Governor Hope Uzodimma’s leadership qualities were again brought to the fore at the weekend when the Igbos living in Rivers and Bayelsa States held a reception for him at the Presidential Hotel, Port Harcourt, where they reminded the governor that he is the shining star of the Igbo nation known to them for now.
The reception the Igbos living in the two states held for Governor Uzodimma preceded yet another honour done him the same day by the Government of Rivers State where he was awarded with the Grand Service Stars of Rivers State, the highest ever bestowed on individuals who have distinguished themselves in the service to the society.
Governor Nyesom Wike, himself a proud wearer of the GSSRS medal, decorated Governor Uzodimma with the award alongside seven other recipients at the Banquet hall, Government House, Port Harcourt.
At the Presidential Hotel Port Harcourt, members of the United Igbo Community in Rivers and Bayelsa States drawn from six states – Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, Delta and Imo – spoke glowingly about the efforts Governor Uzodimma was making to bring the entire Igbo nation to national reckoning and urged him not to be deterred.
They also delved into the governor’s activities in Imo State, recalling how much changes he has brought to the state within a short period in office.
“We are happy to inform you that Igbo communities across the country share the same positive sentiments on your achievements. The Igbo Community in Rivers State and Bayelsa State are proud of you and we thank you for the good work you are doing in the South East region. We thank you for your reintegration efforts towards bringing the Igbos into the nation’s platform,” a welcome address by Messrs Julius Uzoma (President General) and Chike Allison Ikwuagwu (Secretary General) of the group said.
The group said they were not unmindful of the governor’s reelection come November 11, 2023, but assured him that they will not only vote for him but will galvanize support from every quarter to ensure that he retains his office to continue with the good job he is doing, but to also get better prepared for bigger services to the Igbo.
“On behalf of the Igbo Community here in Rivers and Bayelsa States, we assure you of our unreserved and unflinching support towards your reelection come November 11, 2023 in order to afford you the opportunity to do more of what you know how to do best in the interest of Imo State, South East and Nigeria at large. We are committed to supporting our position by physical presence to drive voting and campaign.”
Some of the leaders who spoke not only prayed for Governor Uzodimma but urged him not to be deterred in leading them.
“Bring Igbos together. Don’t let us down. You are the shining star of Igboland,” Chief Ifeanyi Ogbonna from Ebonyi State said.
Others who spoke at the occasion included Chief Fredrick Ukeje, Chief Uchenna Asiegbu on behalf of Anambra Community, Chief Emeka Chime representing Enugu community, Pastor White Okoro Vice National President Rivers and Bayelsa, Madam Love Chimezie, State Woman Leader Ohanaeze Ndigbo Rivers/Bayelsa.
They all commended Governor Uzodimma for the Signature Projects he has done in Imo State and appealed to him to continue with the good works he is doing.
They reminded the Governor that his visit has breached the barrier between the Rivers State and Igbos residing in Rivers State.
Chief Henry Njoku and Chief Tony Chukwu noted that the reception showed that “any good work you are doing people are seeing and taking note of them.”
They appreciated the Governor for the sponsorship of 1,000 Pilgrims to Holy land and thanked him for extending the dividend of his government to the grassroots.
There were also leaders who solicited Governor Uzodimma’s help in ensuring that where they live, a conducive environment is created for their businesses to thrive.
In his remarks, Governor Uzodimma was not just full of appreciation for the honour done to him, but prayed to God to honour them in return.
He reminded them to live as brothers and shun acts that will dent their credibility.
“I am with you and for you. Don’t forment trouble. Don’t also allow others to look for your trouble. We must be our brother’s keeper, love ourselves and support ourselves. The keyword must be brotherhood.”
Governor Uzodimma counseled them on the need to know the difference between political leadership and economic leadership, noting that in the history of Nigeria, the Igbo have not been found wanting on both despite the seeming imbalance in the country’s political equation of today.
Regardless, he informed them that the Igbos are economic leaders and urged them to remain committed to the Nigerian project because, “the Igbos are critical stakeholders.”
He enjoined them to go about their legitimate businesses, be law abiding, and not to be afraid of anything.
The Governor enjoined all to cue in the new mentality in the world “which is technology, not fighting one another,” emphasizing that the “era we are now is what we are going to do to be known with new innovations and the Igbo man will be the person bringing new innovation.”
The Governor raised some posers like why are the Igbos lagging behind, not continuing from the Igbos innovations of 1960-1965?
He charged them not to fight, continue to love each other and reiterated that “we the Igbos are not going anywhere, we are Nigerians, nobody will take what belongs to us.
Governor Uzodimma pledged not to disappoint their reasonable expectation in all areas of need.
The wife of the Governor, Chioma Uzodimma, outgoing Minister of State Education, Goodluck Opiah, Minister of State Science and Technology, Chief Henry Iko, House of Representatives Whip, Nkiruka Onyejiocha, and members of the Imo State Expanded Executive Council witnessed the occasion.
Also in attendance were the Chairman of Imo State Elders Council, HRH Eze Cletus Ilomuanya, among others.