Following the recent kick-start ing and launching of the Rural (Roads) Access and Mobility Project (RAMP) by Governor Emeka Ihedioha, his predecessor, Ethelbert Rochas Okorocha and Deputy, Prince Eze Madumere, have laid claim to the project as the initiators of the World Bank Assisted tripartite project domiciled in Imo, in conjunction with the state and federal governments.

Like the community and social development project formerly Local Empowerment and Environmental Management Project (LEEMP) under Okenze Ben-Glad Okonkwo, now retired Permanent Secretary the RAMP project is one of the World Bank efforts at upgrading the rural roads infrastructure in the various communities in Imo State. It is not peculiar or restricted or exclusive to Imo State but like LEEMP, MPP6 and MPP9, it is a joint venture initiative of World Bank in the 9 Niger Delta States.

The project dates as far back as 2010, when the then government failed to pay counterpart funding but was thrown under the carpet when Okorocha took office in 2011, because of the strict conditions and disbursement of funds attached to it’s implementation by the World Bank.

However, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Chief Val. Okere aka (amadioha Ngor-Okpala), has in reaction to this false claim, called on Ihedioha to give some credits to his predecessors, particularly the immediate past Deputy Governor of Imo State, Prince Eze Madumere, for his efforts to ensure that Imo State benefited from the Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP).

Okere was reacting to some media reports where some aides of Governor Emeka Ihedioha were presented as those who saw to the attraction of RAMP.

“I am surprised at the behaviours of a few members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Agreed that government all over the world is a continuum, whereby leaders come and go but they are only remembered by their legacies.

It is also self-deluding for anyone to believe he can remain in power for eternity. Give Madumere some credits because it was his initiative to pursue these World Bank Assisted Projects to a logical conclusion. The former governor, Chief Ethelbert Okorocha never believed in it until the result came. It is on record that Imo totally lost RAMP. It took Madumere’s effort to approach and convince French Development Agency to consider the state. It was a celebrated case. He did all these without common allowances.

“I can remember vividly how the then governor Ikedi Ohakim had tried to win this project to the state but he could not pull it through. We were very down cast due to this failure. Madumere saw the benefits. He took the initiative to pursue the project to a logical conclusion. It is only courteous that Prince Madumere be given some recognition because this can be said to be one of his legacies as a Deputy Governor of the state.”

He further stated that all efforts that ex-governor Okorocha made to have access to RAMP funds were thwarted by Madumere. “We were all in this state when Okorocha said Madumere had flagged-off RAMP but he was technically put out the N13 billion fund so as to ensure that no stories were told”, Okere reiterated.

He therefore advised our present leaders to learn to commend their predecessors in any area they did well and should not because of party politics destroy expected courtesies for those who meant well.

Meanwhile, Okere has observed that Ihedioha may not have known about the overzealous attitude of his aides and expressed surprise that somebody like the Deputy Speaker of Imo State House of Assembly, Hon. Okey Onyekanma who is from Mbaitoli should throw caution to the wind. “His aides were praising him to the high heavens as though he knew anything about RAMP and the price that was paid to have Imo benefit from it’s initiative.

The roads being flagged-off had already been designed, mapped out and captured. And we all knew that Madumere took up World Bank Assisted projects, when Okorocha realized he could not steal the funds and he did wonderfully well. I was happy when Governor Ihedioha also followed up by paying the needed N500 million counterpart fund for NEWMAP. People applauded but it does not mean somebody has not ploughed to attract it to the state.

I must advise Ihedioha never to give room to sycophancy and too much praise singing, as were the cases with Okorocha and his predecessors”, he concluded.

Like the SUBEB projects, which took several pressures from well meaning and right-thinking individuals to convince Ohakim, before he accepted to pay the counterpart funds, the former Governor had ignored the prospects of RAMP, before leaving office in 2011.