By CHIDI OBINECHE
He is no stranger to ribaldry, the weird instinct. Since his entry into partisan politics there has been no letup, no drought in his amazing gumball episodes. Ebullient Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha almost always plies and riles the high road of unorthodoxy. Taut in the maelstrom of the restructuring debate that seized the sinews of the nation in pulsation like a windstorm, he joined the fray not on the side of the ayes or the nays, but in a vintage pass way that nettles. He recommended “ re-packaging” as a way out of the cauldron.
With a consistently wet bag of sophistry, the governor had brutally kept faith with his muse; the affirmation of his birth strings. And many believe this stems from his illustrious business background. Packaging in the Business dictionary include functions such as “to attract attention, assist in promotions , provide machine identification(barcodes, etc), impart essential or additional information, and help in utilization.” But our good, logic- chopping governor dreams of the presentation of Nigeria in a new way, different from the monstrous sing- song of restructuring that has become a fad of the market place.
He envisions “the process of taking a publicly traded firm private, restructuring the firm, and then taking it public again through an initial public offering (IPO). Private equity firms begin the process by using leverage loans to buy all the outstanding shares, before restructuring, often by shedding subsidiaries, to make it more attractive to investors. Here-in lies the hamstring in his suggestion. Which subsidiaries (states) will be shed in this “weight shedding” show?
Viewed from another prism, “our governor, our governor” is proposing repacking which is a synonym of repackaging. So, in all variegated forms and essence, does repacking or repackaging deviate from the ‘Change mantra’ that his party, All Progressives Congress, APC promised? A nondescript screamer on the door way of a Pharmaceutical outlet in the throbbing city of Lagos island says “the secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new”. Many are caught in the morbid fear of the word “restructuring” and when not evading it, take subtle refuge in metaphors or allegories. As the music of repackaging fills the ears, the instructive message from America’s leading business mogul, Warren Buffet tells us that “If you have bad mortgages, they do not become better by repackaging them.”
He was born on September 22, 1962 in Ogboko, Ideato South Local Government Area, LGA of Imo state. He was elected the governor of Imo State on May 6, 2011 on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA but defected to the APC and became the Chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum. He attended Juladaco High School, Jos for his secondary school education (1976-1981). He studied at the University of Jos (1990 – 1991) obtaining a diploma in Public Administration. He also obtained an Advanced Diploma in the same discipline from the same University between 1993- 1994. He was the President, Nigeria Red Cross Society, President/ Founder, Rochas Foundation Inc, President Rochas Group of Companies Limited, Pro- Chancellor, African Business School and a former Chairman, Board of Nigeria Airspace Management Agency. He was also a Commissioner on the Federal Character Commission, and a Special Adviser on Inter- Party Affairs to ex- President Olusegun Obasanjo.
He is married to Nneoma Nkechi and they have six children – Uju, Uloma, Uchechi, Amamchi, Aham, and Amen. He is a philanthropist.