Uzodimma inaugurates Imo Elders Council

December 22, 2021
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Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State flanked by key members of the Imo Elders Council after their inauguration on Tuesday

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Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodimma on Tuesday inaugurated the State’s Elders Council, with a charge on them to play both advisory role and interface with government on how to better the lots of the people.

Those inaugurated comprised former Governors of the State, former Deputy Governors, traditional rulers, political party leaders, captains of industries, the Academics, religious leaders, businessmen and women and those from all shades of social strata.

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Performing the ceremony at the old Executive Chambers Government House Owerri, the Governor said that the Elders Council is purely an adversary body and that they are to regularly interface with the government on how best to make the life of Imo people better.

Governor Uzodimma said: “Imo State Elders Council is, therefore, like a conscience of the state through which both the Government and the citizens are brought together to collectively appreciate the challenges and vista of the state within a time frame. In other words, it serves as a two-way communication channel, bringing the needs and feelings of the people to Government, while also relaying the government’s response to the people.”

He explained that based on their age, social standing, accomplishments and nobility, they are expected to be men and women of impeccable character who must stand up for the truth always.

He noted that government believes their contributions will always help government actions, adding ‘’these are the people that own the land.’’

His words: “Whereas some people or leaders believe that they have a monopoly of knowledge, I am a firm believer in the true practice of democracy as the Government of the people, by the people and for the people. This presupposes consultation and participation by all the component parts of the society. I acknowledge the fact that it is the duty of government to provide infrastructure. In addition, the protection of lives and property is also the primary duty of government. But, being accountable to the people as a government is a choice that a democratic-minded leader makes for the sake of posterity.

“This precisely is why I have set up the Imo Elders Council. Given the ugly experience of the past, when one man and his family cornered the patrimony of the state, I am more than determined to change the narrative. The other day, they were mocking me that I have only one land, which to their warped minds, translates to naivety because I didn’t acquire acres of land to establish industries. But, to the glory of God, I stand before you to reiterate the fact that I am not in government to corruptly enrich myself and my family.

“Indeed, my dogged fight against rancid corruption in the state is a direct invitation for people to put their searchlight on me. Members of the Elders Council and the entire people of the state are invited to scrutinize what I am doing. They should feel free to raise the alarm if I or anyone in my government derails. If we had been doing that in the past, we would not have experienced the mindless looting that took place in the recent past.

“I am happy, however, to inform you that in tandem with our shared prosperity agenda encapsulated in Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Recovery, we have embarked upon the total recovery of all stolen assets of the state. We have recovered the shell Camp land. We have recovered the K. O Mbadiwe University. We are also going ahead with our resolve to ensure that those who tampered with the state assets are held to account.

“This means that the government is not relenting in its efforts to enthrone order in governance. That also means that the Elders Council has a lot of responsibilities and contributions to make in ensuring that Government does what it should, which is to deliver its mandate to the people.:

Governor Uzodimma reminded them that it was because such body never existed in the past that “previous administrations balkanised and shared the collective wealth of the State and the State slipped into comatose.”

He said the Elders Council is more or less the conscience of the people through which both the government and the governed will interface and move the State forward.

The Governor said why it is the duty of Government to protect lives and property of her citizens, the Elders Council will be the mirror through which the performance of the State could be assessed.

He therefore requested them to always stand in the gap to scrutinize what government is doing and what people working with him are doing and speak-up as whistle blowers against mindless looting of the State, “because the Council has a lot of responsibilities to ensure that government delivers on its mandate.”

Governor Uzodimma passionately requested the elders to endeavour to beam their searchlight on the rural areas as a way of following up on what government is doing especially as it concerns youth activities.

He said they must put their eyes and ears on ground at the Local Council level to know what goes on there and also take part in encouraging our youths to compliment the huge investments of government on them.

The Governor promised to embark on more developmental projects in the rural areas by way of construction of more roads, schools, health centres and others.

To give teeth to rural development he told the elders that in few days time he will reconstitute and inaugurate the Development Centres where Town Union Presidents will be automatic members.

He further assured them of his readiness to support and encourage the body to succeed.

“I thank all of you for graciously accepting to serve as members of Imo Elders Council. It is a sacrifice for our state. I will do all I can to ensure you do not regret your decision to serve our dear State in this reverend capacity. It is now my pleasure to formally inaugurate the

Imo State Elders Council to the glory of God.”

In his acceptance speech as Chairman of the Elders Council, HRH Eze Cletus Illomuanya thanked the Governor for finding them worthy of being members, describing their appointment as “a mark of absolute confidence.”

He likened their appointment as “a call to service of the State” and assured on behalf of his fellow elders not to fail the Governor, the government and the State.

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