By Walter Duru
Former member of the House of Representatives and Deputy Governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2019 elections in Imo State, Rt. Hon. Gerald Alphonsus Irona, says Imo State shall adopt Nigeria’s Freedom of Information Act (2011), if the PDP is elected in 2019.
Irona, who made the pledge at his home town, Oguta, weekend, during an interactive forum with media practitioners in Imo State, also promised that the media shall play active roles in the governance of the state, it elected.
“I have invited you to urge you to buy into our project, which is to rebuild Imo. Our overall objective is to entrench good governance in Imo State. You cannot have good governance without being accountable to the citizens that elected you. To have good governance, there is need for participatory media. For transparency and accountability to exist, there must be freedom of Information. We have a deliberate policy in our manifesto to adopt the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act in Imo, in order to have transparency in governance. We will forward an Executive Bill to the Imo State House of Assembly to pass into law, the FOI Act, to enable us have a law that will empower citizens to access government held information in order to hold the government accountable.”
“It is our opinion that for there to be accountability in governance, there must also be due process. To that effect, we will ensure that the Public Procurement Act, as passed by the National Assembly and assented to by the President, is replicated here in Imo. It is our candid opinion that if we have an FOI law and a Public Procurement law in Imo state, there will be transparency, accountability and due process (in doing government business) and if vigorously implemented, shall lay a solid foundation for the good governance we have been yearning for in Imo State.”
“The PDP Governorship candidate, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, yesterday, unveiled the manifesto of the party and our focus shall be good governance, rule of law, qualitative education at all levels, with special interest in technical and finishing education; tourism, agriculture, health and infrastructural development. To ensure that we are held accountable, we shall introduce periodic citizens’ dialogue – an interface between the government and the citizens, particularly, the media, community-based organizations, professional organizations, faith-based organizations and all other non-state actors (civil society). The forum shall be used to explain government policies, plans, decisions, programmes and activities to the citizens, with a view to getting feedback- their buy-in, suggestions, advice and involvement at every stage of the governance process. Ours shall be an inclusive and participatory government. Ours shall be a government built on trust and the fear of God”, he stressed.
“I am excited that Imo is about to have a governor that is committed to good governance and prudent management of resources in the person of Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha. I am very happy to be identified with him, because he is a man of strong character and honour. We are determined to enthrone good governance in Imo State, where transparency, accountability and rule of law are mainstreamed in the business of governance.”
Speaking earlier at the event, former Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party in the State, Damian Ezeagu described the Ihedioha/Irona ticket as one of the best things that has happened to Imo State.
He described the duo of Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha and Gerald Irona as experienced leaders, with unwavering capacity to deal with the myriads of problems created by the present administration in Imo.
According to him, “the Ihedioha/Irona ticket was consummated in heaven, to manifest at this critical point when Imo is in dire need of being delivered from the wreck done by an inept government” even as he urged people of the state to support the Peoples Democratic Party to win the 2019 election to enable the journey of rebuilding Imo commence.
Adding his voice, Imo State Organising Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, R.O. Udensi urged Imo people to rise to the challenge of rebuilding the state, even as he described the PDP as the party with capacity and the most competent candidates to save the day.