BY PROTUS NATHAN UZORMA#
According to one of the fables of the great philosopher Aesop, he narrated a story of the lion and the boar. He said one hot and thirsty day in the height of the summer a lion and a boar came down to a little spring at the same moment to drink. In a trice they were quarrelling as to who should drink first. The quarrel soon became a fight and they attacked one another with the utmost fury. Presently, stopping for a moment to take a breath, they saw some vultures seated on a rock above evidently waiting for one of them to be killed, when they would fly down and feed upon the carcass.
The sight sobered them at once, and they made up their quarrel, saying, we had much better be friends than fight and be eaten by vultures.
One of the things I have asked of God recently is to endow my understanding with patience. Patience is a necessary ingredient of genius and it gives one proper understanding of life. All fruits do not ripen in one season and like the sayings of Lao Tzu as contained in the Tao Te Ching, “Be as careful at the end as at the beginning and there will be no ruined enterprises, therefore the sage desires not to desire and does not value goods which are hard to come by”.
No one is perfect but an Arabic proverb has it that “A wise man associating with the vicious becomes an idiot; a dog travelling with good men becomes a rational being”. I want to infer here that he that takes the devil into his boat must carry him over the sound.
The story of Aesop concerning the lion and the boar on who was going to drink from the water first which finally snowballed to quarrel that finally resulted to fight, is a thing to properly reflect upon. The lion and the boar became thirsty in the height of the summer and upon sighting a little spring they came to quench their thirst, the quarrel of who was going to drink first became the issue. The same led to a serious fight which ended in fury but stopping a moment to take little breath they consequently saw some vultures seated and praying God for one of them to die for food to be made available.
The sight of vultures sobered them at once and they made up their quarrel by keenly advising themselves to be friends than to fight and be eaten by vultures. The story truly reflects the position of Imo workers and Gov. Rochas Okorocha the executive governor of Imo State.
There was a time (if it is still not on) in Imo state that the lion (Gov Rochas) and the boar (Imo workers) fought for their rights. Yes of course, their rights because Gov. Rochas Okorocha is also a worker though not a civil servant. I remember some months ago when Gov. Rochas Okorocha informed Imo people that the Government of Imo State owed him billions of naira, there were reactions. Imo workers are saying that Gov. Rochas also owes them months of unpaid salaries, severance allowances and so on. Pensioners are on their own singing the song of pain for government negligence to their plight.
Within that period, Imo workers went on five days warning strike. I was amazed to hear that some workers were owned up to eight to eleven months salaries in the state, meaning before the election, their salaries were not paid yet they were all chanting, “Our governor, our governor”. If I may ask, was such chanting of “My governor, my governor” with clear eyes or was it under any esoteric influence? Only the lord of Imo politics can answer such question. In the same vein, Gov. Okorocha claimed he was owned for five years 2011-2015. Gov. Rochas confirmed that Imo Government owed him #16 billion. He said this on May Ist, 2015 being workers Day. At the celebration ground Chief Okorocha reminded Imo state that she owed him #16 billion naira the sum total of the accrued security vote which according to him was voted for free education in Imo state.
Imo state government owes lot of money. Posterity shall justify my averments. Imo people are suffering so much, I pity them. Gov. Rochas on the other hand is suffering because Imo state Government has refused to pay him the #16 billion she owns him. As a result of the unpaid salaries then, Imo workers went for a week warning strike. I had expected my governor to proceed for a strike too but being the kind person that he is, he has refused to proceed on strike or has Imo government paid Gov. Rochas?
Pain makes man think. Thought makes man wise. Wisdom makes life endurable. In the words of Montaigne, “He, who fears he shall suffer, already suffers what he fears”. Like Friedrich Nietzsche, “What does not kill me makes me stronger”. Is it that Gov Rochas has forgotten the money by being stronger or that he finds consolation from some monies that Imolites do not know about? Or has he been paid? Has he used the Paris club money to free himself from the debt? I want to know if the money has been paid.
I am not judging him but like it was rumored in the social media few months ago that he has in JP Morgan (bank) in New York the sum of $ 1.4 billion, this is not enough to make Gov. Rochas to forgo his #16 billion that Imo state Government owes or owed him.
People say “Experience is the best teacher” but I wish to add that the school fees are very heavy. Imo is learning! In the words of Socrates, “Remember that there is nothing stable in human affairs; therefore avoid undue elation in prosperity, or undue depression in adversity.” Now if our governor has not been paid his #16 billion, and Imo pensioners are expecting him to pay them with Paris club money, are they not joking? Charity must first begin at home; so governor Rochas must pay himself before paying anybody.
Our governor should tell us whether Imo government has paid him or not. If all the alleged financial diversion, siphoning and misappropriation are as a result of the debt, I wish to humbly implore Ndi Imo to pay Gov. Rochas before it is too late.