God willing, by May 29, 2019, most State administrations in Nigeria, will be winding up. Some State Chief Executives, that is, the governors, may be remembered for their good deeds while in office, while others may be battling for survival, either to extricate themselves from being confined in the “Hall of shame” in their respective States or being accorded Executive status as Very Important Personality (V. I. P) inmates at kuje Prisons, Abuja or any other available Federal Prisons facility in the State wherein they hitherto held sway as the alpha and omega.
How time flies! Nothing is permanent in life except change and death. Nobody no matter how great, educated, smart and affluent, can ultimately escape these two phenomena in his or her life.
When Governor Rochas Okorocha zoomed into the seat of power in Imo State on May 29, 2011, it was as if he has reached the zenith of life. He acted like late Emperor Nero of Rome. He was adored almost up to the point of worship by some gullible ones in and outside Imo.
He carried himself with great aplomb. He became very loquacious. He supposedly retired all the founders of Imo and anybody he felt could challenge his unlimited wisdom, at least so he myopically claimed. He metamorphosed into the modern day Field Marshall, Dr, Alhaji Idi Dada Amin “ the strongest black leader and conqueror of the British empire”. His arrogance and meanness to Imo People had no comparison. He punished Imo people with deceitful smiles. He was an ideal comedian. He also prided himself as the self acclaimed messiah of the masses. Every known abracadabra was in fact, associated with Owelle Rochas Okorocha.
Alas, the 2019 general elections came. Just like most empty headed but self conceited rulers of his ilk, he boasted like the Philistine Goliath did in the Holy Bible. Little did he know that God, the Omnipotent Father, had positioned a quiet but focused, rugged and skillful archer to bring him down from his high horse. In his swollen headedness, he never imagined that a humble leader like Rt Hon. Emeka Ihedioha would be his albatross as David was to Goliath.
The rest of the story we all know. Everybody in Imo today, is at least happy and at rest because sanity and orderliness have gradually started crawling back into socio-economic activities in the State. The reign and lordship of touts and miscreants over responsible Imo citizens have obviously ebbed away.
Despondency is steadily making way for re-kindled hope for a better and prosperous Imo. The scales have fallen off people’s eyes and they have now seen through the façade Okorocha has all these while used in blanketing his real self.
However, despite losing his third term ambition through his proxy and son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, many had thought the outgoing governor would have been sobered. Okorocha, instead of making restitution and apologizing to Imolites, has still kept carrying himself as if “nothing dey happen”. He has rather devised more dangerous means of bequeathing the in-coming Governor, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, a dilapidated and disoriented state in all facets. He has resorted to digging pits for the in- coming governor to fall into, just to discredit him.
On Tuesday, April 23, 2019, he announced an exasperating programme of activities for the inauguration and handing over ceremony of the new administration without any modicum of decency to consult his successor which however, he seemed now to redressed. Before then, he had appointed Chairmen and members of Boards and parastatals about two weeks earlier and back dated their appointment letters to January this year. His Secretary to the State Government, Mark Uchendu, even mischievously told the bewildered board members that their appointment is tenured and that no government can sack them. This was just to cause disharmony and confusion.
While Imo people were still wondering if the operators of the out-going anti-people government have really gone mad, as some political analysts were alluding, Okorocha came with his rhetoric of building six universities, four polytechnics and two colleges of Education. For the eight years he was running his mouth and gallivanting about aimlessly, he didn’t consider it paramount to make these make-belief institutions operational. At the twilight of his perfidious regime, he suddenly woke up to his responsibilities as a governor. What an irony!
As Imo people and indeed Nigerians were still dazed by the scheming of Okorocha, he struck again. This time, he announced the relocation of Imo State Polytechnic, Umuagwo in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area to Ehime Mbano LGA. But he turned around to tell Imo people that the institution was merely re-named.
Perhaps, he taught the people are so daft that they could not decipher between the denotative meanings of the two words – relocation and renaming. Meanwhile, the outgoing governor had given a marching order for the immediate movement of both staff and office equipment to Ehime Mbano, the new site housing another glorified secondary school which he has re-christened a Polytechnic, just to justify his bogus claims.
Of course, the host community housing the Imo Polytechnic, Umuagwo, revolted against this unpopular decision. The kicked against Okorocha’s Greek gift.
According to them, the governor’s style is anti-people and militates against the development of the area. They accused Okorocha of insincerity, pointing out that they would not allow him mislead them again as he has done on several occasions, insisting that they were satisfied with the Polytechnic and do not need his last minute university.
Some of the placards read: “We are okay with our polytechnic”, “ Umuagwo youths and all indigenes say no to kangaroo University”, “No polytechnic, no land”, “we will not fall mugu again to Okorocha” etc.
On a very critical appraisal, one begins to ask what the real motive of the outgoing governor is. Can a servant be forced on a unwilling master?
If it is re-naming, perhaps, there wouldn’t have been any hullabaloo. But Okorocha, as usual, was saying one thing and doing a different thing. He can’t “relocate and re-name” at the same time.
