID officials have carried out reasonable number of testing in Njaba LGA and reported that all those tested came out negative and that the council prayed that the result from other Local Government Areas will be the same.

He announced that the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) has approved the take off of the Imo State University for Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Umuagwo in October this year.

According to him, the approval underscores the efforts which the Imo State Government ably led by Governor Hope Uzodinma has made towards the establishment of a second university for the state.

Recently, the NUC panel was in Imo State to carry out the necessary verification exercises on the state facilities, human and physical infrastructures.

Mr. Declan Emelumba, who was flanked by the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Bernard Ikegwuoha, Commissioner for Health Dr. Damaris Osunkwo and the Chief Press Secretary/Media Adviser to the Governor Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku, informed that the Executive Council is happy that something new is happening in the Education Sector of the State.

Emelumba said that the Imo State University of Science and Environmental Sciences, Umuagwo will take off by October when other universities would be resuming for a new academic session.

In the same vein, the Council has approved the immediate relocation of Faculty of Engineering Imo State University Owerri to its permanent site at Okigwe, stressing that Government has put all processes and facilities on ground to ensure the immediate take–off of the faculty.

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Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital



Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM  Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital

The Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser to Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku has visited Mr. Ogechi Iwu, a journalist with Osiza FM.

The media man is hospitalized at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owerri over complications from diabetes that led to his right leg being amputated.

Mr. Nwachuku said the visit was to show solidarity on behalf of Governor Uzodimma to his professional colleague, assuring him of their prayers, particularly that of his principal, and the prayers of Mr. Iwu’s numerous friends and well wishers who are touched by his plight.

“I am here on behalf of my principal to associate with him in this time of health challenge and to encourage him not to see the sickness as a death sentence.”

Oge Iwu at fmc

L-R: Chief Akaraonye, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku with Ogechi Iwu during the visit

Mr. Nwachuku urged Mr. Iwu to continue in the high spirit he saw him and trust God for his total recovery “because healing is a thing of mind and when a sick person is in high spirit the patient gets recovered quickly.”

The spokesman of the Governor promised to bring the plight of the journalist to the attention of his principal, and assured that the Governor will, in his usual manner of one with milk of human sympathy, show concern over Iwu’s plight.

Earlier, Mr. Iwu thanked the CPS/Media Adviser, the State Chairman of NUJ, Imo State, Chief Christopher Akaraonye and other journalists who were on the entourage, for coming to identify with him on his sick bed, and assured that God in his infinite mercy will quicken his recovery.

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Bishop Ugorji heads IMSU Governing Council



Bishop Ugorji heads IMSU Governing Council

Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma has inaugurated a new Governing Council, for the Imo State University, IMSU, Owerri.

At the inauguration ceremony on Monday, August 31, the governor named Most Rev. Lucius Ugorji as the Chairman of the Governing Council and Pro-Chancellor of the University.

Other members of the Council include: Chief Leo Stan Ekeh, Chief Tony Ezenna, Prof. (Ven.) Chinedu Nebo, Sir. Louis Ezeigwe, Chief Engr. Ernest Nwapa, Dr. (Mrs.) Uwandu Uzoma, Ugoeze Victoria Adaku Ekezie, Prof. Adaobi Obasi (Vice Chancellor) and others.

Speaking at the inauguration, Governor Uzodimma said the choice of the members is to infuse fresh air into the university because “It is in dire need to bounce back to reckoning.”
He added that the choice of the members was because they have carved a niche for themselves in their chosen fields of endeavour and that they have earned solid reputation as men and women of substance in their individual trade, indices that qualified them for the appointment.

He challenged the members to bring their reputation to bear on the University, bearing in mind the task for good quality scholarship in Imo State University as well as service to humanity.

The Governor urged the members to deploy their individual accomplishments, excellence, expertise, passion for service as effectively as necessary to actualize the dream of his administration of having a highly reputable University comparable to the best Universities in the World.

He also requested the Council to “restore in words and deeds the motto of Imo State University, which is Excellence in Service”.

“Imo State University currently is a classical example of a failed University,” Governor Uzodimma said but strongly believed that “with a star studded Governing Council such as the one inaugurated there is no doubt that Imo is on the track to realize the dreams of her founding fathers.”

He further enjoined the Council members to quickly hit the ground running and come up with policies and programmes that will reassure Imo people that the University that made them proud 20 years back is on track as he assured them of Government partnership in this regard.

In an acceptance speech, on behalf of the Council, the Chairman, Most Rev. Ugorji who is the Catholic Bishop of Umuahia thanked the Governor for the absolute confidence reposed in them by giving them the assignment and acknowledged that though the task is daunting he has a strong belief that with the calibre of members of the Council and support of the management, staff and students the University will be returned to a centre of excellence which was the dream of the founding fathers.

He said that Imo State University deserves the best and that he and his members as inaugurated will work acidulously to ensure that the target of the governor in making Imo State University one of the best universities in Africa is realised.

He congratulated fellow members and promised that God’s willing, they will not fail the government and people of Imo State.

Present at the inauguration were the Deputy Governor, Prof. Placid Njoku, the Speaker Imo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Chiji Collins, the Secretary to the State Government, Chief Cosmas Iwu, and other members of the expanded State Executive Council.

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