*Late former old Imo State governor, Mr. Samuel Mbakwe
Wherever Mr. Same Onunaka Mbakwe is today (and I am convinced he is seated by the right hand of God Almighty in heaven), he must a happy man because of his achievement while he served as Imo State governor from October 1, 1979 to December 31, 1983. His good works in the old Imo State speaks volumes and it is a shame that nobody in the strict sense of the word comes near him when it comes to leadership qualities when it comes to leading both Imo and Abia State, which was created out of the larger state Mbakwe governed.
It is so shameful that some of the roads Mbakwe constructed in Imo State between 1979 and 1983 are still motorable today while the ones done by Senator Rochas Okorocha who handed over in 2019 are today begging for attention. Some so-called leaders are shameless. It is also sad that when people remember Imo State, the references they make as far as leadership and developments are concerned in the state are the ones executed by a man who left the government scene in 1983.
The likes of Rochas Okorocha, Achike Udenwa Onwa, Ikedi Ohakim Ikiri, and so many others too numerous to mention should indeed hide their faces in the bottomless pit of shamefulness because of the way they variously plundered the state. Today, Imo State, which is smaller and more manageable than the one Mbakwe supervised has become the shame of a nation and, there is no hope in sight anytime soon.
In remembrance of the exemplary leadership of Mbakwe, our editors were attracted by the encomiums Mbakwe received on Facebook the other day from people of Imo State and those who are not from the state. It was sparked off by the comments of Joel Nwokeoma and Valentine Iheasirim. Enjoy it:
Mr. Samuel Onunaka Mbakwe, the first civilian governor of the old Imo State built over 100 industrial and commercial enterprises across Imo, Abia and part of Ebonyi. He built thousands of miles of durable roads, some of which are still motorable even as we speak. He set up world class educational and medical facilities including Imo State University (IMSU). He built the first independent power plant in Nigeria.
He developed housing estates. He built the Imo Airport, which has now been named after him…deservedly. He extended public water to all nooks and crannies. He electrified practically every community. He developed a perfect master plan for urban and semi-urban areas. He built the most sophisticated urban drainage system in Nigeria. He introduced Sulo, a very efficient waste management system. He had only one house he built in his village before becoming a governor. He accomplished all these and more yet lived a modest life.
His name is Saint Samuel Onunaka Mbakwe. God rest his soul.
Authored by Valentine Iheasirim
Just to add to your list Joel: Dee Sam built Avutu Poultry Farm; Aluminium Extrusion Plant, Adapalm; Concord hotel. During his time, my village like many Imo villages had pipe borne water and electricity in our communities and homes etc etc. His tenure was leadership defined!
These are great men not wasters of today. Their desire was to solve problems and leave legacies behind. I saw the Poultry he built at Obowo and Cashew Catalytic factory, I marveled at such a great vision.
That was when politicians were elected by popular (majority) vote to serve. Not now that they are selected by (minority ballot box snatching) godfathers on a mission to loot
What I like most about this man is the way he demystified the office of governor. As a governor with all his responsibilities, he still had time to attend his age-grade meetings on Sundays. He was always himself.
Achievers don’t make noise but empty barrels after him, have been so loud over no achievement.
That was even when budgets were nowhere billions and trillions, we see these days. His was unselfish service!
He will continue to be remembered for setting the standard for good governance and impactful leadership.
Your memory is still Evergreen in our minds a great achiever, number one father of our great state IMO state live on, we love you.
Dee Sam did more. He managed Imo’s resources prudently.
He paid bursary, N100, in those days, when NYSC monthly allowances were N180 (degree/HND) and N160 (NCE). He was a great man.