First 100 days benchmark and Ihedioha
A few days before the commemoration of the first 100 days of state governors sworn in for the first time in May 29, 2019; dedicated and progressive ones among them made last-minute efforts to concretize their accomplishments ahead of the event. Such states were manifestly and reportedly enlivened with unveiling of milestones, flagging-off of projects and foundation laying ceremonies. They commemorated the landmark event with somewhat fanfare because they have a lot of things to showcase
Imo is manifestly one of such states. The State Governor, Rt. Hon Emeka Ihedioha flagged off the ambitious rehabilitation and construction of 14 roads projects in the state; reconstruction of Dan Anyiam and Grasshopper stadia in Owerri, the state capital while he laid the foundation of the renovation, modernization and equipping of four technical and vocational schools in the state in one day.
The consciousness exhibited by some of these governors over the first 100 days in office symbolizes the importance Nigeria political leaders attach to the period under review. And it is not peculiar to Nigeria. The first 100 days benchmark has become a global phenomenon and inherently an organic political structure of advanced democracies such as the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany and so on. The media, political analysts, opinion leaders, other members of the public usually look up to the first 100 days of their political leaders in office as a veritable target to scrutinize them.
Some narratives have been put up by scholars and development experts as to the origin of the 100 -day concept. The near consensus is that it has its roots in France. It was recorded that the return of the great French leader, Napoleon Bonaparte to Paris from exile on the island of Elba in 1815 and his final defeat at the Battle of Waterloo by King Louis XVIII took place in 100 days accounting for the symbolic recognition of the number to become a landmark to assessing successive governments globally.
In the United States, for instance, 100-day standard as a framework to measure a President and other political leaders was essentially introduced into the country’s political lexicon by Franklin Roosevelt in 1933 who coined the term first 100 days. This was on account of the uncommon and incredible accomplishments he recorded within his first 100 days in office. These included: grappling with the financial crisis that hit US at that time, drafting and ratifying 15 critical bills that contributed to turning the misfortunes of US into fortunes and introduction of robust programmes to cement his New Deal initiative.
Accordingly, Boris Johnson who took over the reins of United Kingdom government in July 24 this year is already being assessed ahead of his first 100 days in office in October especially against the background of Britain’s plan to leave the European Union.
Although various global leaders such as Donald Trump, Theresa May, John F Kennedy have expressed their disparagement over the first 100-day assessment, the benchmark has become an instrument that drives and inspires serious minded political leaders to be focused in pursuit of early success.
In Nigeria where most of the political leaders exhibit high level of self-centeredness, first 100 days assessment is a worthy framework towards exposing their failings. On the contrary, political leaders who are well prepared for governance and cognizant of the import of first 100 days are usually conscientious about their record within the period under review. This realization intrinsically stimulates them into greater initiatives and actions for enhanced early accomplishments desirable to alter negative narrative about governance in the country.
Imo and Oyo States present penetrating and fascinating scenarios. Apparently mindful of his first 100 days in office record which he relives at any available opportunity, Governor Emeka Ihedioha of Imo State reportedly got down urgently to the business of governance after his inauguration May 29. The results of this dynamism according to him have reflected robustly on all the critical sectors of the state development.
At a well-attended but colourful event held at the Cenotaph Owerri, the state capital, to showcase fruitful first 100 days in office Governor Ihedioha who flagged off several projects the previous days told the enthusiastic crowd that his accomplishments cut across pensions reforms, security revamp, health and education sectors, agricultural development, flood and erosion control and environmental sanitation.
Other areas according to him, include: Flood and erosion control, power supply, civil service reform, local council autonomy and enthronement of due process, accountability and transparency in the procurement process, urban and rural roads rehabilitation and construction and restoration of public water supply.
“Just last week, at Onuimo, Isu and Mbaitoli Local Government Areas, we flagged off one of the most ambitious rural road construction projects in the country. Valued at N13.5 billion the World Bank assisted Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP), involves over 70 rural road networks with a cumulative distance of 381 kilometers across most of the 27 Local Government Areas of the state”, he stated.
He added: “We have launched our agricultural roadmap which represents a comprehensive framework for self-sufficiency in food production, both for domestic consumption and for exports purposes. We have also commenced the establishment of a Rice Seed Farm Cluster on the Imo River Basin. This programme will make Imo State self-sufficient in the production of improved variety of rice seeds with a view to strengthening our rice value chain
On the enthronement of due process, accountability and transparency in governance within first 100 days, he stated that his government introduced Treasury Single Account and revitalized the Bureau of Public Procurement and Intelligence. The TSA launch and its digitalization have radically improved the Internally Generated Revenue by 100 percent
He stated that his administration launched Operation Iron Gate, as a strategic measure to combat crimes and criminalities as well as rid the state of all undesirable elements. All the security operatives, he clarified, are involved in the new security architecture.
•Uganwa, senior special assistant to the Imo government, writes from Owerri.
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