One has not helped wondering how Imo State boarded the one chance bus driven by Owelle Rochas Okorocha, governor of the Eastern Heartland in the past eight years or almost. The man rode into Douglas House, seat of the Imo government, on a gale of goodwill orchestrated by former Governor Ikedi Ohakim (Ikiri), who was booted out by a combination of blackmail and near ineptness.
However, not quite long after, the people, who shooed Ohakim away began to lust for him, warts and all, even composing a song that said ‘Ikiri ka onye oshi nma’ (Ikiri is better than a thief).
A thief? Where did that come from? Who is the thief and what has he stolen?
Soon, the song began to make sense to people. The government that they just installed is a nest for thieves, as made manifest in almost all of state machinery.
Okorocha’s government was a bad advertisement for change and antithetical to the trumpeted Change mantra of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the party he joined after destroying the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, that first gave him the exalted office. Not a few Igbo expected Okorocha to help build APGA into a regional powerhouse for Ndigbo. But he scorched that dream in pursuit of selfish agenda.
The Imo government Okorocha led personified confusion. Nobody knows how he did it but, perhaps, his gift of oratory helped him. It was like the Yahoo Yahoo guys, who would effortlessly talk people into parting with prized possessions. Okorocha converted the state legislators to errand boys and gave them aberrant executive assignments that truncated the legislative oversight they were elected to do. Okorocha embarked on building 27 general hospitals in one fell swoop and not even one of that mad ambition came to light after billions of naira had been sunk into them. Road contracts were awarded without documentation it vetting; all that was expected of you is to have access and indicate your toad of interest and that’s it. Today, Imo is filled with so many distortions that worsened the landscape of the state. Of course, the ‘contractors’ gnashed their teeth afterwards over payments.
As if it is possessed by a demon, the government demolished more property than it built. All the demolished markets were never rebuilt, most painful being the Owerri ancestral market, called Eke Onunwa, that claimed the life of an innocent schoolboy.
One of the victim communities that will not forget the Okorocha government in a hurry is Nsu in Ehimee Mbano Local Government Area. In a brazen audacity laced with his smooth tongue, Okorocha descended on the town and carted away equipment at the site of Imo Tiles Industry, promising the gullible people that he was going to bring more update machines and build the factory initiated by the venerable Dee Sam Mbakwe, as governor. One needed to watch the video of this heist to appreciate how much government has become a fraudulent enterprise.
Till date Nsu has been rent by the strident cry of #brinbgbacknsutiles to no avail. However, the unthinkable happened last week when a state-appointed auctioneer came to evacuate the remaining equipment at the site. The people rose with one voice and resisted them. So far, the committee set up by the governor-elect, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, to protect Imo property from looters, has visited the site and assured the people that nobody would be allowed to remove a pin from the site. Kudos to them and the Governor-elect!
This Imo tiles industry in Nsu will be an instant win for the incoming government and they shouldn’t miss out on it. The raw material close to the site is in limitless abundance. The demand for tiles in Nigeria is in an all time high position and is not about to abate. The project is bankable hence the government doesn’t need to go far to get funds to start and complete the industry. It is a shame that decades after Governor Mbakwe of blessed memory pointed the way to productive governance through electrification and industrialisation, a government by a younger generation is doing the very opposite, merely mouthing industry industry but bulldozing what he met on ground or appropriating same for self or cronies instead.
Nsu people boldly condemn Okorocha’s invasion of their town. They want peace to reign and economic development to be fertilised. It is only equitable and a matter of good conscience that after distorting the life of Nsu with this Imo tiles factory abandoned over twenty years ago together with numerous other abandoned projects, the least they expect of the incoming government of Ihedioha is to restore, complete and commission that industry in its present location at Nsu.
The outgoing government in Imo has been stripping the state bare or its prized assets, as reports and videos have revealed. Thanksfully, Imolites are now resisting this weirdness. It is worrisome that this is happening under the ruling party that prides itself of anti-corruption.
The greatest thing to happen in Imo is the rejection of Uche Nwosu, Okorocha’s son-in-law, through whom he wanted to continue his scandalous ruin of Imo. The emergence of Ihedioha is very laudable and, surely, Imo may through him be free at last of rapacious greed and dimwit grovelling in the dark in the name of governance. With Ihedioha, there is yet hope that Imo shall rise again