Golden age is one milestone usually celebrated by many with profound fanfare and passion because it marks a critical turning point in one’s life. To Hon Emeka Ihedioha, Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, this long established aphorism is not any different as he attains 50 years. But then for someone who has accomplished so many feats in politics and public service within a short life span, Ihedioha has a lot to cheer and celebrate.
Ihedioha’s golden age commemoration is remarkable in various ways. It coincides with the period he is contesting for governorship in Imo State. His victory, predictably on the heels of this milestone would open yet another uncommon but largely striking chapter in his life.
Born into the family of late Pa Green Ihedioha on March 24, 1965 at the Mbutu, Aboh Mbaise Local Council of Imo State, Ihedioha had a humble beginning. This was particularly so because he grew up under the tutelage of disciplined parents who held education and strict religious obligations in high premium. Thus, they brought young Emeka up to be a devout Christian, to have voracious appetite for education and growing thirst for selfless service.
These attributes have had a far-reaching effect in shaping Ihehioha, accounting for his astronomical growth and success in public service and politics. At 50, Ihedioha has amazingly held several strategic political positions through appointments and elections.
Ihedioha began his political apprenticeship when Third Republic Deputy Senate President, Senator Legogie appointed him Press Officer in 1991. Following military interregnum that resulted in the demise of that Republic, Ihedioha returned to private practice, firming up his First Page Public Relations outfit. He later joined People’s Democratic Movement that merged with other political associations to form the People’s Democratic Party.
He emerged in 1999 as the Special Adviser on Media Relations to the then Senate President, Chuba Okadigbo. The tenure of his boss was short-lived and terminated in 2000 following his unbridled pursuit for the independence of the legislature, which consistently put him in collision with the Presidency. Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, later appointed Ihedioha Special Assistant Political Affairs.
At 50, Ihedioha has achieved so many feats with several legacies to attest to. He contested and won his first election in 2003 to represent Aboh Mbaise/Ngor Okpala in the House of Representatives.
Interestingly, Ihedioha has won three consecutive elections, resulting in his 12-year stint in the House. Far more amazing is that his positions in the House have been on a steady progress. During his second tenure in 2007, South East House caucus elected him Chief Whip. Four years later, his colleagues unanimously endorsed him without dissension in 2011 as Deputy Speaker.
Although this piece is not principally fashioned to compute the many projects Ihedioha has brought to the state and South East zone, the record of his road infrastructure, electricity projects, education facilities, water projects, hospital facilities is significant and verifiable. For instance, Ihedioha got NDDC to award contract for Okpala-Igwuruta Road, linking Imo to Rivers with the first phase costing N4.2b; facilitated award of contract for the dualization of Owerri-Elele (Omayelu) 35-kilometre road at N23b. He also attracted contract for the design of the famous 63-kilometre Mbaise Ring Road cutting across three local councils
Driven by the desire to build human capital to propel socio-economic development in Imo state, he has at various times organized empowerment programmes for Imo journalists, youths, women and even graduate engineers.
His guiding principle is respect for the rule of law and frankness with his “word being his bond”. He has promised Imo people that one of his cardinal objectives when elected as Governor would be the restoration of rule of law in a state Governor Rochas Okorocha has unfortunately enthroned lawlessness, civil dictatorship and disobedient to court decisions as the order.
His 7-point agenda contains well articulated framework fashioned robustly to correct Okorocha’s many anomalies and set the state on the path of education rebound and socio-economic development and prosperity. Free qualitative education; integrated health care delivery and free primary health; urban renewal; industrialization; local council autonomy; mechanized agriculture are some of the cardinal programmes Ihedioha has severally promised to bequeath to Imo when elected.
At 50, Ihedioha is set to lead Imo. His pedigree, profound public service experience, legacies, accomplishments, inspirational leadership style, sincerity and well based, results-oriented programmes for Imo place him over and above all other candidates in the race for Imo Government House. The real gift Imo indigenes would bestow on this man of vision is to commemorate his golden age celebration by voting him in to preside over the affairs of the state. It is only incontrovertible that such is a plausible and wise decision which Imo would benefit inestimably.