When Owelle Rochas of Okorocha was governor of Imo State between 2011 and 2019, he acted as the lord of the mansion. He became what they called in Igbo parlance, eze onye agwalam (the king who cannot be counseled).
He acted as if he knew everything and with impunity. His behavior fell far short of the legacy of inclusive governance left by the kind and charismatic Sam Mbakwe, the former Governor of Imo State of blessed memory whose legacy still mocks the incompetence of the governors of the ‘State after him.
It is written that whatever a man sows he will mature, the legacy of impunity that Okorocha left in Imo State is carried to the next level by his successor, Governor Hope Uzodimma. We will come back to this later.
Okorocha’s tendency towards impunity was legendary and few examples suffice. Recall that in 2014, the leadership of the South East Progressives Assembly, SEPA, accused Governor Rochas Okorocha of brutality, impunity and taxation of his acolytes as leaders of the All Progressives Congress party, APC. The group, in a statement signed by former Okorocha media adviser and SEPA chairman Mr Ebere Uzoukwa, said the governor’s excesses led to the shocking resignation of APC chairman Prince Marshal. Okaforanyanwu.
“Okaforanyanwu simply received its own dose of the toxic concoction of Okorocha use and dumping and almajiri politics, which many of those who also worked to secure his first election victory in 2011, had taken before he did. desert, ”the group said.
SEPA officials accused Okorocha of completely refusing to pay former political office holders, including those he personally appointed in his administration, their statutory and constitutionally prescribed rights, as well as introducing a policy vindictive to Imo allegedly to erase the accomplishments of his predecessors in office.
“Why did he dismantle the provisions of the Income Mobilization, Allocation and Taxation Commission (RMAFC) just to undermine his political appointments?” Why did he subject the contractors to run government projects with borrowed funds only to empty them and refuse them at the time of payment? Governor Okorocha cannot claim to be unaware that some of the contractors lost their lives and valuables to banks due to his non-payment for work performed!
We were all living witnesses to how Rochas Okorocha unsuccessfully tried to impose his son-in-law Uche Nwosu as the candidate for the post of APC governor in Imo state in 2019, an action that sowed the seeds of the APC crisis in the state. Imo State has never recovered since.
Okorocha’s reign was traumatic for the good people of Imo State. The actions and inactions of man have left many people disheartened. One of the calamities that befell the people of Imo was Okorocha’s ruthless demolition of the famous Eke-ukwu Owerri market, despite a court order in effect. Judge SI Okpara had blocked his government from demolishing the market, pending the decision of a complaint filed by the stall owners, but Okorocha ignored the court order.
Hundreds of soldiers and police were deployed to demolish the market and bludgeon protesting traders. Through his action, Okorocha demolished the honest livelihoods of these unfortunate people in the name of a dubious urban renewal project. A 10-year-old boy, Somtochukwu Igboanusi, died in the attack on harmless civilians.
People in positions of authority should not display shameless impunity like Okorocha did when he was in power. He has shown great disregard for the rule of law and the lives of his people. As governor, he forgot that political power is fleeting. Those who hold government positions and believe they will be there forever are deluding themselves.
The market demolition portrayed the utter decrepitude into which our nation had been plunged and the blatant impunity displayed by those in positions of power. The unfortunate affected were not given sufficient notice and no compensation was discussed or paid until bulldozers were dispatched to destroy their properties. There was so much instability in the state with government officials leading by example.
Considering the country’s economic situation, the demolition was carried out in the most inappropriate timeframe. It was not time to destroy people’s homes or destroy the structures that house their livelihoods without a proper alternative arrangement. Many agreed that multi-lane roads are desirable, but that this should not be achieved by suddenly throwing unhappy citizens into homelessness, unemployment and excruciating economic hardship from which they may never recover. And many never recovered.
At the time, it was alleged that the Okorocha demolitions were selfish under the guise of an urban renewal project. What was observed in Imo State at the time was an interested and uncoordinated urban renewal project which largely consists of the demolition of private properties and the transfer of reclaimed plots to friends for private development. . Many believed that a responsive and accountable government would undertake a process that would minimize hardship and disruption to the economic and social lives of citizens. But not Rochas Okorocha. Rather, he embarked on an uncivilized, reckless, reckless and disrespectful model of governance.
The authoritarian administration of Okorocha was characterized by dictatorial power. It is also relevant to note that the Imo, under Okorocha, has become a failed state, with its government unable to fulfill its basic responsibilities to citizens. Facilities in the health, education and other sectors had collapsed, civil servants had not received salaries for years. Retirees languished in poverty, owing to huge unpaid annuities. All of this had resulted in so much poverty in this largely civil servant state. Limited state resources have also been wasted amid poverty.
A good example was when Okorocha suddenly offered a plane, which was reportedly acquired with funds from the suffering masses of the state. He then began to party, with the impression that it was capable of overthrowing the fortunes of the state. The impact of Imo Air has never been felt. A white elephant project! Obviously, the struggling masses in Imo State have nothing to do with air travel. So sad that funds that should have been spent on improving the lives of the masses of the state were diverted towards the acquisition of an aircraft. Imo always pays the price for such a reckless investment with its money.
Who would hastily forget how Rochas Okorocha demolished for the second time the building belonging to a former Minister of the Interior, Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho, as an urban renewal project?
The president of the Nigerian Bar, branch of Owerri at the time, Lawrence Nwakaeti, had reprimanded Rochas Okorocha, for having demolished the building belonging to the former minister. Many had called the act petty, proving that Okorocha was on a vendetta mission against the former minister, who also challenged the governorship in the 2015 general election against him. His action drew wide condemnation and he was warned that it could lead to lawlessness in the state.
Today the seed sown by Rochas Okorocha has led the state to a state of lawlessness where gunmen have been released and many have not been able to return home for Christmas. Okorocha now has a taste of what it means to be on the side and he had a good student in Governor Hope Uzodimma.
The outgoing governor seems to have learned nothing from Okorocha, namely that power is fleeting. On Sunday, December 26, police apparently sent by the Imo State government raided a church and took Rochas Okorocha’s son-in-law Uche Nwosu away. The initial report was that the man had been kidnapped. It was later when the video of the kidnapping went viral that the police confessed and admitted that Nwosu was with them, although no explicit reason was given for his arrest. IMO governors over the past 10 years have taken impunity to a new height and that is not good for democracy.
Expectations for the year 2022
In the coming days, we would enter 2022 with great expectations as a nation. 2021 had been difficult, very difficult for most Nigerians. No money was the cry of most, coupled with the alarming insecurity that had claimed the lives of many. Since the year 2022 would lead us to the election year 2023, it should be full of political activity, starting with the CPA National Convention. 2022 is the year the controversial Election Law Amendment Bill can be enacted for use in the 2023 electoral cycle. Most Nigerians hope that insecurity will be tackled for good so that Nigerians can sleep their eyes out again. closed while farmers feel safe enough to return to their farms.
It is this column’s projection that 2022 will indeed be more difficult unless our political leaders reverse the plunge fueled by their poor governance and their inordinate quest for power!
Aluta Continua !!