Friday, December 1, 2023


The Hope Uzodimma I never knew

The Hope Uzodimma I never knew
September 27
19:26 2023


Senator Hope Uzodimma is truly an enigma. The more you think you know him, the less likely you are to understand him. I have known him for over 20 years, yet in the last 44 months he has shown a different side of him I never knew. He is never short of surprises, and I will tell you why.

When Senator Hope Uzodimma resumed as the Executive Governor of Imo State, he took his time to understand the State. Where others saw only turmoil and deprivation, he recognised the boundless ingenuity and tenacity of Imo people and applied an extraordinary pragmatic and visionary leadership to rebuild the State. His three-pronged agenda of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Recovery of Imo State summaries his mission with credible surprises.

In healthcare, for example, Uzodimma has tremendously granted access to quality and affordable healthcare to many Imolites. Through a strategic partnership with the World Health Organization, he created and implemented the Imo Health Insurance Programme. This has enabled over 66,000 Imo residents to obtain healthcare protection. Concurrently, strategic investments are augmenting primary healthcare infrastructure across the state to further expand and enhance access and availability of vital services for rural and urban communities.

Uzodimma is an astute and foresighted entrepreneur. His bold step to dredge and link Oguta lake to the Atlantic Ocean, and therefrom create a vibrant Orashi economy, which will house a large Oil and Gas Export Processing Zone, is both extraordinary and historic. He has also demonstrated his entrepreneurial prowess through the revival of hitherto moribund industries in Imo State such as Adapalm and Acharaugbo Farms. He rescued Imo Standard Shoes Company and completely paid off the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) loan that was a big burden on the company. Through his leadership, Imo State is included in the Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) in Africa, a programme initiated by the African Development Bank. He recently approved the sum of N5b as soft loans targeted at the farmers in Imo State.


If not for his doggedness and courage in curtailing and containing the insecurity challenges that confronted the State in the last couple of years, some of the achievements of his administration would have been limited. But Uzodimma carefully saved Imo from this onslaught, fought the detractors of the State gallantly, and wisely thwarted their nefarious plans. Imo is back to business and business is back to Imo. The Imo hospitality sector is thriving. The night economy is booming, and investment interests are growing. In August this year alone, the Imo State government hosted several interested investors from South Korea and Thailand, just to mention but a few.

His ambitious digital programme to train 300,000 Imo youths on digital skills and link up to relevant jobs (i.e., the SkillupImo project) is unmatched in Africa. It is also an innovative way of creating jobs for young people and indirectly overcoming the challenges of insecurity, as unemployment and poverty are usually strong ingredients for fermenting insecurity. Today, over 5,000 young Ndi Imo have already completed the training and are either leveraging their heightened technical acumen to establish promising digital ventures or securing employment with leading tech firms like Zinox, Konga, and WakaNow among other digitally driven businesses within and beyond Imo. Currently, 20,000 young people have commenced the second phase of the programme.

Governor Uzodimma has implemented prudent investments in strategic new constructions and diligent rehabilitation of dilapidated routes to cultivate state-wide road connectivity. His administration has constructed 64 roads spanning over 150 kilometres while the rehabilitation of another 43 routes accounting for over 350 kilometres is ongoing in both urban and rural areas. The revived road networks now constitute indispensable conduits energising the flow of goods and services, reducing transport costs, and linking rural areas to vital market centres which are key for improved sustainable socioeconomic integration.


To put things in a coherent intellectual framework, he meticulously crafted and developed the Imo State Sustainable Industrialisation Policy in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) – arguably the first of its kind in the history of Imo State. The policy identifies existing and emerging subsectors intentionally selected for their potential as economic engines to propel job creation and engender broad-based prosperity. Enshrined in the policy’s vision – “Making Industries Work for All Imo People” – is an unswerving commitment to inclusive participation, with mechanisms to guarantee equitable access to markets for communities across the state. The idea is to enable Imo State harness her potentials for localised sustainable industrialisation an inclusive manner.

In his pragmatic nature, he championed the innovative One Kindred One Business Initiative (OKOBI), which epitomises his approach to grassroot development, rooted in Umunnanomics philosophy. This imaginative programme fosters sustainable entrepreneurship by exposing extended family units or “kindreds” to the economic benefits of establishing successfully run group-owned enterprises which are aligned with their indigenous interests, passions, capabilities, and resources. And many communities have successfully embraced the idea. For example, the Amaimo community recently registered their Akuyoma cooperative focused on financing local entrepreneurs, and the Emii community registered their New Emii cooperative that is into agriculture.

In addition to transforming lives within local communities, OKOBI has other wider socioeconomic benefits. First and foremost, it offers government a mechanism to formalise grassroot microenterprises, enabling them to access finance, technologies, and markets for expansion and possibly converting them into big businesses. Aggregated, these micro-ventures can energise broad-based growth and enlarge the state’s revenue base.

What do these achievements really say about the man, Uzodimma? It is obvious that when he came into office, expectations were very low and basic at best. Some people expected him to embrace patronage and transactional politics over enacting substantive investments to empower the people. But it is clear they underestimated him, as they have been disappointed.


Rather than succumb to cheap quick fixes, Governor Uzodimma embraced an audacious vision to emancipate Imo human capital by addressing the systemic roots of disempowerment. He spurned superficial handouts in favour of profound empowerment programmes. Unlike some politicians who would leverage transient appeasements to secure their next elections, Governor Uzodimma adopts a tenacious long view. He understands that transformative change requires pragmatic investments in healthcare, infrastructure, education, skills, and economic opportunities.

In 44 months, Uzodimma has redefined leadership in Imo beyond belief. He has awakened a bold vision that spurs on Imo’s rejuvenation by implementing policies designed to enrich lives across the state. His work of restoring hope in Imo has only just begun, but the fruits are already evident. To unleash broad-based growth and sustainable development, Imo needs continuity in the sort of visionary leadership Uzodimma offers.

Uzodimma has proved himself a transformative force with a very result-oriented and extensive socio-political network and capital. Notwithstanding, transforming entrenched systems takes time and continuity. To do this, Governor Uzodimma will soon launch the Imo State Sustainable Development Plan (2024-2034), which will herald his bold, inclusive, and broad vision for Imo State beyond his tenure. It is instructive to note that such a detailed and extensive plan has not been seen in Imo State.

With this, I am convinced that Imo’s diamond may be rough, but its brilliance cannot be denied with Governor Uzodimma’s progressive leadership. The path forward is clear. Imo State is ready, but the State needs someone like Uzodimma who is getting things done to the surprise and admiration of some people who never gave him a chance.


It is obvious that Governor Uzodimma is a passionate man on a divine mission. That he has been able to achieve a lot in such a short time, despite the difficulties and challenges reassures me that there is a lot more I can learn about this unusual performer.

MacDonald Ebere, an expert in practical political philosophy, writes from Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria.


Views expressed by contributors are strictly personal and not of TheCable.

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