By Bembe Hilary
There is heightened tension in government quarters and top civil service offices following the continued absence of the Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha in Imo State.
Okorocha had a fortnight ago left the State capital and travelled out of the country prompting the media aide to issue a statement to the effect by stating that he was in a trade mission. A media aide to the Governor had in the statement disclosed that the Okorocha “left Owerri weekend to Abuja from where he left the country and will be back in few days time”.
The statement further added that, “Imo Governor had travelled with two economic aides and had gone for continued talks with some investors who have shown enough interest to come to the State and invest”.
From few days of the expected return, according to Government House, Okorocha’s stay in abroad has multiplied to two weeks without further explanation from the information unit, thereby fueling heightened tension and uneasy calm especially among aides.
Government appointees and staffers in Government House are spotted speaking in hushed tones and in groups when our reporter visited the place. There is serious concern written on the faces of the appointees who are in deep thought over the continued stay of the Governor in overseas.
The fear became aggravated as there has been no news or details of the Governors itinerary on his trade mission since he travelled out of the State. A top aide who functions as a Commissioner told Trumpeta in anonymity when accosted that everything has come to a standstill since Okorocha travelled out adding that his absence has grinded the State to a halt leading to tension and anxiety. The appointee noted that critical actions that need the approval of the Governor have been put on hold since there was no official handover of reins of power to the second in command, who is the Deputy Governor, Prince Eze Madumere.
Other sources creating anxiety over the absence of the Governor is the non provision of official statement from the Chief executive on last weekend’s minor disturbances in Ideato land where six people were allegedly killed including people of the area and Hausas residing in Ideato North LGA. It was expected that on getting wind of the skirmishes, Okorocha would have dashed home from abroad to handle and assess the situation. But as at the time of report, he has not been spotted in the State.
Another factor giving the Rescue Mission apostles cause to worry about Okorocha’s absence is the spate of demolitions with the attendant hazards like heavy traffic and flood ravaging some parts of the State capital. Okorocha’s absence has left the problems unattended to leading to widespread complaints and outburst from the populace. Some of the ongoing expansions of road projects have come to a standstill including the House of Assembly/World Bank road junction on PortHarcourt Road, Owerri.
There are feelers that Okorocha may have extended his stay abroad to felicitate with the daughter who put to bed recently in foreign land, even as fears are rife should the Governor keep away till Tuesday next week when Labour leaders are planning to storm the State and protest Government’s anti Laboour Policies, those left behind may not have capacity to accommodate the consequences.
Unlike in the past where government makes public the programs of the Governor, nothing has been heard of the trade mission and possible date of Okorocha’s arrival from abroad.
By Bembe Hilary