Your Excellency, I congratulate you and welcome you to the Government House Owerri.
I so proudly commend your efforts to stretch a hand of fellowship to your opponents at the polls and bring them into your government especially those who have capacity and are competent and who you perceive share your vision and are willing to work with you altruistically.
A lot of us who did not work for you, but did not work against you were deceived by APC propaganda to the effect that there was no way the FG would allow Imo, the only south eastern state in their kitty, their only foothold in the south east to slip away from them. There were so many stories and rumours emanating from the highest echelons of the federal government that got most people confused.
Moving on Sir, It is wise to make appointments early enough, if only to stop the guessing games and die-hard lobbying that will trail you everywhere you go. You will have to maintain a healthy balance between professionalism and political considerations; this would allow you to reward loyalists, political contractors, hangers on and party people, while making sure that professionals, competent ones, are in bed, so that they can handle the nitty-gritty of governance.
Of course, there is a civil service, but as you well know, almost anybody who has been in government will tell you that there are perils in relying on civil servants because they lack commitment to temporary custodians of power, while minding more their own enduring self-interests. At any rate, don’t forget that the decline of institutions in Imo has gone so far that nobody can vouchsafe for the corporate integrity, competence and knowledge skills of the civil service.
This means in my opinion that there is dire need to quickly restructure the civil service with an objective to weed out the dead woods.
At the pace the world is moving, you are the last hope of the Imo man to reverse the retrogression of the state and leave a lasting legacy through a leadership whose profile rings bells. To be an effective helmsman, you will have to go back to the circumstances of your election. You will have to provide frank answers to such questions as,
(1) In electing me, were the voters protesting the incompetence and sadism of my predecessor?
(2) Were they affirmatively making me their choice?
The answer to question one is a resounding YES.
The answer to question two is YES and NO.
To get a straight answer to question two, you must pose to yourself what historians call, a counterfactual question. This is the more reason i pray for you to be exceptional despite the fact that ndi imo are among the most difficult to govern in Nigeria.
Sir, you need be very careful in dealing with the predictable horde of praise singers and political contractors that will as a matter of right and claim, strut around your corridors of power. It should be understood, and i hope and pray, that your agenda will derive from the peculiar circumstances of the majority of people in the state and from other burning issues that predominate in policy discourse.
For the fact that i know you personally, and i’m convinced beyond doubt of your strength of character and your determination to stand out, i’m almost certain that I need not state this, but for the record, let me remind you.
Your first 100 days will count a lot because they will send out decibels concerning your effectiveness, use those days to show direction, to flash your forte, lay foundations, foreshadow strength of character and put governance on the kind of efficient keel that would ricochet throughout your tenure. Please do not forget that all the time you really have for governance are two and a half years, considering that between then and the end of your term will be taken up with the politics of succession, jostling for your post, and shadow activities related to the 2023 elections. In other words, you had better hit the ground running as soon as you are sworn in.
Having set clear policy imprints, you will need tremendous follow-up energy, much of it initiated and implemented by you, rather than through proxies or the usual tribe and train of praise. Bear in mind, in this connection, that the devil is often in the implementation or non-implementation details. Our state is littered with the carcasses of policies that were grandly articulated and imaginatively crafted, which never came to light because they never prospered at the implementation stage. Hence, you will need follow-up capacity, which is sustained through the stages of implementation, including the daring to fire those who either obstruct or are sleepy about implementation processes.
It is also of prime importance, too, for you to be a role model leading by example rather than by precept only. As you well know, your followers will discern your body language and inclinations, as well as integrity, sooner than you think. In addition, refuse the temptation, if things go wrong, to blame your opponents or your predecessor in office. Citizens quickly see through and resent leaders that pile up alibis for non-performance. Ensure that you have one person in your cabinet, at least, who can look you in the face no matter what and tell you the truth about your policies, action, inaction and mistakes.
I join my fellow Ndi imo to wish you a successful, effective and unifying tenure.
The almighty God, the Alpha and the Omega, the supreme architect of the universe that we worship and serve will protect, lead, guide, bless and strengthen you.
Duruebube Ihiagwa – Chimazuru “Oblong” Nnadi