By NBF News
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Before his appointment as the Sole Administrator for Okigwe Local Government of Imo State, Chief Charles Babatunde Ezekwem won an award as the Best Political Coordinator in Imo State. This was in recognition of his hard work, dedication to duty and service excellence. He is also a reputable youth mobilizer. He spoke to DAN ONWUKWE on a wide range of issues:

Acting President Goodluck Jonathan may not have assembled the best brains in the country, but the important thing to me is result and not effort. Effort without result is meaningless.

Another thing I want to emphasize here is for the new cabinet members to know what Nigerians want and remain focused and dedicated. Selfless service begets whopping and mouth-watering reward. So, let them eschew materialism and discharge their duties with utmost responsibility. This has always been Nigeria's problem, especially in the political arena. The present administration needs to learn from the mistakes of the past. But it needs the cooperation of all to succeed.

Let me also use this medium to commend the Acting President for his support for the Ohakim administration and love for Imo people, especially, the good people of Okigwe.

For visiting Okigwe twice in less than five months buttresses his love for my people, more especially for being supportive of the construction of ultra-modern Ecumenical Catholic Diocese in Okigwe. We will support him and Governor Ohakim, it is total support and nothing short of that.

Before answering your question, permit me to first of all thank my mentor and leader, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, the governor of Imo State for giving me the privilege and opportunity to serve under his government as the Sole Administrator of Okigwe Local Government Area. For giving me this chance to contribute my quota towards the socio-economic and political growth of Okigwe, I will not disappoint.

Coming to your question regarding my human and physical development plans, though I am barely few months in office, let me start from the things I have done, to my future plans because politics to me is, garbage in, garbage out.

My administration is on record for restoring electricity to the council and Okigwe few days after our swearing-in, and this feat I achieved through effective dialogue and support to Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) in my area. This singular effort has sky- rocketed commercial and social activities in Okigwe as those who had earlier closed shop for lack of power supply, have started recording huge turnover in their businesses.

To ameliorate the sufferings encountered by commuters and drivers along the ever-busy Owerri road, I immediately rehabilitated the road, graded most of the untarred streets and created virgin ones. This laudable ideal has eased traffic along Owerri road, provided the desired option for road users and as well as inspired land-owners who had abandoned their property to fate because of lack of access road to begin to develop them.

As an ardent believer in the philosophy of Gov Ohakim who is highly New Face – compliant, I have successfully evacuated over 30 heaps of refuse dumps scattered along Ubahu road, Agiriga road, Rev. Mann Avenue, Okpara road, Eke Okigwe and Abakpa markets that defaced the beauty of the town. To maintain the clean state of the town, I employed over 100 women to sweep the streets including Okigwe-Enugu express junction, covering the Gariki-Camp of Faith end of the highway on daily basis. Though the initiative is capital-intensive, the important thing to me is to achieve the desired result.

I have apart from the aforementioned achievements created employment for many people, especially youths, by including them in some of the committees like environmental, housing, market development, IRROMA, and ENTRACO. As I am talking to you now, while normal activity has returned to our newly rehabilitated council canteen, renovation work is nearing completion at the chairman's lodge.

To further boost trade and ensure comfort of my staff, plans are being concluded for the construction of additional structures at Eke Okigwe market and another building at the expansive compound of the chairman's lodge.

Given the desired time, I will embark on the construction of housing estates to ease accommodation problem, erect streetlights along Owerri road and as well as partner with investors to explore and harness the rich cultural and tourism endowments of Okigwe, in order to create employment and generate revenue. If I have the money to tar roads and sink boreholes, I will not hesitate to do it because of my resolve to improve the living standard of my people.

Plans for youths
On plans for the youths, I have started by including a good number of them in various committees where they are being paid monthly. You can on your own verify.

Having said that, let me commend our result-oriented governor, Chief Ikedi Ohakim (Ochinanwata) for creating employment for Imo youths in both federal and state ministries and parastatals, and for recently approving the employment of over 30,000 youths in the state civil service.

I have no doubt in mind that the governor as a practical person and protagonist for equity, fairness and justice, will in his usual manner, ensure equitable spread of job opportunities among the 27 councils.