New Imo Gov, Hope Uzodinma, begins probe of former governors

Hope Uzodinma
Hope Uzodinma

The new governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma, on Wednesday initiated the process of the probe of contracts awarded from 2010 till date in the state.

He also sought the comprehensive financial status of the state within the same period.

Former governors Ikedi Ohakim, Rochas Okorocha and Emeka Ihedioha were in charge of the state during the period.

The governor gave the order in his inaugural speech, after he was sworn in.

He said his administration was anchored on rehabilitation, reconstruction and recovery.

According to him, he will revive the state and make it work again.

He said the judiciary demonstrated courage by declaring him the duly elected governor of the state.

He said his victory at the Supreme Court would not have been possible without the support of the leadership of the All Progressives Congress.

The governor said, “My government shall be anchored on reconstruction, rehabilitation and recovery. Every Imo person shall have a say in my government.

“My doors are wide open. I forgive those who conspired to rob me of my hard-earned mandate. Let us work hard to make Imo the pride of Nigeria.

“I hereby direct the accountant general of the state to within four days forward to me the comprehensive financial status of the state from May 2010 till date.

“I also direct the permanent secretaries of all the ministries to within the same period toward the status of the contracts awarded within the time frame. Payment of all ongoing contracts is hereby stopped.”

Earlier, the Independent National Electoral Commission on Wednesday gave the Certificate of Return to Uzodinma.

He said the apex court corrected the ‘wrongs’ of the lower court and Court of Appeal and used its eagle eye of the law to give him justice.

“The first court did not do the thing we expected, the second court followed suit. But the Supreme Court used the eagle eye of the law and gave us justice,” Uzodinma said after receiving his Certificate of Return from INEC National Commissioner and Chairperson (Legal Services), May Agbamuche-Mbu, in Abuja on Wednesday.

Imo bank accounts frozen

Meanwhile, Uzodinma gave an order to all financial institutions where the state funds were domiciled not to honour any draft until further notice.

The order came late on Tuesday hours after the Supreme Court declared the APC candidate the duly elected governor of the state.

A letter was addressed to the regional directors and managers of all the financial institutions in Imo State, and was signed by Cosmos Iwu, Director General of Senator Hope Uzodinma Campaign Organisation.

The three-paragraph letter which was sighted by one of our correspondents on Wednesday read in part, “Following the Supreme Court judgment of 14th January, 2020, I am directed by His Excellency, Senator Hope Uzodinma, to take this as your authority to place a post no debit order on all accounts of the Imo State Government maintained in your various institutions.

“You are by this letter directed to comply and await further instructions from the Office of His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Imo State.”

APC govs hail Uzodinma

However, governors of the APC on Wednesday congratulated Uzodinma.

The chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum and Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, in a statement commended Uzodinma for his abiding faith in the judiciary.

The statement read, “We rejoice with you and the people of Imo State, and all lovers of democracy and justice in Nigeria in this rightly deserved victory that restored your stolen mandate.

“We in particular wish to commend your doggedness, resilience, commitment to the rule of law and abiding faith in the judiciary that culminated into this ultimate victory. It is victory at last for us all.”

Uzodinma followed due process –Gbajabiamila

Also, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has congratulated Uzodinma.

Gbajabiamila via his verified personal Twitter handle, @femigbaja, on Wednesday, said the candidate of the APC followed due democratic process to gain the governorship seat.

The Speaker also congratulated the ruling APC, urging its members to remain calm.

He tweeted, “Congratulations to Senator Hope Uzodinma on his victory at the Supreme Court, which declared him winner of the March 9, 2019, Imo State governorship election. Your steadfastness in seeking justice by following the due democratic process all the way to the Supreme Court has paid off.

“Let me also congratulate our party faithful and urge them to remain steadfast in flying high the @OfficialAPCNg flag.”

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ZBM congratulates Uzodinma

Zikist-Buharist Movement on Wednesday congratulated Uzodimma for his victory.

The Secretary of ZBM, Godwin Onwusi, said Uzodimma’s victory was “God ordained.”

The group in a statement said, “We of the ZBM commend His Excellency, Hope Uzodinma, and his team for the uncommon diligence in not only assembling the 388 excluded result sheets, but the meticulous manner they were presented at the Supreme Court.

“The team did not rely on non-existing server, but presented genuine result sheets, which was collaborated officially.”

He said the recovery of Imo by the APC had returned the South-East to mainstream politics in Nigeria and kept the hope of Ndigbo alive.

Ihedioha will emerge stronger, says Atiku

But the 2019 presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, on Wednesday urged Imo State people not to despair over the nullification of the electoral victory of Ihedioha.

Atiku in a statement said Ihedioha would overcome his setback and emerge stronger.

The former Vice-President stated that since the “Supreme Court verdict is final, everybody must accept its judgment, no matter unexpected and unpalatable it may be.”

Atiku said, “Let me state unequivocally that I solidarise with Emeka Ihedioha, a man I know to be a great leader of men and resources. In the fullness of time, I am convinced that he will overcome this setback and emerge stronger.

“I also stand fully with the PDP. In good and bad times, we must continue to be the object of hope that the Nigerian people have for their escape from the prevailing despotism and despair that has gripped almost every aspect of our national life. We provided genuine democracy for this nation once before, and I believe it is our destiny to democratically restore what has been lost due to the encroachment of anti democratic agents.”

My removal against Imo people’s wish –Ihedioha

However, Ihedioha on Wednesday said he did not agree with the Supreme Court judgment which sacked him as the governor of Imo State.

Ihedioha, in a statement he personally signed, said the apex court sacked him in contravention of the will of the people of the state.

He said he fought against “principalities and powers” to remain as the governor of the state, but had submitted to the judgment which ousted him.

The former governor said that he had directed his aides to handover government properties in their possessions to the new administration, saying that he would not be a party to any pilfering of government property or funds.

He said, “I am reporting back to you our great Imo people on the fate of the mandate you freely gave to me as governor and Gerald Irona as deputy governor. This mandate has now been truncated and cut short by the Supreme Court, in contravention of the will of the people.

“We shall always cherish the tremendous goodwill and support you gave us as we grappled with setting up a new administration to rebuild a state that was devastated by bad governance.

“In the last seven months we sought to elevate merit, unity of purpose, honesty, transparency and an inclusive approach to governance, as the hallmarks of our administration. We sought to restore once again, the pride and dignity of Imo people. We worked very hard to re-engineer the Imo renaissance. But God knows why he has allowed this current state of affairs.

“No doubt, yesterday’s Supreme Court verdict, came to us as a rude shock and surprise considering the facts on the ground, legal precedence and clear verdict of Imo People on March 9, 2019, that returned me as governor with the highest valid votes of 273,404

“I do not agree with the judgment of the Supreme Court. I think it is unfair, unjust and does not reflect the voting that took place during the elections. It also didn’t take care of the sensibilities of the people of Imo State. But as true democrats, Gerald Irona and I have no option but to respect the outcome of that judgment.”

You have my support –Ihedioha’s wife

Meanwhile, the wife of the ousted governor, Ebere Ihedioha, on Wednesday assured her husband, Ihedioha, that he had her support.

The immediate past first lady of the state took to her official verified Facebook handle and stated that she was standing by her husband.

She described Ihedioha as her love, partner and friend .

She wrote “My Love, my Partner and my Friend. Nkem!

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