Deserved Commendations – By Collins Ughalaa

July 1, 2021
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In 1969, Toyota Motor Company Ltd, a giant automobile industry, faced strict public scrutiny following the recall problems it confronted. The media was awash with bad stories about the automobile giant. The President of Toyota Motor Company Limited, Eiji Toyoda, called a meeting of the staff of the Company. During the meeting he delivered a speech where he called on the employees to “take a valuable lesson from the recall problems.” He called on the employees to revisit Toyota’s basic philosophy on quality and think hard about how to derive valuable lessons from the recall problems. “The first is that we have adhered to the founding philosophy of Toyota to make cars available for everyone, and to this day put the customer first in all things. And the second is that we have worked day and night to deliver ever-higher quality and ever-lower prices in accordance with our motto, ‘Good Thinking, Good Products’”.

The Toyota motto of “Good Thinking, Good Product” was bigger than a slogan. It was a philosophy, a culture. It represented dedication, hard work and excellent results. Thus, in the 90s, the giant automobile company transformed the culture into a creative TV commercial popularly known as “Good thinking, Good product”. It was mirrored after a Japanese philosophy on creative or innovative solutions to problems. In the TV commercial, an expression was first of all made in Japanese: “Yo shinai, Yo kangai”. The Japanese expression was quickly translated in English Language, as “Good Thinking, Good Product”. While schooling in Lagos State at the time, the Toyota TV commercial was one advert we looked up to seeing on the television after school time. We memorized the words and emulated the gestures in the TV commercial. Whereas we are not running a free advert for the Toyota brand, we acknowledge the hard work, creativity and success the Toyota brand is.

Like the Toyota brand, Imo State has gone through ups and downs and missed a lot of beautiful life changing opportunities. But like the Totoya President, Eiji Toyoda, told his employees in June 1969, we have learnt lessons from our missed opportunities and challenges. Therefore, when you look at the positive things going on in Imo State, the creativity, ingenuity, hard work, planning, candor and attention to details Governor Hope Uzodimma brings to bear in the governance of Imo State, you would agree that the good things we have seen in the State in the last one year is nothing but “Good Thinking, Good Product”. The facts bear themselves out.

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The deep thinking we have seen in the governance of the State under Governor Uzodimma is demonstration of the fact that excellent thought process, cool headedness, meticulous attention to details are evident in the current leadership. This is exemplified in a number of ways. Few months ago when the Governor began the Owerri Junction Improvement Works and Urban Renewal Programme – a project aimed at remodelling the junctions in the State Capital and ending the perennial history of traffic gridlock in the State Capital – many people criticized him for it. They said he was looking for ways to siphon the treasury. Some said that the big roundabouts we were used to were better.

There were critics who said the Governor demolished the roundabouts because he was suffering from Rochas phobia. They said the roundabouts were demolished, one: to get at the former Governor, now Senator, Rochas Okoroacha. Two: they said some spiritualists told the Governor that Okorocha buried some concoctions, charms, and possibly human heads (whatever!) in the roundabouts – and that he derived a certain power from the roundabouts. They added that the demolition of the roundabouts was in furtherance of the mission to remove the said buried items and demystify Okorocha. Such thoughts! The spin doctors could just say anything that creeped into their heads without a second of thought. There was another group of people that claimed that the Owerri Junction Improvement Works caused unnecessary gridlock and that the Governor was rather exerting punishment on the hapless masses. Nevertheless, these distractions did not deter the Governor. He went about translating his plans to reality. Today, we have the best junctions or intersections in Owerri. Today, discipline is returning on the roads as motorists have imbibed a new road culture overnight. Today, those baseless criticisms have turned into deserved praises.

When one looks around Imo State, you cannot but appreciate the labour the Governor is putting in. He is ending the nightmare on the Owerri-Orlu Road. When this project started, tongues wagged. They said the company awarded the contract would not even show up at the site. They said the contract was just a smokescreen. But today, what is going on on the Owerri-Orlu Road is nothing but beautiful. If you have plied that road recently, you cannot but be thankful for what the Governor is doing on that road. If you recall that former Governor Rochas Okorocha could not fix this all-important road throughout the eight years he was Governor, your joy would know no bounds, that in less than two years in office, the Owerri-Orlu Road has become something fantastic.

The Owerri-Okigwe Road is receiving the Uzodimma touch. There were efforts to use the Amaraku portion of the road to smear the Governor’s efforts. But the story has changed. Amaraku is wearing a new look, as work is going on on the entire stretch of that road. The Uzodimma magic on infrastructural development is not tokenism. It is a well thought out and meticulously followed project across the State. The World Bank Road that was a nightmare for over eight years is wearing a beautiful look. Imo people no longer have to pray to God to intervene so that the Owerri-Portharcourt Road can be fixed. Rather, Imo people are thanking God that Governor Uzodimma has fixed that road. The Federal Secretariat Road linking the World Bank is another miracle. What of the Owerri-Aba Road? Even the Nekede/Ihiagwa Road that became an object of the smear campaign in 2020 is being fixed. The Relief Market Road, MCC Road, Chukwuma Nwaoha Road, Dick Tiger Road, amongst numerous others, are testimonies of the Uzodimma’s magic wand.

The Governor has also waved his magic wand in the area of security. We cannot afford to look the other way, pretending not to see what the Governor has done about the insecurity that ravaged the State. Imo State, known for its peace and tourism, was literally set on fire by criminal elements. What had started as attacks on police formations and police officers in the suburbs metamorphosed to a large-scale orgy of violence in the State. No thanks to the wanton attacks on the Custodial Center and the Police Command Headquarters on Monday, April 5, where over 1,800 inmates were released and unleashed against the society.

These dastardly attacks were followed by arson on the country home of the Governor on April 24. Subsequently, Owerri became a serious security concern. But the Governor rolled up his sleeves and set out to work. Today, we can beat our chest and declare that the Egyptians we saw yesterday we will see them no more. These sterling achievements, coupled with the Governor’s empowerment of 15,000 youths with N250,000 each are deserving of commendation.

We note with joy how the Governor is bringing governance to the door steps of the people. On May 18, the Governor began a series of meetings with critical stakeholders from the 27 LGAs, beginning with Orlu LGA. The LGAs meetings with the Governor have been rated as highly productive. It afforded the Governor the opportunity to discuss important issues affecting the State, including security challenges, and finding lasting solutions. On one ocassion the Governor met with traditional rulers, Chairmen of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the LGAs and heads of security agencies in the State, at the Government House. Expectedly the issue of insecurity and the need to tame the tide was thematic. “Intelligence available indicates that these hoodlums are not just from neighboring states, but some are known to you and the onus lies within the Traditional Rulers to ensure that unfamiliar and familiar faces and activities are reported for appropriate actions”, said the Governor, adding that complacency would no longer be tolerated going forward.

We commend the Governor for living up to his responsibility. The constitutional provision that the primary responsibility of government is the security and welfare of the people is true in the Uzodimma case. Imo is calm. Sanity has returned. People are going about their businesses unmolested. People now sleep with two eyes closed. Night life, which Owerri is known for, has returned. And Imo people are very happy with the Governor. We urge the Governor to sustain the momentum and ensure that the peace and security of the State is not tampered with goingforward, and all criminals parading under any guise to upset peace and order in the State are resisted.

Indeed, God “makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire” – Psalm 46:9.

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