By Collins Ughalaa#
*Our elders have a saying that it is not when a tree falls that it gets infested with ants. They also say that a sinner is always on the run when no one is chasing him.*
It should be understood that as far as the Okorocha’s pain-inflicting government in Imo State is concerned, the fear of former Governor Ikedi Ohakim is the beginning of wisdom. This is why the government fears every comment made by the former Governor who has become the Darling of Imo people.
In their rabid fear of Ohakim they have made fruitless efforts to paint him black, destroy his legacies and heap all sorts of baseless allegations against him. But it has become obvious that the harder they try the more they inadvertently make Dr. Ikedi Ohakim the toast of the people.
These days it has become common to hear Imo people say that Ikedi Ohakim is a saint compared to Okorocha. They regret the mistake they made in 2011 when they voted out Mr. Quality Projects who made money circulate during recession. They have also vowed to correct the mistake by returning Ohakim to the the Government House in 2019. It is the fear of Ohakim’s return in 2019 that sends jitters down the spine of the Okorocha’s government.
As former Governor, Dr Ikedi Ohakim is a father in Imo State. He feels the pains of the people because they run to him and pour their mind to him all the time. And as a father he has rightly resolved not to be shut up by the intemperate rantings from the state government against his person and administration. That was why he has continued to show exemplary courage in pointing out alternatives to the unappreciative Okorocha government, and in defence of his people.
It was therefore in keeping with the duty of speaking for the millions of hapless Imo people that the former Governor described as “strange decision” the creation of the Ministry of Happiness and Purpose Fulfilment by Governor Okorocha and the appointment of his blood sister, Mrs. Ogechi Ololo, as the Commissioner for Happiness and Purpose Fulfilment.
“This is a sort of abomination. How can this man continue to insult the sensibilities of Imo citizens?
“Whose happiness are they looking for when salaries and pensions are not paid? Are we looking for the happiness of the Okorocha family and friends?Honestly, this is a bizarre creation and I won’t be surprised to see the Governor’s aides struggling to defend this indefensible act.
“Deliverance is what Okorocha needs for his rescue mission. Someone somewhere is mentally challenged. We pray for help before more than one runs amok”, said Ohakim.
Uncomfortable with Ohakim’s remarks as usual, the state government through a press release on Thursday, December 7, 2017, by the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Sam Onwuemeodo, continued to show their phobia of Ohakim and dish out bare lies against the former Governor.
“Ohakim was governor for four years and has no achievement to his Credit”, said the government. They added that the Ikedi Ohakim “administration could only be associated with the flogging of Citizens, including a Priest.”
Not done with their lies, the CPS went ahead to challenge “Anybody with contrary claim [to] come forward with his facts or verifiable claims”.
Since the Okorocha government behaves as if they descended from the sky and do not know the wonderful achievements of the New Face of Imo administration under Dr Ikedi Ohakim for a period of four years, it has become necessary to present Ohakim’s scorecard once more to discerning Imo people, so that they will continue to see how low the Okorocha government has shamelessly degenerated to government by falsehood.
First, Imo people are tired of the cliché of flogging a Reverend Father. And as a matter of fact Onwuemeodo has a matter in court to prove his baseless claim that Ohakim flogged a Reverend Father. The whole idea behind taking him to court on the subject is to address the issue once and for all. Beyond that, the man who made popular the falsehood of Ohakim’s beating of a Catholic priest, Fiery Rev Father Ejike Mbaka, has since recanted publicly and told the whole world how he was deceived into buying the falsehood against “an innocent man”. It is also very instructive that for 8 years now nobody has seen or heard from the said Reverend Father. Or, did the beating of the priest happen in the dream?
