Owelle Rochas Okorocha is the incumbent but out-going governor of Imo State. He has been in office since 2011, making it Eight years of two terms he has been in-charge of Imo affairs.
However, all that will come to an end on Wednesday May 29,2019, when he will hand-over to his successor, Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha, who till then remains the Governor-Elect of Imo State.
While an election took place on March 9, 2019, where Ihedioha defeated other political parties and their candidates to emerge the Governor- elect as pronounced by the Independent National Election Commission, INEC, the outgoing Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha is yet to acknowledge that both lagally and socially.
He has even challenged Ihedioha at the Tribunal, through his stooge and prefared successor, Chief Uche Nwosu, whom Ihedioha defeated with over seventy thousand votes.
While the entire Imo populace have accepted this electoral verdict as proclaimed by Imo electorate via their votes of March 9, 2019, Okorocha is yet to let that sink into him.
And of course, he is yet to congratulate Ihedioha, and is rather digging deep and sitting tight inside Imo Government House, without any sign that Imo people have since choosen his successor.
Okorocha’s attitude towards May 29,2019 hand-over date remains non challant even as some of his Aides still posture about as if they will not vacate Imo Government House for another tenant in the next few weeks.
Despite the massive lootings going on around Imo State indicating frustrations and greed among staff, the out-going State Chief Executive still dishes out long term orders and instructions as if the May 29, 2019 date would be postponed.
And this Okorocha’s behaviour has also permeated his Media Aides who write as if the campaigns are still on. But do you blame them? Since Okorocha is yet to begin folding his tent in preparation for his exit. Why should his Aides bother?
But just on Monday, May 6, 2019, it downed on the out-going Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, that all these “Noise” about a certain Emeka Ihedioha becoming Imo State Governor is true after all.
On this particular day, Okorocha woke up from his reverie to realize that truly, he will cease to be the Governor of Imo State this month end.
I am talking about the day Imo State “Handover Committee” payed a courtesy visit on the Governor.
For those who know Okorocha closely, that day was a memorable day to the out-going Governor as he was sober, despite all he did to cover his inner feelings, with exchange of banters and greetings with members of the committee.
On this “memorable day”, the out-going Governor’s visitors did not come to ask Okorocha for favours.
This committee did not visit Okorocha for siting any of his numerous Universities in their communities. The committee did no visit to ask Okorocha to grace any event as Guest of Honour. It did not visit the Governor to relinquish any land for Town Hall building or did the committee go for any contract.
This committee only visited Imo Government House to remind Okorocha that time is up for him to quit office. In case the Governor forgot, the Committee only came for one purpose. To remind Okorocha that despite his foot-dragging and reluctance in believing the fact that he would soon be a former Governor, the matter is not even that of months, but weeks. And it is beyond his decision, but by Nigerian Constitution.
More so, the calibre of the personalities on that mission convinced Okorocha really that something is about to happen in Imo State soon.
The roll call of the committee members comprised of persons who have never bothered to visit Imo Government House since Eight years now. It also included some of those who helped Okorocha win power in 2011 and 2015, but easily discarded them as a used toilet tissue.
This list include Chief Chris Okewulonu, a former Secretary to Imo State Government and former Commissioner, Chief Mike Okiro, a former Inspector General of Police, Ambassador Greg Mbadiwe, Hon Oliver Enwerem, Hon Uche Onyeagocha, Engr Ben Ekwueme, Nze Ray Emeana, Chief Emeka Omeihe, Hon Chuma Nnaji, Dr Vin Odokwu and others.
These are men who had served Imo State or Nigeria in one capacity or the other, even before Okorocha ever won his first election in his life and which was as Governor in 2011.
The presence of these men at that particular time and place instantly informed Okorocha that it was an error to have thought that Imo State was not owned by its people, no matter who is the Governor, the power he/ she wields and how long he or she lasted in office.
For the first time in eight years, Okorocha addressed Imo people as a Statesman and leader with humility. He momentarily realized that he was sent by Imo people to take charge of their problems with their commonwealth as number one among others, not that the State was in short supply of alternatives.
Hear Okorocha “Let it be known to you that we all collectively own this State”.
Can you believe that? That Okorocha can at any time agree that Imo State belongs to Imo people is a “surrender”. He has now discovered that he was elected by Imo people for a certain period of time and therefore not occupying a hereditary position. But unfortunately his statement and acknowledgement came very late.
