Posted by News Express | 6 December 2019 | 737 times
Confidence is a feeling of trust in someone or something. It connotes freedom from doubt. It is one of the most important foundations upon which legitimacy and sustainability of political systems are built. Public confidence is essential for social cohesion and well-being as it affects government’s ability to govern, and enables actions without resorting to coercion.
It is an efficient means of lowering transaction costs in any social, economic and political relationship. A high level of confidence or trust in governance defines the efficiency and effectiveness of government activities and programmes.
Given the operations and activities of the Rescue Mission of the immediate past government, it may be appropriate to conclude that former Imo Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, dismantled bureaucracy, due process and protocol as if they were inimical to development. He probably condemned them as clogs in the wheel of progress.
Not minding the consequences, the former governor jettisoned these enablers of good governance in the established structures of government. The Rescue Mission governor rather became too powerful to the detriment of the seemingly weakened and desecrated institutions of government, as he loomed larger than the state and her people.
This strange and seemingly self-styled approach to governance eroded the goodwill that ought to have driven and sustained public confidence. Imo became a scary destination to investors, development partners and corporate entities. The state was isolated by development partners given the atmosphere of uncertainty and illegality that beclouded and thrived. Public confidence and “trust”, which is supposed to drive partnerships in governance, were completely eroded in the system.
However, the incumbent governor, Hon Emeka Ihedioha, who had promised to build stronger institutions of government, immediately assumed steps to change the unpalatable narrative, thereby restoring sanity and public confidence in governance.
A review of Ihedioha’s coordinated activities since he took over the mantle of leadership in Imo State shows that the former deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, stepped into the arena to reposition Imo on the path of progress and prosperity through an institutionalised and organised approach to governance.
Little wonder he assembled a team of experienced, qualified and resourceful persons from different fields. Guided by the roadmap prepared by the Transition Committee, the Governor recreated and infused life into the decimated institutions of government. The ministries were revived and strengthened to discharge their respective and constitutional functions.
Other strategic steps taken by the governor include the establishment of Due Process Unit and Bureau for Public Procurement. These two critical departments have restored sanity and entrenched prudence, with a view to eliminating corruption in the process of awarding government contracts. This has restored transparency in public procurement which, hitherto, was a source of corruption in the system.
In recent a media parley, Ihedioha explained why public confidence remains core to his Rebuild Imo Agenda.
He said: “People of Imo State lost confidence in government due to several irregularities, lack of probity, transparency and accountability in the implementation of critical infrastructural projects in Imo by successive administrations. But, we can assure you that will be a thing of the past.
“When I came in, the style of governance deviated from every norm, and Imo was the worst-run state of the federation. There was institutional and infrastructural disorder and decay. No state had the number of garnishee orders like Imo; land cases against Imo were numerous. The state was sufficiently distracted that we had to spend money hiring lawyers.”
The governor further proved the seriousness attached to his Rebuild Imo Agenda by implementing the Treasury Single Account (TSA) in the state. This converted 250 bank accounts allegedly floated by the immediate past administration to one. The Executive Order 005 automatically blocked the leakages and enhanced the realisation of over N800 million internally-generated revenue (IGR) in October as against N258 million the governor inherited in his first month. The Nze Onwunali-led Imo Internal Revenue Service championing the Rebuild Imo Agenda initiatives in revenue drive is still introducing far-reaching measures aimed at restoring transparency in revenue generation.
There is no gainsaying that Imo people have begun to reap the dividends of the institutionalised governance hallmarking Ihedioha's administration. Just recently, the government awarded 25 roads projects that will cost the state over N40billion. The roads which cut across the three zones of Orlu, Owerri and Okigwe, including Ahiara-Okpala junction, Nkume-Umuowa-Orlu, Mgbidi-Oguta, Naze-Nekede-Ihiagwa-Obinze, Concord Hotel-Jacob Zuma, Imo State University Teaching Hospital, Orlu; Imo State University –Bishop Court, Aba Branch-Ahiara Junction, Okigwe Roundabout–St Mary’s Okigwe–Asumpta–Umuguma junction and Douglas–Naze junction.
In furtherance of his commitment to a remodelled Imo, the governor also recently regularised the payment of salaries and pensions, which he said gulps about N3.4 billion monthly. This followed a transparent verification exercise aimed at ascertaining the exact sum involved monthly in the payment of pensions.
Prior to the commencement of the payment, the Governor hinted that his administration “inherited six years of pension arrears and discovered inexplicable discrepancies in the total number of pensioners in both the state and the 27 Local Government Areas.
“We received complains of various forms of irregularities in the scheme from various pension beneficiaries and stakeholders. When we made an attempt to resolve the contending issues, we were confronted with conflicting information from various offices in charge of pension administration.
“The main objective of this action was to ascertain the actual number of pensioners in Imo State and to end the corruption and perennial circle of verifications that have plagued the processes over the years.”
To further harmonise, institutionalise and ensure regular payment of pensions, Gov Ihedioha recently created an Imo State Pension Commission and appointed Mr Chime Aliliele, a financial expert, as the executive chairman.
With strong and reinvigorated government institutions, Ihedioha is no doubt repositioning Imo for development via effective partnerships and collaborations. Having realised that over-dependence on federal allocation vis-a-vis dwindling resources would pose serious challenge to his administration, the governor is fulfilling his campaign promise of running a transparent and institutionalised government by restoring public confidence in governance, which in turn, returns Imo as “haven” for investors and development partners.
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