By Henry Ekpe
The out-going Governor of Imo State Owelle Rochas Okorocha is now full of regret. He is not happy, and is angry. He is restless and depressed. He cannot fathom what is about to happen to him in the next few weeks.
Okorocha is yet to come to terms that on May 29, 2019, he will cease to be the Governor of Imo State. He cannot believe that he will soon wave his Kingdom a final goodbye.
The out-going Governor is yet to embrace the fact that he would soon be addressed as an Ex –Governor and is out of his utopian power which he coveted like a Maiden, and wielded like an Emperor for eight years. And worse still, he is yet to know the out-come of his Senatorial election which still hangs in the balance and ought to have been a fall-back to power for him.
It is because of Okorocha’s regret to leave power that he now sees his incoming successor, Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha as his problem. It is called transfer of aggression. Okorocha sees in Ihedioha that fellow, that object used to scuttle his long term ambition to own Imo State in perpetuity.
Therefore, this is why rather than tension abate in Imo since March 9, 2019 Governorship election took place, the situation is but choking. Instead of Okorocha to slow down and have a retrospect, with the reality that his time is up at Imo Douglas House, the outgoing Governor is helping in heightening the tension in the State by his actions and inactions.
Till now, the Governor is yet to rein in his Media men, who ought to change their usual style of combative and confrontational publicity, to that of reconciliation, bearing in mind that they will soon give way, which is the beauty of periodic elections and Democracy.
Uptill now, Okorocha’s Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemedo is still busy churning out Inflammatory Press Releases as if anyone is in competition with his out-going Boss. Okorocha’s era is gone, and Imo is now on Transition to a new order. That is the fact.
My good friend, FCC Jones Onwuasanya is regularly casting aspersions on the Governor-elect, calling him various names. He qualifies Ihedioha in each of his diatribes as the “Illegally-Elected Governor” of Imo State.
Every day, Okorocha’s Media Team wake Imo people up with insults on the Governor-elect as if the elections have not come and gone, won and lost.
Since Uche Nwosu has hended to Tribunal unbehalf his Father inlaw, who wanted him to be his stooge and planted as his successor, why don’t Okorocha’s Media people allow the Tribunal to make the final verdict, and let Ihedioha be, as all these comments are now subjudice and cannot change anything yet.
For Okorocha, he should be told in clear terms that what goes around comes around. And he has himself to blame for whatever fate that befalls him.
He had the opportunity to make Imo people eat out of his hands but he bungled it. Apart from Ihedioha’s election, Okorocha was the first Governor of Imo State that got into office with the goodwill of Imolites, not because of his political prowess or financial base but for the love of the masses.
But Okorocha chose to build a fiefdom, structured in his own desires. He took Imo people for granted and felt that the political power he wielded and the humongous Imo common wealth in his pocket were all he needed to transform into an Emperor who would directly or indirectly control Imo affairs and wealth till his third generations.
And rather than go about it subtly and strategically, he called Imo people names, destroyed their means of livelihood, cornered their patrimony by force and even openly declared that “there is no man in Imo, except me”.
Therefore, Okorocha abinition never wanted to leave power and he made plans to keep it within his family fold. He even convinced his followers to have the erroneous belief that he is an invincible political Lion, who will not relinquish power to another person in Imo except whom he chooses.
This illusion could be located in Okorocha’s policies, which ran like a personal agenda, structured to favour only himself and family.
Till date, he has not yet realized what hit him politically. He is finding it extremely difficult to believe that after all, he will quit office.
Therefore, it is neither Ihedioha, nor Imo people’s fault for Okorocha not to have realized that Imo State belongs to her people, the electorate who troop out every four years to elect a new Leader and not to one person or family.
Okorocha forgot that before him, there were Senator Evan Enwerem, Chief Achike Udenwa and Dr Ikedi Ohakim.
The out-going Governor has not planned his exit and was convinced he would leave his son inlaw, Uche Nwosu behind to continue from where he stopped.
He did not mince word about that. He swore that nothing will make him not to produce a successor. And that successor must be Uche Nwosu, from same Orlu zone as Okorocha after years in office, and a husband to his first Daughter. But today, the bubble is burst.
