“WE WILL ASSEMBLE THE BEST OF THE BEST MINDS TO SHAPE THE FUTURE OF IMO STATE” DR Linus Okorie- Imo State Governorship Aspirant and Leadership Expert
Thinking of the best and simplest way to introduce Dr Linus Okorie is really hard, and this is because he has such a rich profile, which unfortunately cannot be shortened because one would be confused as to what to take out and what to leave in the introduction. The amazing thing is that he prefers to be called Linus. Coming in contact with Linus Okorie, governorship aspirant in Imo State, world renowned Leadership Consultant, Recipient of several international Awards and Special Recognition, founder of Guardians of The Nation International (GOTNI), and also founder of the #ImoNkeanyi movement. I was a bit surprised to see the white bearded gentleman who walked quietly towards us at the venue of the interview. He extended warm handshakes to the entire WakeUpAfrica crew and settled down for the chat. Something happened as soon as we began to talk about his dear Imo State and his political ambition, his eyes lit up as he responded to our questions excitedly with a hint of a smile. It was only when we asked about his wife, that he laughed out as he narrated the story of how they met and highlighted the special characters of the potential Imo State First Lady. One thing is sure, Linus is determined to deliver a world class Imo State, and we hope Imo citizens will back him up to give them the quality of leadership they really deserve.. I serve you the interview with Dr Linus Okorie….
What would you consider as the biggest challenge facing your political ambition in Imo State?
First is the concept of godfatherism, and money politics. Those two basic issues continue to be subject of focus per time. But I am very glad with the work we have done so far, and we are overcoming these impediments that has stayed for quite a long time. Now the people are beginning to realise that it’s not about money, but it’s about the quality of the human beings that are coming to deliver great services to the people, and that’s why the people are excited about my candidature.
You know the politics of money will still come up during the elections in February 2019, how do you intend to checkmate that?
The things that we have done so far is re-orientating the people, we have done that for the past couple of months and we have been successful in the work so far. I believe that the message will intensify, because right now the people are going to be voting on the basis of the quality of the human beings involved because of their past experiences. So many people have suffered and they have vowed that they would not make the same mistakes they made in the past again. So all those who think that their money would get them anywhere, they should watch out, the movement of the people will prevail this time. The people are no longer suffering from poverty of the mind, because we have brought a message that will help them gain their sense of responsibility, that it’s not about them, it is about the future of their children and that is a very strong message.
Do you belong to any political party?
Of course, I belong to the Young Progressives Party (YPP). It is a political party that was set up with the sole purpose of enthroning a government that is service oriented to the people. And so Young Progressives Party, basically will make a big difference in the politics of Imo State and that of Nigeria. Interestingly, we have very important presidential aspirants.
Now till February 2019 is a long time, anything can happen. So I believe your team has strategies to ensure that you get the governorship mandate of Imo State. Can we know some of these strategies?
Well, strategy is not something that I can discuss on Television, Radio, online or on pages of a newspaper. I have my strategy spelt out, but most importantly is that I come from the strength of leadership competencies, a lot of people perceive me as someone who brings leadership capital to the table. Somebody who is strong on human capital development, somebody who is bringing some new order in the way things are done, freshness, energy. I represent the future, so on the basis of that the young voters and quite a lot of the rural dwellers, are already excited about my candidature and they know that I bring something different to the table. So that is the reason why I am excited, I can’t wait to be governor actually.
Every governor is rated by his actions in his first 100 days in office. What would your first 100 days in office be like as the governor of Imo State?