It is rather heart warming that most people in Imo State have seen how dishonest the Okorocha government is. For example, for a period of four years, and with a pittance of N145bn as revenue in four years, the Ohakim administration was able to asphalt 420 km of roads while 320km were still under construction by the time he left office in 2011. These roads which have remained as strong as when they were made include: Ihube Amagu-Ozara Road, Amaraku Ring Road Roundabout, Umuobom Road in Ideato South LGA, Ife-Ovuvu Umunama Road in Ezinihitte Mbaise LGA, Anara-Nwangele Road, Oriagu-Ezeoke Anglican Church Road, Umuneke-Umundochie Obike Ndachi Road, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Drive in Owerri, Dual Carriage Road in Okohia, Isiala Mbano LGA, etc.
The truth is that the Ohakim administration saw the whole of Imo State as one constituency and decided that development should cut across the entire state. This was why the government did not concentrate attention in Owerri for cheap and unenduring applause. But it must be mentioned that the Ohakim administration built solid bridges and commenced the construction of the first-in-history flyovers in Owerri, in line with opening up the state.
Igbo people know the strategic role water plays in their daily life. That is why they say that water is life. In realising the essence of water to development of the people and as critical index in MDG development target, the Ikedi Ohakim administration pursued an aggressive programme to provide clean portable water to the people of the state everywhere. This led to the completion of 1,325 water schemes throughout the state.
These water schemes include: Egbuoma Market Square Solar Water Scheme (Oguta LGA), Umuokpara Luwe Solar Water Scheme (Isiala Mbao LGA), Umuokpara Ugiri Solar Water Scheme (Isiala Mbano), Amaimo Akume Water scheme (Oru East), etc.
It is to the disingenuous acts of the Okorocha government and their desperation to destroy Ohakim’s legacies that they destroyed this all-important public utility. Today, there is no public water anywhere in Imo State.
Despite its meager revenue, the Ikedi Ohakim administration built public buildings, including the new Governor’s Office, Government House, Owerri; Ahiajoku Convention Center; renovated the state high court buildings, Owerri and Orlu LGA. Others include the Appeal Court building, the Arugo Gardens Housing Scheme, etc.
Ohakim’s Imo Roads Maintenance Agency (IROMA) has remained unbeaten. This programme which was saddled with opening up the rural communities and maintaining rural roads was created by law and saw massive investment in the form of 27 graders, 27 heavy duty tippers, 27 Hilux pickup vans, 6 pay loaders, 3 rollers, 270 shovels, 270 head pans, 270 rakes and 54 motorcycles.
IROMA rehabilitated 270 roads while tarring was to commence under RAMP, after the Ohakim government had paid its N150m counterpart funding. But sadly, under Governor Okorocha’s watch, not only did he abandon the IROMA projects, all the equipments have disappeared. Also, the Okorocha government should explain to Imo people what happened to the RAMP projects.
Also, Ohakim’s achievements in the health sector will continue to remain a nightmare to the Okorocha government. The Ohakim administration renovated the primary health centers in the 27 LGAs, provided boreholes and 40KVA soundproof generators. He fenced all the health centers; provided ambulances, diagnostic equipments, drugs, cold chains, etc.
The Ikedi Ohakim administration did not leave out the general hospitals as they were also improved upon, including the General Hospital, Mbieri, in Mbaitoli LGA, where Okorocha’s Deputy, Prince Eze Madumere, comes from; General Hospital, Arondizuogu, Ideato North LGA and the General Hospital, Okigwe, etc.
It is interesting, however, that after seven years of leaving office, the Ikedi Ohakim administration remains the measuring stick for the Okorocha’s government that has got 8 years.
Therefore, it is only proper to pause here and ask Governor Okorocha’s CPS to tell Imo people whether theese achievements recorded by Ikedi Ohakim while he was in office as presented herein is true or not. Only then will it be necessary to continue this conversation and remind Imo people of Ohakim’s exploit in education, security, urban renewal, job creation, the civil service, agriculture, transportation, power, housing, tourism. Moreover, mention must be made of the more than N26bn Dr Ohakim handed over to Governor Okorocha in 2011.