Owelle Rochas Okorocha is the fifth civilian Governor of Imo State. By May 29, 2019, he would hand over power to another fellow who will pilot the affairs of Imo State for the next four years. And if this person does well in office, Imo electorate will renew his/her mandate for another four years as enshrined in Nigerian constitution.
Before Okorocha, Imo State had Chief Sam Mbakwe, Senator Evan Enwerem, Chief Achike Udenwa and Dr Ikedi Ohakim as Governors.
However, among all these Governors, none had a heavy and massive support from all the sectors of Imo State like Okorocha when he swept into office in 2011.
But as Okorocha prepares to vacate office in the next few months, it remains topic of discussion whether the out-going Governor still retains his good-will among a majority of Imo populace, as it were when the masses rooted for him.
To Okorocha, he has performed well. He said it in different fora that he has out-performed all the previous Governors that ruled Imo put together.
Therefore, the question is, if Okorocha has out-performed Mbakwe, Enwerem, Udenwa and Ohakim put together, how come among these Governors, he is the only one that has faced a damning face-off with followers, who easily dump him at the flick of a finger?
Let me put it more clearly. By records available, Okorocha remains the only serving Governor in Imo State who easily loses his lieutenants even as he still remains in office.
It is quite surprising how Aides and appointees of a performing Governor could easily dump him and look for solace in other political camps, even while Okorocha is still in power. What is the cause? What a mystery!
For certain, no one dumps success because success has too many relations, while failure is an orphan. Why do Okorocha’s Aides and appointees chose to quit him and his successful outing easily?
It is baffling how Okorocha’s mentees have decided to pay their mentor in bad coin to the shock of the world. This is how not to pay back a leader by those he claimed to have tutored.
Since this is the situation, how true is it that Okorocha is the best Governor Imo State has ever produced, according to his own estimation?
Now, taking this issue further, is Okorocha still in good terms with a majority of Imo people who stuck their heads out for his electoral victories? If Okorocha’s Aides could easily abandon him, what of the Imo electorate? And they still with him?
In my own personal assessment of the entire scenario, Okorocha while he lasted in office may have thought that relationship with the masses matters not, provided one still remains in power and erects some structures, expand some roads, construct Big Buildings, site some play Grounds, pay Imo workers once in a while, and others can go to hell. But as a politician he still needs the people same day.
Such attitude by a Leader lives to hunt such a Leader, no matter how much he/ she may think he/ she has done for the people.
Frankly speaking, Okorocha was too lucky to have the support of a majority of Imolites which was an opportunity to mobilize the people into action. But because Imo population is educated, the masses easily read into Okorocha’s policies and withdrew into their shells.
And rather than gradually enlighten and convince the masses of his own style of governance, the Governor got angry and in the process tried to spoon-feed the people hook, line and sinker but eventually there was a spiritual revolt and resistance of Okorocha’s style by the people and he lost the humongous goodwill that drove him into power as a popular Governor of Imo State.
It is quite unfortunate that as Okorocha leaves office, his trusted lieutenants are leaving him every day and joining his opponents.
Many people have been asking why? The reasons are not far-fetched. Those who ask should enquire why Imo people are no more rooting for the man they swore to die for in 2011?
Power is like opium. Abrahim Lincoln, former American President said you can only know the true frame of a man’s mind when he sees money or gains political power.
It has been proved that not all men came out after holding political power the same. Therefore, Okorocha is not different from all men that held political power.
In Okorocha’s case in Imo, he rode on the back of the people into office, but unfortunately forgot how he earned power, by the masses support, the same people he later turned to his political Guinea pigs.
There was no single policy of the Okorocha’s administration that attracted the peoples input, as you will just wake up one day and behold one strange project. And when the people, the owners of power, ask questions, they are visited with draconian answers.
For instance, Imo people would have preferred Okorocha tarring most roads in World Bank, Egbeada Housing Estate, Ikenegbu, Aladinma, and Old Owerri, instead of destroying and expanding Wethral, Okigwe, Orlu, MCC and Douglas Roads that were solid and in good order before their present bad States. But who cared to consult the masses!
Today, the Governor may leave office without fixing these roads that were originally in good condition. Such a record will dot his administration forever.
Okorocha would have scored a high mark if he had cited these projects now occupying the former Family Support Programe FSP at Wethral Road. Imagine what Imo State would have gained had Okorocha taken these new structures to New Owerri, where there is enough land begging for buildings?
Imo State has a permanent site for Imo Government House located at New Owerri. Had that area been developed during the Okorocha era than building another Governor’s Lodge at present Douglas House premises, history would have written Okorocha’s name in Gold as the Governor who took Imo Government House to its permanent site as was the case in Ebonyi, Lagos, Akwa Ibom States etc.
Why Okorocha is not getting a plethora of eulogies as he had expected is that many Imo citizens believe that he has no signature project that will bear his name after he leaves on May 2019. Udenwa had the State Secretariat, Ohakim had the Ahiajoku Complex, and Mbakwe’s name is everywhere years after. Therefore, which one do we point at as Okorocha’s signature project?
Rather, the Governor was “reactionary” in nature by dwelling much on pulling down most structures constructed by his predecessors and errecting another one on the same land, as if he lacks initiative to produce his own master plan and increase Imo State’s Assets.
And unfortunately, while Okorocha did well in the number of roads constructed by his administration, but by felling to listen to the masses and improve on the quality of his road projects, those he built are not reckoned with, as a majority of Imo populace see the roads as non-existent. This is the area a blame his Advisers.
Obviously, this is not how to pay back a Leader, who has confessed that he has not had a one hour sleep since he became a Governor in 2011 in order to serve Imo people.
So worrisome is how Okorocha has been abandoned by those he fought for with all he has.
The recent shocking one is that of Chief Emma Ibediro, the man who made our Governor to in the presence of President Mohammed Buhari engage in “Roforofo” in making sure that Ibediro emerged the National Organizing Secretary of his party, All Progressive Congress APC against all odds.
Already the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomole has sine distanced himself from Okorocha, after both men were friends for a few weeks.
As human beings, the Imo Governor will not be going home as a happy man politically as most of those he mentored have left him high and dry. Including his political friends and allies.
The list is endless. His Excellency Jude Agbaso, Chief Martin Agbaso, His Excellency Eze Madumere, Sir Jude Ejiogu, Sir George Eche, Dr TOE Ekechi, Charles Charlvon Amadi, Obinna Nshirim, Best Mbanaso, Chima Anozie, Kingsley Ononuju, Rex Anunobi, Vitalis Ajumbe, Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, Ifeanyi Araraume (Jnr) Senator Hope Uzodinma, Chief Nick Oparandudu, Hon Uche Onyeogacha, Mayor Njoku, Alan B Onyemechi and a host of others.
With what has happened to Okorocha, other political Heavy weights may find it difficult to mentor others, or what do you think?