Firstly, I am going to be announce some key polices, and the first of them basically is that I am going to set up technology hubs in the nine federal constituencies of Imo State. Secondly, I would overhaul the Civil Service completely, because the civil service is the engine of government. And so we will start the training process, to ensure that every member of the civil service is enveloped in the new ideology of service competence and knowledge. So a knowledge driven civil service that is well-trained and of course, computerization of their operations, that is the total overhauling that I am going to do for Imo. The other things would be to announce my agricultural policy, so all the private dealings that has gone in terms of privatising some major industries in the state, Adapalm for instance. I will create mechanisms to ensure that Adapalm is actually given to people who have the competences to run it as a business. Also I am talking about policies that will enable about 27 thousand women in the communities, to immediately start benefitting from access to funding. And guess what! The infrastructure that enables the government to function in my opinion, is what will constitute my three months, because I am not one of those politicians that will think that three months is enough to achieve anything. Three months is the foundation laying where all the policies are clarified, all the specific things I want to do are put in place clearly with the machinery. So by the time they start rolling out by the end of the year, you will begin to see what governance is clearly about. The three months is for letting the people gain confidence in the new administration, the training base of the people, the people have been bastardized over time, and they have lost confidence in government systems. So we will use the machinery of government to recreate that trust amongst the people, and by the time we take off, wow they will say they have not seen anything like this before. For instance, the first day I take over power, I am going to announce my cabinet. Yes, as soon as I am inaugurated, the first thing I am going to do is the announcement of my cabinet. And of course send their names immediately to the State House of Assembly for screening and then immediately after that, everybody settles in into specific roles that they have been detailed for and then move into work, work, work, work. But remember, planning is the foundation so we will never experience anything called policy somersault, never. Every policy that we will pursue is going to achieve the purpose in which it’s about. All the paper works and everything is enough for three months.
You mentioned earlier that you have picked people across the world who would make up your team. So is it safe to assume that no former politician in Imo State will retain their position under your administration?
Not exactly, anybody who is a politician and has been tested to be a man of competence, a man of capacity, a man who is knowledgeable about the subject matter area that you are appointed around, basically why not? They are also part of the state, I am not saying every politician is bad. What I am saying is that we will assemble the best of the best minds that you can ever imagine, that will help shape the future of Imo State.
There so many controversies playing out in the political space in Nigeria. What is your perspective of these happenstances as a leadership expert?
The truth of the matter is that most of the people who have been thrown up to represent us at various levels in government, do not understand what leadership is about. That every action that is taken by leadership is basically not just acknowledged in Nigeria. Distance is actually dead, the world is a global village and so whatever happens in Nigeria, New York receives it. The world is laughing at us because a lot of the people who are in the political space are actually celebrating mediocrity and they call it leadership. If we had real leaders, real leaders will be people that will be concerned not about their egos, but about what they can do, to work with various institutions to add value to Nigerians.
Apart from leadership, what other things are you passionate about?
I am passionate about human capital development, which is my core. I am passionate about making sure that the society gets transformed, I am in nation building, I love our great country. Then beyond that, I love people, human beings. I am passionate about people. And of course on a lighter note, I am passionate about books. I like to swim and I also like to dance.
Being a very busy man, becoming the governor of Imo State would be an added task, how are you going to manage them all, to ensure that no part of your business suffers, while you are overseeing the affairs of Imo State?
Very key, I have already done succession planning. And every leader must understand succession planning. I have those who are running my business, I run a leadership centre in Maitama in Abuja, I have created a system that it can run without me. For the past 6 months, my business has been running without me. So that tells you that systems is important
Can we know more about your wife, the potential First Lady of Imo State? And how you met her?
(Laughs) I met my wife a couple of years ago at the shopping mall here in Lagos. I saw her and we connected. And guess what! She visited my house, I had only a room full of books and one bed (laughs). A few days later, I proposed to her and she said she was going to marry me over and over again. One year after I got married to her. So my wife is somebody who is selfless, she is not a woman driven by materialism, she is woman that is filled with wisdom, common sense and she loves people, most especially. She loves human beings, she loves my work. She loves her husband and she is a mother that loves her children. And most importantly, she is my adviser, because she literally is always keeping me in check, makes sure that my values are in place at every point in time. She is a woman that Imo State will be blessed to have as their First Lady.
Finally, what message do you have for Imo State citizens in Nigeria and across the world?
It is time for the old order to stop in Imo. It is time for everybody who is an Imo citizen anywhere in the world to come together. Ndi igbo si, agbako agbako nyuo mamiri, ya agba ufufu (meaning together we can achieve so much). Ukwa ruo oge ya o da (meaning when a grapefruit is ripe it falls). It is time for us to come together as great people of Imo State, it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, to help salvage this great state. Imo state is a great state, we are respected for the great human capital strength we have. We have the best of doctors, lawyers around the world, we are celebrated for our accomplishments. Can we all break the boundaries literarily and come together and build a state that we will be proud of? I am looking forward to a world class Imo filled with endless possibilities and development. You as an Imo citizen, wherever you are in the world you must identify with this campaign because the future of Imo will be created from this platform.
Photo Credit WakeUpAfrica