|Governor Rochas Okorocha|
By Kenneth Uwadi
So far so good, election in Nigeria has come and gone and we can see for ourselves that the final result of the governorship election in Imo State is a reflection of the aspiration of the people of the state. Like the saying goes, "Vox populi, Vox Dei," meaning, the voice of the people is the voice of God, Owelle Rochas Okorocha is the new occupant of Douglas House Owerri. One cannot be wrong to say that the people love him because he is a philanthropist. Okorocha has been a philanthropist of international repute overtime. He owns about five free secondary schools in Nigeria that are spread across Owerri, Ogboko, Kano, Ibadan and Jos. In these schools, children, mostly of poor parents go to school free. The Rochas Foundation sponsors their school fees, supplies them with books, feeding, transportation and accommodation.
Okorocha has said it in several places that he is on a mission to rescue the state from the shackles of poverty and under-development. He said that his desire to quickly develop the State could be likened to scenes in a popular film in the 1980s entitled: “Ninety Minutes at Entebbe.” He said that he is in a hurry to develop the state and that Imo will be a well secured state devoid of kidnapping, 419ners and armed robbery. He also said that he will run a people-oriented government where every decision taken would be anchored on how it would protect lives and property, improve the welfare of the people as well as protect their interest. He also said that he is going to create jobs for the people of the state. He is going to ensure that schools are functional and that he is going to embark on massive road construction and rehabilitation in the entire geopolitical zones that make up the state.
Imo people are waiting and watching. The expectations from Okorocha are very high. It is like somebody who goes into a boxing ring to challenge a champion. It is always difficult to wrestle that championship out, and when you do wrestle it out and becomes a champion it is also more difficult to remain as a champion. This is the position he is in for now. He has succeeded in wrestling out power from Chief Ikedi Ohakim and he has to fight to be at the top .The masses expect a lot from him. He has good policies if adhered to.
One thing that I see that may throw spanner in the works of the Okorocha’s administration if not put under control is the governor’s quick temper. Okorocha should try to put his volcanic temper under control .Sources say he has hot temper flowing in his veins and that this makes him not to follow due process in some of his actions. A lot of temperament issues have been widely reported nationally about him. Those who have been on the receiving end of an Okorocha’s uproar include former Governor Ikedi Ohakim, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Staff of Horn Newspapers, Goodluck Nanah Opiah and many others.
An example of hot head in Okorocha was when few days after he was elected as governor of Imo State , he wrote letters to banks in the state instructing them to no longer honour cheques from the Ikedi Ohakim ‘s administration. Ohakim, then was still the Chief Executive Officer of the state irrespective of his defeat at the polls. There is nothing like the office of the governor elect. The governor has to keep control of his temper .I remember when out of frustration for not securing a venue for a campaign rally, he took laws into his hands and barricaded four major roads in Owerri including the one leading to Government House. He also instigated his supporters to attack the convoy of Ikedi Ohakim who was with former president, Olusegun Obasanjo. What of during the campaign days when his supporters unleashed mayhem on Nigerian Horn Newspapers. The Newspaper had published a news-story that Rochas was a member of Ogboni fraternity. The APGA chieftain could not hold himself and his supporters. By the time his supporters left the premises of Horn, destruction, desolation and near death reigned supreme.
Okorocha should know that for a man of his status, there's bound to be closer media scrutiny. Recently, he barred civil servants from entering into the state’s secretariat, for resuming late for work. The governor, who visited the secretariat along the Owerri-Port Harcourt express road at 8.30, ordered that the secretariat be locked up when he discovered that many workers were yet to report for work. The governor, who later after hours, asked that the gates be opened, warned that such would not be tolerated in future. Even some of his close pals acknowledge fuse in him but say that it cannot affect his success as a governor.
Easily jumping into a fray can mar a man. The governor showered this attitude again by sponsoring an illegal impeachment of Chief Goodluck Nanah Opiah as the Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly with only eleven members of the house just five days to the expiration of the tenure of Opiah. Imo State House of Assembly has 27 members and impeachment of the speaker in accordance with the provision of the Nigerian constitution and the House Rules require 2/3 of members of the house. Eleven members resorted into legislative rascality and lawless by breaking into the chambers and announcing the impeachment of the speaker. The members were instigated by Okorocha to embark on a vendetta mission against the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state. I was told that the operation was funded with over N500 million naira.
To me no one should keep a trigger anywhere near the governor. His temper can parachute and he blows someone’s head off. He also needs good advisers near him always if he wants to succeed. I heard he plans to in a few weeks dissolve the 106 newly recognized autonomous communities in Imo state and sack the Chairmen and Councillors of Local Government Areas in the state. This idea is not a good one. It is too early for the governor to throw the state into uncertainty and tension. He should look before he leap
(Uwadi writes from Mmahu-Egbema, Imo State ,Nigeria)