Imo used to be one of the most tranquil states in the country, until lately when it began to headline bad news all because it fell on hard times and into the hands of smart guys masquerading as leaders. They even created a ministry of happiness and coupling (sorry, couples) fulfillment, in the hope of pacifying bemused, hurting Imo. Unfortunately, their game went burst as the people refused to be assuaged, especially when the governor’s fledgling dynasty was still responsible for determining what makes the people sad or happy. And so denied another member of the dynasty visa to Douglas House, where the demigod wanted to elongate his stranglehold on the state by proxy.
Rochas Okorocha ran a novel government template in Imo that is as confusing as he is confused himself, driving the state without processes or protocol; just a capricious governance, fast skidding down the slope of infamy. He introduced the fourth tier government. He converted the lawmakers that were supposed to oversight his government into his sheepish executive assistants. Nobody knows how he was able to do that; he did, anyway, and that gave him the all-clear to run the state aground in the absence of checks and balances.
The governor was wiser than everyone else, Eze onye agwalam. He bulldozed markets, caused pain and anguish to traders but never rebuilt them. In the process, lives were lost, like the poor schoolboy at Oke Onuma market in Owerri. He took a strange liking to sculpture, moulding even confirmed rogues like Jacob Zuma from the lean purse of the state, while vital needs begged for attention.
Okorocha converted Imo State to a family estate much to the chagrin of Imo people. When Imo people, including leaders of his party, rejected his plan to impose his son-in-law on the state as successor, he deployed state resources to divide the party in the middle, even frustrating the coalition against him. However, the rest, they say, is now history. His deliberate disconnect with the people did him his greatest political defeat ever.
Even APC has shown this giant with clay feet a yellow card and may eventually boot him out for fighting against his own party and costing it the governorship of Imo State, which cannot equate with a senatorial seat he allegedly obtained at gunpoint. This is as good as lost anyway for INEC has kept it in abeyance and denied him certificate of return.
The fear of losing the senatorial seat and possible loss of membership of his party is upsetting. It is unimaginable how this lord of the manor would now go home teary-eyed and empty-handed, heading to political oblivion, all because of being impossibly ambitious, purposing to create a dynasty in highly republican Igboland.
While congratulating Rt. Hon. Chukwuemeka Ihedioha for summarising the decimation of the emperor and his empire, one would implore him to learn some lesson from the fallen governor on how not to be a leader. He should know that the same wave of popular aplomb that his election has generated also greeted Okorocha at his inauguration but, alas, the governor squandered the Tsunamic goodwill that ushered him into office and, a mere few months later, the song changed to ‘ikiri ka onye oshi nma.’
Okorocha stole too much from Imo for people not to notice and he should rue his loss quietly and forget the tall ambition of sending his puppet to the tribunal so that Ihedioha may still show him little mercy in recovering all that he had taken from the state.
Nevertheless, I have no doubt that Ihedioha will do a lot better than Okorocha. He has started well by cautioning the banks to beware of whatever transactions they make with the outgoing government in these twilight days. Strangely, Okorocha has protested this move, forgetting that he gave his predecessor same treatment, if not worse. Despite his protestations though, any bank desirous to do business with the new government should take the advisory seriously, especially to avoid the manacles of Ibrahim Magu and his boys trailed on the state by May 30.
Now, Ihedioha should do well to recover Imo’s looted property, one of which is all-important Nsu Tiles in Ehime Mbano Local Government Area, which the governor and his gang carted to unknown quarters till date. They must account for the whereabouts the multi-billion-naira equipment, as this will guide the incoming government in deciding to restart the tiles industry.
Okorocha was also possessed by a certain spirit of demolition. When the spirit comes upon him, he goes after every precious thing in sight. That was how Okigwe South Federal Constituency became his victim. Okorocha’s perfidy was even extended to the leading light for the coveted seat in the House of Representatives, Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, HCN. The governor was frightened that Nwajiuba’s clout and reach even within the Presidency would outshine him and further make his fading image blurry ahead of 2023. He has voiced this out in his umbrage against Adams Oshiomhole, the national chairman of APC.
However, a very calculating Nwajiuba, a former lawmaker, proved that his doctorate degree in law is not a fluke. Seeing how Okorocha was tearing APC to shreds, he quickly picked the ticket of Accord Party, but continued to wield dominant influence in APC, even as he garnered more support with his movement to Accord Party, while his spirit remained in APC. Having realised that unstoppable HCN had outsmarted him by leaving the rotten APC ticket for them, the governor and his team deployed diverse tricks to put spanners in the works of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
This led to the cancellation of the first electoral exercise on February 16. However, they were not deterred for an encore during the rerun on March 9, creating a stalemate that has made it near impossible for INEC to declare a winner up to today.
The annoying thing about the Okigwe South tango is that a son of the soil has offered himself to be used by strangers to unsettle his homestead, all because of transient lucre. Nonetheless, the truth is known already and, certainly, it is only a matter of time for INEC to courageously do the needful and announce Nwajiuba the winner.
I believe INEC knows the right thing to do, as regards Okigwe South. Nwajiuba’s emergence is not in doubt. Despite accusations of bias here and there, the latest INEC decision on the Rivers and Taraba states polls is laudable and gives hope that the Okigwe South debacle will not linger any longer and that Nwajiuba, choice of the people, would be declared in all good conscience.
Tell me not to weep for Okorocha. Tell me rather to weep for Ihedioha despite his salutary victory. The governor-elect has an arduous task of cleaning the mess Okorocha will be leaving behind, hence the timely advisory to banks. There are scary figures being bandied about as Imo’s debt profile, reflecting a state in recession. The governor-elect should be ruthless in recovering the state’s losses, even as I wish His Excellency divine help as he moves to pull Imo out of the abyss into which Okorocha plunged it.