Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo on Saturday unveiled Chinyere Ekomaru as his running mate for the November 11, 2023 governorship election in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Uzodimma did this at a stakeholders’ meeting of the All Progressives Congress.
At the meeting in Owerri, the state capital, the Governor also presented his scorecard under his 3R Government of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Recovery from January 15, 2020 to date.
In a speech, he said his administration had laid the foundation for growth in all sectors of the economy and would consolidate on them to deliver an industrial, prosperous and safe Imo State in the coming years.
He said: “We have so much to campaign with.
“Our works speak for us.
“So, today, we are here to reinforce our genuine claim to re-election.
“I have picked a female deputy governorship candidate in the person of Chinyere Ihuoma Ekomaru.
“I believe she will add value to this ticket.
“I expect Imo women to appreciate this gesture as my genuine appreciation of their innate strength and capacity to contribute to the growth of our state.”
Uzodimma said that the process of choosing Ekomaru was “all inclusive” and appealed “to all to accept and make peace with the decision”.
He commended his outgoing Deputy, Prof. Placid Njoku, saying: “I enjoyed a good working relationship with him.
“Let me use this opportunity to make it clear that I don’t have any problem with my deputy.
“He is a very loyal and committed partner in progress.
“My confidence in him has not waned in any way.
“I want to assure you that he is still very relevant in our political family and his political career is not by any means over.
“The truth is that as representatives of the people, we need to be sensitive to the ecumenical nature of the environment.”
The Governor said he could rightly and proudly claim that he kept the social contract he entered into with the people when he assumed office in January 2020.
According to Uzodimma, the security situation in the state has improved as the wanton and unprovoked killing of citizens by mercenary criminals had abated, while the indiscriminate attacks on security agencies have been checked.
He further said that the state had regained its pride of place as the hub of hospitality.
The Governor cited the hosting of high profile events and conferences, including those by the Nigerian Army and Nigeria Guild of Editors, in the state to buttress his point.
He also said his administration had put in place a fully automated system in the civil service, eliminated corruption and abolished the menace of ghost workers.
Other achievements in the state civil service, he said, included the renovation of the entire secretariat blocks, provision of relevant equipment, regular payment of salaries, payment of 13th month salary and other welfare packages.
Uzodimma added: “Our roads, which were mere death traps when I assumed office, are now motorable.
“At the last count, this administration has done more than 100 good quality roads across the entire state.
“These include the dual carriageway of Owerri-Okigwe Road and Owerri-Orlu Road, while the construction of 5km of roads in the 27 LGAs is at various stages of completion.
“The reconstruction of Owerri-Mbaise-Obowo-Umuahia and Orlu-Mgbidi-Akokwa-Uga Road is also ongoing.
“In education, we recovered the KO Mbadiwe University.
“We also established the Imo State University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at Umuagwo to ensure that our children are availed more admission spaces, while creating employment and boosting the economy of the state.
“We are also effectively funding a polytechnic and a college of education and our primary and secondary schools are enjoying equal attention.”
Uzodimma also said that similar efforts were being replicated in the health sector, where his administration recovered the Imo State University Teaching Hospital, Orlu from decay.
He said that his government ensured that medical students graduated from the institution after eight years of stagnation.
He said: “IMSUTH remains a truly tertiary health institution with the requisite experts and consultants.
“Through our collaboration with the Federal Government, the Federal Medical Center, Owerri has been converted to Federal University of Technology Teaching Hospital, Owerri.”
Uzodimma further disclosed that three new well-equipped general hospitals would be commissioned soon.
The Governor said he had ensured the recovery of Adapalm Nigeria Limited and was in the process of doing the same at Imo Shoe Industry, Rubber Company, Avutu Poultry and Nsu Ceramic Industry among others.
He added: “Through a friendly tax regime and creation of new business opportunities, we have also created the enabling environment for investors to establish industries and create employment opportunities in the state.”
The Governor also said that the ongoing dredging of the Oguta-Orashi-Degema river to the Atlantic Ocean would help to rejuvenate the state economy and that of the entire South East, when completed.
Earlier, the state APC Chairman, Dr. Macdonald Ebere, acknowledged the good work done by Uzodimma’s administration and expressed the need for continuity.
Ebere said: “We are not unmindful that the increasing strength, popularity and visibility of our party in the state as reflected in the just-concluded election, the litany of defections from major political parties are attributable to your pacesetting infrastructure development and economic re-engineering of our state.”
He said that the party was firmly positioned to take advantage of the achievements of the “shared prosperity administration” to secure once again the mandate of the people on November 11.
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“We are very optimistic that our people will once again speak through their votes, to revalidate their implicit vote of confidence in our party and the shared prosperity administration of our governor,” he said.
In an acceptance speech, Ekomaru, accompanied by her husband, thanked the Governor for choosing her as his running mate and promised not to betray the confidence he reposed in her.
She said she had been in politics for more than 40 years and assured Uzodimma that her choice meant winning supporters from the Anglican Communion, academia and social groups, where she belongs.
She further expressed the confidence that the party would win more votes from the judiciary, where her husband belonged, health sector, where her child belonged, and numerous women social groups, where she also belonged.