IHEDIOHA: STARTING FROM THE SCRATCH

By Collins Chibueze Ughalaa

“President Muhammadu Buhari will work from home after rodents damaged his official office during a more than 100-day overseas medical absence, a presidential spokesman disclosed on Tuesday” – PM News, Tuesday, August 22, 2017.

During the campaigns for the 2019 governorship election, former Governor Ikedi Ohakim who was governorship candidate of Accord party disclosed to the people of Imo State that the state had knocked engine. He graphically illustrated the pitiable condition of the state with the image of a broken down vehicle, noting that only an experienced mechanic would fix the problem. In fact, to drive the message home, Ohakim wore mechanic attire with the inscription of “I am the Mechanic”. As his lieutenants, we wore the mechanic dress also, with the well designed graphic illustration: “Let’s Fix Imo”.

On March 9, 2019, Imo people elected Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha. But today, Ohakim’s claim that Imo State had knocked engine resonated following the facility inspection of the Government House by the Governor. The Governor, for obvious reasons, had gone on the facility inspection tour of the Government House with his Deputy, Hon (Engr.) Gerald Irona, the service chiefs in the, the state Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and some leaders in the state.

On reaching the Government House, what they saw was decay, rot. From the offices to the ceiling, from the toilets to the compound itself and walkways, everything had rotten apart. Even the shelves were someone could expect some files were totally raped and left in carcass. The fittings, including air-conditioning fittings, are already rotten. While many people say that we are lucky that the Government House was not set ablaze before Governor Okorocha packed out, my instinct moves me to believing that in the days to come Governor Ihedioha will discover more irritating things in the government. Nothing is healthy in the government.

The situation in the Government House is a sharp contrast to the magic the past Okorocha government had claimed they wrought in the government house – how he built the best government house in the whole of the country. With what has been discovered in the Government House, one may no longer wonder about the quality of jobs executed by the past regime, especially in the buildings that deface the state capital’s masterplan.

Nigerians and Imo people in particular can now understand what Governor Emeka Ihedioha meant when he said he would rebuild the state. Following the ugly discovery, no one is in doubt that work will be done on the carcass Okorocha left as Government House. Whether Ihedioha would build new one, carry out repair works on the rotten structure or even relocate the Government House should be his to decide, putting into consideration the variables.

In the meantime, methinks that the Governor does not deserve to live in a place that might have been taken over by rodents and reptiles. He does not deserve a decrepit office or residence. With the pictures out on the social media, everyone would see that those who entered the governor’s office during the facility inspection tour had shock boldly written on their faces. It was rascality drawn too far. It would appear that Okorocha had already drawn the swords before leaving office. Moreover, Imo people now know that behind the veil of Okorocha’s smile lie smelling, creeping things. Okorocha just behaved like bad tenants who destroy their landlord’s house because they were given quit notice.

The Deputy Governor’s office might be worse than the rot in the governor’s office, especially since it has been under lock and key since its last occupant left it. The last time we saw the Deputy Governor’s office it was covered with grasses, and someone made what seemed like a joke, that rodents and reptiles had taken over the place.

Granted that Governor Ihedioha has a befitting home in Owerri, the recent discovery of decay in the Government has nonetheless forced on him the challenge of where to operate from while the Government is worked upon. This scenario resembles when in 2017 President Buhari’s office was reported to have been taken over by rats.

On Tuesday, August 22, 2017, it was reported that President Buhari’s office was taken over by rodents. The President was reported to have relocated to his house where he operated from. According to PM News report, “President Muhammadu Buhari will work from home after rodents damaged his official office during a more than 100-day overseas medical absence, a presidential spokesman disclosed on Tuesday…The rodents damaged furniture and air conditioning fittings in the president’s official in Abuja while he was in London receiving treatment…These are also general works and it is not uncommon for Nigerian presidents to also work from the presidential villa.”

Similarly, on April 19, 2019, it was reported that George Weah, Liberia’s President, was chased out of his office by snakes. A BBC report said that “Snakes have been found in Liberian President George Weah’s office, forcing him to work from his private residence”. The report quoted the president’s press secretary, Smith Toby, as saying that two black snakes were found in the foreign affairs ministry building, which houses the President’s official place of work since 2006, adding that all the staff in the office have been instructed to stay away from work until April 22.

Faced with the abnormal situation, would Governor Ihedioha operating from elsewhere mean by any stroke of imagination that he would be seeking self gratification against the interest of the people? No. When someone is employed to do a work, he is entitled to a conducive working environment. Psychologists and Sociologists agree that someone’s place of work has a way of affecting his mood and psyche and ultimately impacting on his overall performance. This is the reason employers of labour ensure that they provide good and conducive place of work for their employees.

The Governor of Imo State deserves a decent and befitting working environment. In the prevailing circumstance, what is paramount is that the job of the governor must be done without excuses, without unnecessary delays. If Ihedioha likes let him operate from his bedroom or a hotel suite. It is unimportant. Whether keeping his entire family in a hotel suite would be required to give him the right mind frame, that is what we have been forced to live with. That is the thank you we got from Okorocha who ruled over us as Governor for eight unbroken years.

Imo people elected Ihedioha to get the job. From where he gets it done might be secondary. By the time Imo people will begin to appraise him as their Governor, they may not reckon with the challenges he encountered settling down in his office.

Nevertheless, what Okorocha did in the Government House is heinous. It is unpardonable. It shows the quality of his life and person, and reinforces the call to probe his administration. The recent discovery therefore is suggestive of horrible activities that went on in his government. It also shows that under Okorocha’s overflowing garments are hidden unclean things.

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