| Governor Rochas Okorocha|
Anayo Herbert Kelechi
The executive governor of Imo State,
His Excellency, Chief Rochas Okorocha while narrating the full import of his
government’s rescue mission likened it to the Israel’s rescue operation in
Uganda tagged “90 minutes at Entebbe”. Although, the Entebbe raid was acted
with exquisite sense of timing, its target of rescuing Israeli hostages from
Field Marshall Idi Amin Dada was of vital strategic importance to Israel’s
prestige as a nation. Nevertheless, the rescue operation as mission
accomplished had all the hostages rescued and airlifted to Israel.
In view of the foregoing, governor
Okorocha’s rescue agenda in Imo State lacks vision, since it was likened to the
Israel’s operation in Uganda, which has its distinctive circumstance. In fact,
such an imitation cannot pass for a vision. It can be a mere daydream, which
most times, cannot be turned into reality due to lack of originality and
Apparently, within 10 months in
office, a state government that purports to be on rescue mission could not pass
simple litmus test as it still appears insensitive to the two factors, namely
to rescue people in supposed desperate plight, and to achieve it within a time
frame. Thus, the only question on the lips of Imo people is “who is the rescue
government actually rescuing or for who is effort made in that direction?”
Is it the Transition Committee (TC)
Chairmen at the Local Government Councils (LGCs) that have neither members nor
appointment letters and all the paraphernalia of office? Or, is it the stooge
members of the Imo State House of Assembly (IMHA) and the rescue government
appointees who act as guinea pigs in the midst of being denied the pleasure of
using brand new official vehicles and the benefit of all the entitlements
attached to their offices? Or, is it the state civil servants who are at a
crossroads between asking for a stop to an endless screening of certificates
and craving for the actual computation of the hyped N20, 000 new minimum wage,
which should have placed to them above the federal civil servants?
Let’s tell ourselves the bitter
truth! Is governor Okorocha in all sincerity paying the state civil servants
far and above their counterparts in the federal civil service who are earning
N18, 000 minimum wage? What is this lackadaisical mentality beclouding Imo
people that a spade can no longer be addressed as such? Nevertheless, the civil
servants know too well that the table used by governor Okorocha in calculating
the so-called N20, 000 minimum wage does not give a value worth up to N11, 000
minimum wage, and they are afraid to voice out this truth for fear of
Building Trust And Engaging The People:
One is worried at the level of lies,
falsehood, deceit, and abracadabra, which the Imo people have brazenly admitted
to contend with.
* It is beyond every reasonable
doubt that governor Okorocha did not cut down any state security vote as
claimed. Reference to the 2011 budget reveals that the said state security vote
was N2billion and not N6billion. Therefore, for governor Okorocha to claim that
he cut down the said state security vote to N2.5billion is a criminal
projection aimed at hoodwinking the Imo people for self aggrandizement to the
tune of N500million. This is fraud.
*Imolites are no daft to be deceived
that governor Okorocha paid 2-12years pensions to retirees whereas he merely paid
3months arrears in a dramatized interactive session. This window dressing to
attract undeserved applause was stage –managed to portray the past governors of
Imo State as insensitive to the plight of the retirees while masquerading as “a
self acclaimed messiah”.
Sectoral Review Of Performance:
*The totality of the public works
and infrastructural projects embarked upon by governor Okorocha are all at
their teething stages that should not warrant any self glory or applause. It is
sad to note that the award of these contracts did not follow due process
because according to governor Okorocha, “in rescue mission, there is no
*The verbosity in respect of
breaking the age-long jinx about Okigwe and Orlu regarding the location of such
white elephant projects as a five star hotel, a civic centre, a modern stadium,
etc are the usual fallacious promises of governor Okorocha. It can be likened
to the N100million development fund promised to each of the LGAs in the State,
which till date is yet to be realized. To add salt to injury, governor Okorocha
promised another N1billion to each of the LGAs in a manner that presents him as
one in need of psychiatric diagnosis and spiritual deliverance so as to bring
his flippancy to a bearable level.
*Governor Okorocha has made a ruse of education in the
Imo State public school system with his ill conceived free education programme.
Disappointedly, the governor is busy politicizing the N100 stipend to school
children, while the imprest to run the schools have not been made available,
which invariably affects the quality of the so-called free education. Recently,
the school children were restive on why the state government could not live up
to its words of N100 daily stipend, which was paid for the first (and last)
time in October 2011.
*In the face of the above, governor
Okorocha perfected another lies and deceit phenomenon where he promised free education
scheme and mouthwatering bursary for all Imo State undergraduates in the Imo
State University (IMSU), Owerri and the Imo State Polytechnic (ImoPoly),
Umuagwo. If Lagos, Rivers, and Bayelsa States whose Internally Generated
Revenue (IGR) surpasses the federal allocation to Imo State cannot offer free
tertiary education programme, and are finding it difficult to grapple with that
of the secondary and primary schools, one marvels at why governor Okorocha
thinks he can always play on the intelligence of the enlightened Imo citizens.
*Imo people witnessed how governor
Okorocha rebranded all the Hilux vans and Healthcare delivery hummer buses in
the State to credit his so-called rescue government. Even, the additional 100
Ford Ranger Trucks, which he claimed to have purchased, were actually donated
by banks to the State government. The governor was not ashamed to present these
trucks to Imo people as his achievement in his first 100days in office, which
he earlier planned not to celebrate.
