NEW YEAR BROADCAST TO IMO PEOPLE BY GOVERNOR HOPE UZODIMMA ON JANUARY 1ST 2024.

My beloved Ndimo, another year is here, and to the glory of God, we are alive to witness it. It is with a grateful heart, therefore, that I make this new year broadcast to herald the year of our Lord, 2024.

First and foremost, I welcome all of us to the new year, and I congratulate everyone who made it to the year 2024. When we consider the fact that many who would have loved to be part of today’s new year celebration could not make it, then we have every reason to be grateful to God for keeping us alive to see this day. Indeed, it is neither by our might nor by our wisdom that we are alive today but by the special Grace of God. So we must begin the new year with profound gratitude to God for the gift of life that has seen us into this year of our Lord, 2024.

 

This is why I address you today with a heart full of gratitude to God for His countless grace upon our lives. So with much joy and gratitude to God, I congratulate us all for surviving 2023 in spite of the excruciating challenges that we faced.

 

I must admit that the year 2023 was a very challenging year in which many Nigerians battled for survival. As your governor, I shared these pains, and I did the much I could to help alleviate the challenges. But, as I said in my Christmas message, I am confident that the reforms, which are being implemented by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to restructure the economy are the right steps in the right direction. Besides, they are vital reforms that are essential for repositioning the economy for a more prosperous future. Like most reforms, the initial pains are inevitable. The good news is that there is light at the end of the tunnel. As they say, the darkest hour heralds a glorious dawn. So it is with the pains that came with these needful reforms. I am very confident that the promised glorious dawn is close enough. Thus, I appeal to the good people of Imo State to be patient because the year 2024 will surely herald that glorious dawn, and I am confident that the pains of 2023 will begin to wane in 2024.

 

For those of us who may be embittered and genuinely concerned about the hardships or failure to achieve their economic targets in 2023, I wish to remind them that the blessings of God are like rain, falling here today, falling there tomorrow. The most important thing is that we are alive, and with life, hope abounds. We must therefore conquer the fear of failure of the past year and move into the new year with confidence and hope that things will be better in the new year and the years ahead.

 

As a government, the year 2023 can be described as remarkable. To the glory of God, contrary to the doomsday prophets who predicted every manner of violence and bloodletting in the November 11th election, the election turned out to be one of the most peaceful in the history of Imo State. It was also one of the most credible and freest elections ever held in the state. Before the elections, I made it clear that I was not desperate for power since power comes from God.  Just like former President Goodluck Jonathan, I also emphasized that my ambition was not worth the blood of any Imo son or daughter.

 

Through the mercy of God, the election was not only peaceful, but you returned me to the office with a landslide victory that cut across the 27 local government areas in the state.

 

 

Let me once again thank all Imo people for that massive show of acceptance and support. Your massive votes spoke volumes: it was a vote of implicit confidence in my government and an unequivocal declaration that, for the first time in the history of Imo State, our people spoke with one voice.

 

This bold statement by the electorate has offered us a historic opportunity to run an even more inclusive government that will involve every Imo son or daughter. To signal this new dawn, I am glad to announce to you that I have set up a pan Imo committee to organize my second term inauguration, which is scheduled for January 15th, 2024. The committee is chaired by Senator Chris Anyanwu, while other members are drawn from all walks of life.

 

However, the greatest thank you I can offer to the people of Imo State is to continue to run an efficient and transparent administration with equity and justice as its banner. Working harder in the coming years, exceeding my previous efforts, will no doubt justify that confidence. In this respect, I am glad to announce that we are determined to beat our own records in governance.

 

Already, the march towards the actualization of that vision has started with the 2024 budget, which I recently signed into law. Out of the budget of N592 billion, N491 billion, or 83 percent is for capital expenditure, while N100 billion or 17 percent is for recurrent expenditure.

 

The practical interpretation of the budget is that if we built 20 roads in 2023, we are going to build 40 in 2024. If we empowered 2,000 youths in 2023, 4,000 youths should take their turn in 2024. With this capital expenditure centred budget, there shall be an avalanche of projects in Imo State in 2024. This harvest of projects will always be evenly and equitably sited in the 27 local government areas of our state.

 

I am also happy that our people who came home for Christmas from abroad and all parts of Nigeria are bearing testimonies on what this administration has achieved for the state in the last four years.  “Aka ekpuchi afo ime” is an Igbo adage. (This literally means that no one can cover or hide pregnancy). What we have done is there for all to see. As they are here, they drive through the roads. They also see the new health and educational facilities, and they hear from their kith and kin in the civil service that salaries and pensions are being paid promptly, including a 13th month salary. They have seen that the dredging of Oguta Lake/Orashi is a work in progress. While they are here, they saw and confirmed that Imo State is safe and peaceful. To the glory of God, contrary to the propaganda in the social media, they have not witnessed any serious security breach while they are here. Now, they can confirm that the government is working in Imo State. Let me, therefore, appeal to them to endeavour to share the good news when they return to their respective stations. I dare say that with ongoing efforts to ensure that there is lasting peace in the state, by the special Grace of God, the peace we now enjoy shall soon be permanent.

 

Now, that the election, which I believe was the remote and immediate cause of the politically contrived insecurity in the state, has been won and lost, I plead with all and sundry to sheath their swords and work in harmony with my administration to deliver more democracy dividends to our people. I reiterate that my administration will be more inclusive and there will be enough room for all. Like I earlier said, we need a renewed love, a renewed hope, and renewed economic growth for our state so as to usher in peace and progress and prosperity for all.

 

 

As outlined in the 2024 budget, Imo is going to witness a tremendous improvement in infrastructure and development in all facets of the state this year. I want Imo people to rest assured that my performance in the second tenure, which begins in January 2024, will dwarf the achievements of my first tenure. Read my lips and hold me by my words.

This is why my administration will not brook any form of corruption in the public sector. Every kobo belonging to Imo State must be deployed to work for Imo people. Public service must be seen as a call to work for the people and not an opportunity to loot their common patrimony. Public Office holders under my watch must adhere to this simple protocol or be forced out.

 

Let me use the opportunity of the new year to urge our religious and traditional rulers to continue to pray and work hard for the sustenance of peace in our state. Those who feel aggrieved one way or the other should embrace peace. We all need to work together for the interest of our state. This is a new dawn where the lines of division or politics shall remain blurred.  We are now on the threshold of history, working in concert for the development of our state and our people. Let us come together and work together as one people with one objective, which is to make Imo State better and greater. Let us not forget that this is our one and only state.

 

May God continue to bless the works of our hands. I wish all of us a prosperous 2024, the year of renewed economic growth.

 

Sen. Hope Uzodimma, CON

Governor