The fundamental questions thus arise:
a. Did he provide any accommodations for the relocating academic and non-academic staff at Ehime Mbano?
b. Are there enabling environments for the relocated polytechnic to immediately and seamlessly resume academic activities?
c. Can the structure in Umuagwo polytechnic house the new Imo State University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences?
d. Where are the facilities for the take off of the new university?
e. Where will the personnel be sourced from for the University apart from the ceremonial naming of the Vice Chancellor and Governing Board members, who are obviously Okorocha’s cronies?
f. How is the new University to be funded more so, when there was no feasibility studies before the hotchpotch announcement?
g. Why did Okorocha wait till few weeks to his inglorious exit to announce the establishment of litany of universities and other tertiary institutions.
h. What happens to the economic interests of private developers in Umuagwo? These and more are pertinent questions begging for answers, which unfortunately, neither Okorocha nor his foot soldiers can provide answers to.
The bottom line remains that the new University being sited in Umuagwo is a huge joke, a ruse of unimaginable proportions. Okorocha has failed and deceived Imo people for too long and cannot win back their love and trust again, no matter how he schemes. Again, no amount of socio-economic and political traps he sets for the in-coming governor can hold water. Even God has rejected him as he did to Saul.
Recently, it was also discovered that about 3000 persons mostly related to Okorocha, have been reportedly smuggled into the state Civil Service and their appointment letters back dated to 2017. These people never passed through the crucibles or standard civil service procedure for recruitment. There was no job advertisement, no collection/submission of application etc. They were clandestinely smuggled in like contra banned goods, just to bloat the wage bill of the state government and make it difficult for in-coming administration to meet its obligations to Civil and Public servants in the state. And, if sacked, the contra banned human entities will cry blue murder against Rt. Hon Emeka Ihedioha.
There is also massive looting of government properties mostly in offices occupied by Okorocha’s political appointees. To prove how mentally poor Okorocha and his men are , even mattresses, upholstery chairs, table top fridges, rods, standing fans, plates/cutleries etc have allegedly developed wings and disappeared suddenly. A visit to Deputy Governor’s Office and the Imo International Convention Centre (IICC) can buttress this assertion. All the beautiful upholstery chairs in IICC have vanished and in their place, they have shamelessly replaced them with white plastic chairs.
Is this how a State should be governed? Is this a befitting legacy from a governor who ruled Imo for eight years? Where is the money to replace these massively looted government properties? To worsen matters, the more the people decry the looting spree, the more Okorocha’s men orchestrate it as if it is a virtue.
Where are most of the government vehicles with Government House plate numbers (IMGH)? A careful study showed that most of these vehicles are now “miraculously” off road without any trace. Of course, what do we expect from a government that has openly acknowledged its disdain for due process and rule of law? It is now to “to your tents oh Israel”.
Okorocha has even gone ahead to appoint Chairman and members of a commission he baptized “Imo Entertainment and Carnival Commission”. My brothers and sisters, this is a full known Commission like the good ones already in existence. What manner of a man is Okorocha?
I ask: what happens to his “Bongo Square” and “Ministry of Happiness and Purpose Fulfillment? Invariably, he has abandoned those ones.
To any foresighted Imolite and Nigerian, Okorocha has indeed activated his “Plan B” to pull Rt. Hon Ihedioha’s administration down. He knows that having been rejected by Imo people at the polls, the election tribunal will only amount to a mere academic exercise. He has therefore, swiftly resorted to digging deep burrows for the in-coming governor to fall into.
Imo people should really pray for the in-coming administration to over-come Okorocha’s land mines. He is hell bent on luring the in-coming government into the same path of dishonor with him. He claims to have built a new prison facility for prison inmates in Owerri but if he doesn’t repent now, he may end up being the first Executive V.I.P. inmate in that facility as recently adduced by comrade Adams Oshimhole, his party’s National Chairman.
The God of Somtochukwu and Imo people is not asleep for “whatever a man soweth, he shall reap”. All these pits he is digging for the in-coming governor freely chosen by Imo people will back fire, for “no weapon fashioned against the Lord’s anointed shall prevail”. Okorocha himself, shall fall into those pits.
This month (May) might witness more of these absurdities. Imo, as at today, has become an absurdist theatre courtesy of out-going Governor Okorocha. Suddenly, it has now dawned on him that whatever has a beginning must also have an end.
Nevertheless, the emperor, his drummers and blind followers must know that “no matter how thousands of flies might hover over a mould of cassava, they cannot move it.” Okorocha must know that thousand pits or burrows dug over-night cannot prevail against the in-coming government because of the Godliness, caliber, capability, capacity and pedigree of Imo’s Chief Librator, Rt. Hon. Ihedioha. His seeming reticence in the face of these anomalies being deliberately orchestrated by the out-going administration should be food for thought for those enemies of Ndi-Imo, if at all they make use of their senses “That the crocodile deliberately opened its mouth very wide for river birds to peck at, does not mean it cannot bite,” so says the legendary Prof Chinua Achebe. Anybody who chews with caution never bites his own tongue. Okorocha is chewing recklessly. Like a leopard, he can never change his colours.
Nevertheless and no matter what happens, Imo people can never go back to Egypt. Together, Imo has be recovered and shall be rebuilt to the glory of God.
BY KENNEDY EWEAMA (08035529265)