What the "F" Is Wrong with Imo State, Nigeria?
By: Chibuike Anyoha MD
With the exception of Samuel Onunaka Mbakwe (1979-1983) and perhaps a few others, most of the governors have had lousy leadership abilities.
When Governor Sam Mbakwe was at the top echelon of Imo State, I was a shy, soccer-loving teenager minding my own business. However, I absorbed how the adults around me talked about him. Sam, they said, noticeably cried for the state he loved so much. Although he is gone, my impression of him as a governor who loved the people of Imo State has not wavered. If Sam was alive today, he would have denounced the quality of leaders we have in Imo State now.
Every day I pray and ask, "When is Imo State going to be blessed with an effective governor like Sam Mbakwe?" After Mbakwe, we've had a mixture of mediocrities, megalomaniacs, and tyrants. I'm not sure how true the rumors are, but people say when these governors come into power, they loot, plunder, and liquidate the state's treasury together with the money the federal government allocates to the state.
Before you begin shielding Imo State's governors (past and present) or start slashing their accusers with the kind of machetes palm wine tappers use when they swing on palm fronds, consider the road conditions all over Imo State. Look at the rusty metal benches, bathrooms without water and toilet paper, and the sham security metal detectors at the state's airport. Think about the garbage-ridden market squares in almost every community, from big cities to small towns. Walk into any village clinic and you will see patients lying under leaky roofs on broken cement floors until death come to give them peace. Look at the havoc mosquitoes wreak on children, men, and women from Orlu through Owerri to Mbano, Osina, and Arondizuogu. Talk to teenagers in secondary schools and universities about out-of-control school closures, and look at malnourished children with jaundiced eyes hawking bananas and groundnuts alongside snail-pace traffic in the Owerri metropolis. And let us not even dare talk about safety and insecurity, which have plagued the state for decades.
What hurts so bad is that the Imo State executives travel to other states and countries and see how leaders serve their people, how electricity is no more a privilege but a necessity in today's world, and how vaccinating and educating every child is a necessity as well. Still, they do not emulate what they see when they come back to Imo State.
When I put on my imagination hat, I come to one conclusion: Today's leadership in Imo State is not preparing its citizenry for the "rainy days" ahead for one reason. I suspect they have a secret plan to escape overseas with their children, immediate families, and concubines, but not extended families, which is what they did during the Nigeria-Biafra civil war, leaving others to repel and fend off Gowon's bomber planes and jet fighters.
With all that is going wrong in Imo State, sometimes I am so ashamed when I tell people about my homeland. I want that to change, and I want to be proud of my state. When enlightenment and progress dominate other states in the country, the Imo State government remains embroiled in a greedy and selfish quagmire.
To my brothers and sisters in leadership positions: Some of you have vowed to be defiant to the end. But, when people remember you, they will think of you with hate and disdain. They will think of how you squandered the opportunity to serve your people, and they will spit on the mansions you built with stolen money. They will demolish your statues that remind them of how corrupt you were.
Get it together, governors and cabinet members of Imo State, Nigeria. All eyes are on you. Go to work for our people. Allow a society to thrive where a majority of the people elect those who serve. Ensure a check and balance system for those who serve our beloved state. If you want our children and grandchildren to remember you favorably, as they do with Samuel Onunaka Mbakwe, then do the right thing; hold yourself and those who serve the state accountable for their actions.
Own a copy of my childhood memoir on the Nigeria-Biafra civil war:https://www.amazon.com/
Page Updated Last on: May 05, 2021