*In the same manner, the said
governor re-allocated all the official vehicles (acquired by the past
administration) to his political appointees who invariably were denied the
comfort of brand new official vehicles. Thus, the money so conserved from not
purchasing any new vehicle is not seen to have been meaningfully utilized by
the Okorocha’s government.
*In late January 2012, governor
Okorocha visited Gombe, Bauchi and Kano States for his 2015 presidential
ambition. However, he claimed to have visited and held meetings with the Igbos,
and found out that no Igbo were killed in any of the Boko Haram attacks. Thanks
to God that Rochas abracadabra did not charm the visibly annoyed Chairman of
Ohaneze ndi Igbo of Kano State who was quick to respond that, “Okorocha did not
enter Sabon Gari to see anybody. He came for his own political business. He did
not come to see Ndigbo. He did not set foot in the community”. This is
how governance has been reduced to a child’s play where time, effort and money
are wasted on frivolities.
(d)Imo State Civil Service Reform And Commercialization Programme:
It is on record that governor
Okorocha has addressed Imolites on several occasions on the issue of the State
being very rich. However, one is amazed on why, in the midst of this professed
plenty, the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) were directed by the
governor to engage in commercial activities in order to generate their salaries
and allowances, while subventions to these MDAs have since been completely withdrawn.
What a contradiction and double speak by governor Okorocha!
(e)Reducing The Cost Of
*Governor Okorocha, in his address
on “The State Of Imo” told Imolites that, “one of the biggest setbacks to the
development of our nation has been the unusually high and largely unjustified
cost of governance. Unfortunately, our State was a classic example of how
resources could be frittered away by the excessive overheads and a plethora of
unwholesome practices fueled, to a large extent, by greed and avarice”. The
same governor Okorocha who claims to be patriotic and prudent by his so-called
rescue agenda deceived Imo people by wasting a whopping sum of N2billion on a
trip to woo investors from purported seven countries. Imolites are still
waiting for the investors to arrive.
*During the same address on “The
State Of Imo”, governor Okorocha disclosed that “my government since inception
has not borrowed a kobo”. Thus, the governor should in the spirit of his
acclaimed prudent management of the State resources explain the following:
-Who borrowed the N10billion and
N50billion respectively in 2011, and which were approved as supplementary
budgets by the stooge IMHA?
-Who borrowed N6billion for
repayment of purported loan owed to UBA PLC by the past administration?
-Who borrowed another N6billion for
supposedly counterpart fund for UBE, ETF, MDG, etc?
-Who borrowed N5billion for
fruitless adventure of re-surfacing good and motorable roads in Owerri
-Who borrowed a whopping sum of
N10billion for phantom infrastructural development?
The loans are endless. Who is
governor Okorocha fooling? Perhaps, governor Okorocha is right, because he is
yet to start the actual borrowing spree.
*Whereas governor Okorocha is busy
siphoning the State funds, he turns round with a Catholic look to tell
easy-going Imolites what they like to hear about manna falling from heaven.
Without fear of contradictions, Concorde hotel has been suffocated in the guise
of renovation to pave way for LA MONDE hotel (owned by governor Okorocha) to
reap all government sponsored socio-political activities. Roche group
International (owned by governor Okorocha) controls all the ETF and UBE
contracts at IMSUBEB as well as manages ADAPALM, Concorde hotel, and ITC. LA
MONDE Press, LA MONDE Guest House, Concorde newspapers, and Rochas Convention
Center Fast Food are other conduit pipes of governor Okorocha for siphoning
state fund. No wonder, governor Okorocha once said, “I am here for a mission,
and the mission shall come to pass. Don’t see me as a conventional governor,
but a radical governor, that is why I don’t observe protocol”.
*A friend, Kenneth Uwadi once wrote,
“Okorocha has been proclaiming heaven that will become of Imo State. Every
month, he will make press release, promising Imolites heaven on earth. To get
cheap popularity, he rents praise singers who lie to the world that all is
honky dory with Imo State. Our ears are sore with ‘we will build this and that’
in place of ‘we have done this and that’.” Indeed, Imo people are
yearning for result. Do governor Okorocha realize that he sacked the following
groups of Imo people from the government pay roll?
(a)The beneficiaries of the 10,000
(b)The elected LGC chairmen, the
deputy chairmen, the councilors, the supervisory councilors in the 27 LGAs
(their personal assistants and drivers).
(c)The Co-ordinators and members of
the Local Government Development Centers in the 27 LGAs (including their
personal assistants and drivers).
(d)The chairmen and members of the
various boards of government departments and agencies (including their personal
assistants and drivers).
In fact, these groups result in a
combined total of about 16,000 Imo people displaced. Till date, there is no
replacement with other Imo people begging for rescue. Then, where do we place
governor Okorocha and his rescue mission in the annals of Imo history?
It poses a great difficulty to
reconcile the random and reckless utterances of governor Okorocha with the
realities on ground in Imo State. A situation where MDAs are subjected to
generate their salaries and allowances; where contractors are subjected to fund
government projects to completion without payment; where in ten months in
office, a government borrowed a sum of money more than the sum total of the
borrowings of three previous administrations in Imo State; where governor
Okorocha sets up numerous private outfits which took over the management and
control of government contracts, departments and agencies for his self
aggrandizement; where about 16,000 Imolites were deprived of their legitimate
jobs without payment of their entitlements or their replacement thereof smacks
of a government cover-up and hypocrisy. It’s time to stop the lies and deceit.
EFCC will, indeed be needed to help Imolites unravel the true
accountability of the reckless and mischievous financial transactions of
governor Okorocha’s rescue government in Imo State.