However it has shown that power is transient and belongs to the people. Okorocha’s statement signifies that what has a beginning has an end. It has downed on Okorocha that nothing on earth lasts forever, including life itself much less political office.
That Okorocha can in this life and time say that “We all collectively own this State” means that only God reigns forever.
Since 2011 I began to comment on Okorocha’s policies, I have never abused the Governor, but as a writer I warned him that a time shall come when he will leave office, and it is only those he touched positively with political power that will remember, and stand by him at all times. But did Okorocha do that? Posterity will say.
Since the creation of Imo State in 1976, Okorocha is the only Governor who ruled that State as a personal fiefdom.
He never bothered about contributions from others. Indeed, there is no way an administrator can run any establishment with only those you know personally. Such a venture is bound to fail. If Dangote depended on only those he knew, would he be the richest man in Africa today?
But Okorocha never believed in the policy that Imo is “collectively” owned by its citizens. And that was the reason he governed the State as a personal estate without bothering to let the people know what he was doing.
Even when he made mistakes, like constructing inferior roads, he will not take correction, but instead dared Imo people to do their worst, even when it is their money he is using to build such roads.
He worked without involving Experts in many sectors. That was why Okorocha could not plant trees in Owerri that is erosion prone, in his bizarre Urban renewal project, but preferred erecting deadly Iron Bars and Cement Pillars that will turn to ruins in no distant time. But trees out-live their planters and symolises an era.
His appointments were lopsided and skewed because he never bothered to consult anybody, even when each LGA in the State has its own peculiarities.
Had Okorocha known that Imo State is “collectively owned” by the masses, he would not have bulldozed all the major markets in the State against the general advise of those he said he was helping with the demolition of such economic structures.
Okorocha chased everybody away, including those who had what to contribute to the State without pay.
Was he not the one that said he has retired all politicians in the State including former Governors and Elder statesmen?
Now, the chicken has come home to roost. Okorocha as a human is bound to make mistakes, but the important question is; when you were told of your mistakes what did you do to make amends?
For instance, Okorocha remains the only Governor that personally banned Journalists from entering Imo Government House. In the first place, Imo Government House according to his latest statement ought to be for all Imo citizens, because it is “collectively owned” by all the citizens despite their opinion about the sitting Government.
As I write, the “Fatwa” placed on me and Trumpeta Publishers, Chief Chidi Nkwopara of Vanguard Newspaper, Chief Amby Uneze of Thisday, Senior Apostle Lambert Ojukwu of Newspoint, Comrade Precious Nwadike of Watchdog, Dr George Nkwoji of Nigeria Moment Newspaper, (Barr) Vivian Oti, Chair Lady of NAWOJ and others are yet to be lifted even as Okorocha vacates office in less than three weeks time and is preaching “collectivity”.
And unfortunately, all these “marked” Journalists are from Imo State. Till date Imo Government is yet to say what crime these organizations and persons committed except sticking to the ethics of their professions, which may be, did not go down with the powers that be. But they were locked out of Imo Government House for Eight years!
However, it is a welcome development that in the end, Okorocha has come to realize that Imo people own Imo State, including the Imo Government House, where he has been a tenant these past Eight years that will expire by May 29, 2019.
Soldier go Soldier come, barrack remains. Leaders should have the magnanimity and candour to accommade all shades of opinions and carry all the people along, because it is the people that make a State. Without them you have nothing to Governor.
Immediately after elections, whoever wins is for both those who voted for him/her and those who did not.
One had expected Okorocha to tune down his confrontational style of governance by embracing everybody as his administration gained ground. But instead Okorocha bared his fangs on nearly all those he assumed were his political enemies.
Throughout his eight years in office, his administration lacked “human face” and was clannish that it by itself created what it called “Agburu” for his folloers, while the rest of Imo people were orphans in their own State.
Unfortunately, even as Okorocha has just a few days in office, his administration is not making any effort in reconciliation, which will remain a stigma that will dog his era for years to come.
Certainly, as Okorocha begins to wound up his regime, he will discover when he has more time to himself and when the hangers-on are gone, that there were things he ought to have done the other way, but because of power which intoxicates like opium, he forgot there was a tomorrow.
That is why Emeka Ihedioha through the composition of his Transition Committees is bringing Imo people back together once again.