Therefore, it will be better for Okorocha to face the fact and realize that no king reigns forever as no kingdom last forever, and stop heating Imo polity. It remains barely two weeks for him to leave.
In 2011 when Okorocha won his election against a sitting Governor, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, then outgoing Governor the next day released his acceptance letter of the election result through his Chief Press Secretary.
Ohakim called an expanded State Executive Council meeting, and instructed all his appointees to cooperate with the in-coming Governor and warned against looting.
From hence he set up a Transition Committee, even before Okorocha could think of it. All Government property were protected.
Since the story of vandalization and looting of Imo property has been on the Air, has the out-going Governor made any Broadcast or statement to stop the brigandage?
Ohakim even invited Okorocha three weeks after the release of the election results, which Okorocha declined, but sent Prince Eze Madumere.
Few days after that Okorocha issued directives to all Banks Housing Imo State funds not to deal with the out-going Governor. And this directive was given with a letter bearing the name of “Office of the Governor-Elect” with an office at Okigwe Road, Owerri. And Imo Accounts were frozen instantly.
Soon after then Accountant-General of the State, Ajoko, disappeared until after May 29, 2011 swearing-in.
Days after, a letter signed by Chinedu Offor directed all Government appointees to return their vehicles. Those who could not comply immediately had their homes invaded, or were stopped on the road like common criminals, and the vehicles retrieved from them.
This was before Okorocha was even sworn-in as the 5th Civilian Governor of Imo State.
Immediately he was sworn-in Okorocha stopped all salaries. Refused to pay severance Allowances to out-going Government Appointees. Sacked elected Council Chairmen. Sacked Ten Thousand workers employed by Ohakim. Dissolved all Commissions and Parastatals.
Now, fast forward to 2019 and see how Okorocha is treating Imo people and his successor, Emeka Ihedioha.
Ihedioha has not made any policy statement to inhibit smoothing running of Okorocha’s administration till May 29, 2019.
But because of anger, frustration and envy, Okorocha rather than remember that whatever Banana Peels he leaves behind for Ihedioha will inadvertently affect Imo people, is busy laying Bobby Traps for the in-coming Governor.
It is a shame that an out-going Governor has just woken up after eight years to realize that Commissions, Boards and Parastatals would be inaugurated.
In the first place, such appointments are usually made to compensate party members. So, Okorocha allowed these Boards to run without members and chairmen, in order not to empower his party members until now? And these gullible Imolites still accepted these positions at Okorocha’s eleventh hour without asking the out-going Governor questions.
Now, our Education-loving Governor, in Eight years, found it difficult to fund the only University Imo State has (IMSU). Other Higher Institutions in the State are still begging for help.
But within weeks he is about to leave office, Okorocha the Education Messiah, established Six Universities, Four Polytechnics and Two Colleges of Education.
What a miracle!
And he has been busy telling everybody that the Institutions were created to help Imo citizens gain admission into Higher Institutions. We agree! But why a month to leave office?
It is only a fool who will not read meaning into this Okorocha’s “philanthropy” with Higher Institutions on his way out of office.
Why did he not establish them in the last eight years so that he can nurture them since he is their originator? Why leave them for an in-coming administration to battle with?
The same Governor, who could not pay Imo workers full salary for eight years when they were on N18,000 minimum wage is now at the fore front of the increase to N30,000.
These are Okorocha’s frustrations for leaving Imo State Governorship seat, and Ihedioha has to bear this anger from a frustrated Okorocha for being rejected by the electorate.
Nobody can stop an idea whose time has come. Ihedioha is the new idea now in Imo, just like Okorocha was the issue in 2011 Imo politics.
The best option left for Okorocha is to quietly accept Imo peoples’ decision and go back home peacefully, because he rather should be grateful to Imo people who allowed him eight years in office among other Five Million citizens to be their Governor.
Tomorrow is another day, and who knows what it holds in stock!
We have seen Okorocha’s Transition Committee which he reluctantly set-up after the incoming Governor had shown him the way, which ought not to be.
As May 29, 2019 approaches, Imo people expectantly look forward to a new Government headed by Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha. Okorocha’s time has come and gone. It is now left for Ihedioha to pick one or two lessons from Okorocha’s Book of follies and watch his own steps. History is the best Teacher, as Okorocha is now a case-study.