Rochas Okorocha is the outgoing governor of Imo State. But the real story is that his charge and third term placeholder was beaten silly in the last governorship election in the said Imo State. Mr. Uche Nwosu, for such is the placeholder’s name, happens to be the son-in-law of the said Okorocha.
To concoct the “government magic” of replacing himself with his doppelganger son-in-law, Okorocha took to selling the snake oil that the Igbo generally and Ndi-Imo particularly, deride him because he associates with northerners. And his proof? That he was given the moniker Okoro-Awusa. And he went on to posit that the more the Igbo derided him, the greater his fortunes in the hands of the North. In other words, the easier come his strides into the Nigerian presidency.
As things are, the confessions of Okorocha himself constitute the evidence in chief that his deal with the North is in tatters. Okorocha is now a political flotsam. See https://punchng.com/were-not-behind-okorochas-predicament-apc-vice-chairman.
Yet, all these are just by the way. The real thing is that being a governor, as an Okorocha is, only gives one power, and it is power over little and mundane things as initialing cheques, begging for more votes, etc. When matters become rarefied, like in having the cognition to discern reality, high office, even up to the presidency, is of little use.
In other words, that Okorocha is governor does not indicate he knows what ails him. And nothing suggest this more than his take on his Okoro-Awusa moniker.
For the benefit of non-Igbo speakers, then the following: Okoro means, loosely, son of, or of. So Okoro-Ocha means of the clan of the fair-skinned. Awusa is Igbo for Hausa-Fulani or northern. Thus, Okoro-Awusa is Igbo for of the northern. It should also be on notice that Okorocha, like many Igbo who are often “Diasporic,” was born or grew up outside Igboland. In his case, in the North.
The following facts are then important. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Generals Aguiyi Ironsi, Odumegwu Ojukwu, Ike Nwachukwu, Emeka Omeruah, etc, were all born or grew up in the North. And they also served in various offices in Igboland. Not one of them, unlike Okorocha, was dubbed or derided with an Awusa adjectival.
Thus, it is safe to state that the tagging of Okorocha as Okoro-Awusa is idiopathic, as the doctors would say. Thus, it has nothing to do with his upbringing in the North or his Hausa language baggage. His upbringing and Hausa speaking skills are indications he shares with the other Igbo, like Azikiwe, Ojukwu, Nwachukwu, etc. In fact, Nwachukwu, it is believed, is the offspring of an Hausa-Fulani princess. Yet, even in the Nwachukwu case, nothing was ever charged of his “northern-ness.”
So the question is, what makes Okorocha so specific, so idiopathic, he had to be branded Okoro-Awusa? The answer is simple. Okorocha, who is Igbo, insisted on ruling like a pre-colonial, even mediaeval, northern emir. Check out this. Just about all persons that represent the Imo quota in Abuja and Imo establishments are direct relations of Okorocha, by blood, sexual connections and or marriage. This Okorocha nepotistic monstrosity was so much, it never happened in history since Eshi founded the Oru na Igbo nation.
So, what is the linking metaphor with the North? It may not be clear to many, but this is a fact of history. The Greater Sultanate, that is, including its tributary emirates in Zaria, Kano, Ilorin, etc, is ruled by the descendants of one “in living memory” progenitor. In other words, whatever else the Greater Sokoto Caliphate is, it is a well oiled, well sustained nepotism as a rulership machine.
Yes, some long passage of history may have blurred this fact of ruling Hausa-Fulani nepotism, but that is what it is. That is to say, for the Hausa-Fulani aristocracy, as expressed in Nigeria, historically and today, public power and office, and even other commons, constitute a closely-guarded family asset.
This articulation of power and office as a private family asset is what Okorocha was about introducing into Igboland. In other words, he willed to disrupt and alter the sociology of the Igbo. That is to say that Okorocha is anti-Ofo na Ogu and thus anti-Igbo.
And this showed in his language. For example: “In other parts of the country, Onyeriri would not have contemplated contesting the senatorial election the moment he heard or knew that Owelle Okorocha was in the race. But, in this part of the country, anything goes. (https://www.sunnewsonline.com/imo-west-youre-too-small-to-run-against-me-okorocha-tells-onyeriri)
For Umu-Imo, the point is: if challenging Okoro-Awusa in other parts of Nigeria is unacceptable to them, it is not only acceptable, it is most welcome and encouraged in Igboland. To emphasise this, just during the last election, Nnewi people went overboard to teach an heir to a billionaire fortune some lesson on Igbo sociology. The lucky sperm kid had chided one of his co-contestants that he is the son of an ordinary akara seller. How dare he challenge him, the son of a mogul and trained in London?
Furious, all Nnewi rose in unison as the Igbo are taught to do in such hours as this. All Nnewi sacked the lucky sperm impostor with electoral ignominy. Perhaps, no other persona gives the sharpest cut on being Igbo in this respect than Chinua Achebe. In his great novel, Achebe concluded in the first pages: “In the end Okonkwo threw the Cat.”
The fact of that, of a competitive upset, we repeat, is the heartbeat of being Igbo. Yes, all we call for is excellence, but only as the Attic Greeks – competitive, competed for, not as Okoro-Awusa-bestowed, excellence.
It is in this bestowal of uncontested-for excellence, which Okorocha claims is northern, that yields the etymology of his moniker, Okoro-Awusa. It is not in his connections with northerners, the fact of which is too common with Ndi-Igbo. All else is in humour. Ahiazuwa.