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The Imo Model

Imo will be a model state. This is the justified expectation of many since Ihedioha took over. The Okorocha rule thankfully came to an unexpected peaceful end. The coming of Ihedioha has also been smooth. The transition was hardly expected to be bloodless. This in itself makes Imo a model. Under Okorocha, Imo neared the explosion point towards the end. Ihedioha halted the slide, reversed the catastrophic fall. He has successfully replaced Okorocha’s high handedness, tyranny and dictatorship with openness, transparency and wide consultation. There is already a world of difference between the two men.
In Imo today, nobody is going about with fear, especially fear of what cruelty government will come up with the next day to deny people their means of livelihood, to embarrass them or to make life difficult. Markets even though still destroyed have settled down to business. Mechanics, roadside or wherever are working without fear, earning their legitimate living. Road side traders are not running helter-skelter any longer. Urban renewal is no longer a clever way to demolish the residences and business houses the governor wants to acquire personally. Public transportation which the government tried to take over completely as a monopoly of Okorocha and Co. is now fully back in private hands. It is flowing again. The remnant of the past administration’s thugs who made road transportation a jungle still operates with impunity. They are being cleared the roads with difficulty because they were entrenched. The tremendous empowerment they received to harass and fleece motorists is hard to withdraw. Being criminals, the touts can resist government moves to checkmate or remove them. The government is being tactical and careful. For if you sack them from the roads where do you send them to? They will be a worse menace if they have nothing else doing that pays them as well as the nuisance they constitute to motorists. Most of them are the pick-pockets and the rogues that terrorize the public with arms.
However, I have heard that the government plans to modernize public transportation. In advanced countries, travel from point to point, throughout the country, by any means, whether it is near or far, is timed and planned. There is always a time-table which tells the times of departure and arrival. An organized public transportation sector is an asset; a big state revenue source, a massive employer of labour and a co-ordinating sector for the entire economy.
A planned transportation targets and achieves economy of time in the society. It makes the planning of the rest of the economy fast and easy. Another quiet modelling going on is the cleaning and greening of Imo state under Ikedi Ohakim, the ex-governor who introduced the programme with great success. Someone has called the damage done under Okorocha wicked and wilful. People still wonder why he did that.  And the gravity of the damage has been impeding the speed with which the restoration of Imo state can be carried out. But the work is passionately going on with zest and perseverance under the governor’s personal keen and watchful eyes.
There is another vista to the coming new model Imo state. This is an age of cooperation. People don’t operate solo any longer. They link up as co-operators. They do their exploits as groups. If all in all human endeavours in the state belonged to co-operatives, they would produce more, carry out their quality controls and discipline themselves. They can produce things big and good enough for export, which individuals cannot do. Exporters in other countries do so as groups, not as individual or solo efforts. They save their governments that trouble. It is easier for government to deal with groups of legally constituted businesses than individuals. If they are given loans, subsidies or assistance of any type, it is easy for groups to be held accountable in paying back and keeping to the terms of the deal. The Imo model is going to be one that is open to new ideas. The indication is already there.
Without delay, for instance, Imo state’s huge public debt is being cleared. This is one of the praise-worthiest components of the Imo model. What is the significance of this? It is certainly a good take off point for the Imo model and it is well underway, meant to put reasonable liquid cash into people’s pockets. With this there will be an increase in economic activity, provided the people are well advised to invest wisely what has painfully and agonizingly accrued to them in arrears of pension and salaries.
The payments will boost both productivity and consumption in the state as both support each other. Imo can be said to have set an example by starting the payment of full and timely salaries and pensions, an example which other states can copy. It must be a painful action, though, to clear a mammoth longstanding budgetary deficit which scared earlier governments to pay. But Imo government is doing it with confident hopes that its spiral effect will be evident quite soon.
This re-fuelling of the Imo economy will save lives as it has started the re-modelling with the people. It will be a good idea to go further and liberalize loans so that investors will have enough capital to invest and through it sustainable, good-paying jobs can be created in serious profitable private ventures. Other local public debts such as contracts and gratuities must as well be paid in pursuit of the policy of putting money into individual pockets to boost the economy. In all these, the watchword is motivation, mobilization and greater organization; and the Imo model will be here indeed in the form of a planned and system-compliant economy in which most people are taken along. This economy is too free to be guided toward meaningful development prospects in the future.

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