By Lancelot Obiaku
Announcing her resignation as UK Prime Minister just over a week ago, Theresa May reeled out her achievements in office. It was not surprising that she spoke about her strides as it concerns the environment. “We are protecting the environment, eliminating plastic waste, tackling climate change and improving air quality”, she said.
Obviously, in the world today, nations are thinking of protecting and preserving their environments from the effects of organic, inorganic and gaseous wastes, even as the issue of climate change rages on. A consciousness on the need to make the environment healthier and safer for habitation has been stamped in the minds of responsible leaders around the world who, among other obligations, care about the health and well being of their people.
Back in Nigeria, the citizens are not that lucky, as government tend to fold its arms and watch our environment go sourly bad. In Imo state in particular, the immediate past governor of the state, Chief Rochas Okorocha did not initiate any environmental policy of note throughout the eight years of his administration. Imo stunk and her environs became utterly unhealthy.
Former governor of the state, Chief Ikedi Ohakim thought better than Chief Okorocha who succeeded him in 2011. With his Clean and Green Initiative, the Okohia born environmentalist was able to land the state a reckoning as the cleanest and healthiest state in Nigeria. All he did to protect and preserve the state’s environment came to nothing when his successor could not build on them. This must have resulted to diseases and possibly deaths.
In the eight years Gov. Okorocha held sway, many well constructed roads damaged as a result of flooding, chiefly made possible by the clogging of drainage systems. The ex-governor’s negligence to the environment was unprecedented that the government did not de-silt gutters, neither was there a policy in place to ensure citizens did it. Hence, Imo lost many good roads.
Fortunately, the state now has Rt Hon. Emeka Ihedioha as governor. The former lawmaker has given an indication that he attaches some level of importance to the environment. Delivering an inaugural speech upon his swearing in on May 29, the newly sworn-in governor announced the “Go Green and Stay Clean” environmental policy of his administration. He has since visited the several refuse dumps around the capital city, Owerri, including that at the Nekede Mechanic village, to further carefully assess the morbid and putrid state of the state’s environment. Reports are that he frowned at what the Imo environment has become and was more poised to salvage it.
It is convenient to say that Gov. Ihedioha is aware that he has been sworn in to protect the lives and properties of Imo citizens and he knows that protecting their environment is one of the ways to do so.
That, of course, should be good news for the inhabitants of the state who look set to live in a healthier environment and breathe fresh air again. There are assurances that Gov. Ihedioha would stop at nothing in returning Imo to the cleanest state she once was. Consequently, the state will wear an outlook that is business friendly and one that will attract tourists and investors, thus boosting her economy.
With the Go Green and Stay Clean Initiative, and many more moves, the governor has made a statement to suggest that he would be for his state a responsible 21st century leader who would think like his counterparts in other parts of the world and maintain an unflinching interest in the good health and well being of his people.
Imo shall rise again!
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