Sadly, luck has run out on Imo State


  By Chukwuka Ezendiaru
“A man who sold his dog to buy a monkey still has a squatting animal in

his house.” This Igbo proverb seems to capture appropriately, the

situation of the people of Imo State. In 2007, the people of the State

were on the verge of getting it right again in their choice of governor

until the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) mishandled the governorship

politics in the state.  That singular mistake threw up a third-rate

opportunist, Ikedi Ohakim. of the People Progressive Alliance (PPA), as

the governor after an illogical voting pattern.
By the way, Ifeanyi Araraume was declared as the authentic PDP candidate

by the Supreme Court contrary to former President Obasanjo's choice,

Charles Ugwuh.  But rather than support Araraume, Obasanjo flew into Imo

State after the Supreme Court verdict to declare that his party, the PDP;

was not fielding any candidate in the election. And true to Obasanjo's

stance, PDP abandoned its official candidate and supported PPA's

candidate, Ohakim.  Yet this is the same Obasanjo that accused President

Goodluck Jonathan of anti-party activities in Anambra, Ondo and Edo

states.  If Obasanjo is right in his recent 18-page letter to President

Jonathan, then the President has been a very good understudy of his

benefactor, the former president!
The arrogance with which Ohakim misgoverned Imo once again proved the

superiority of popular choice to imposition and the manipulation of the

democratic process to which Obasanjo once again pleaded his guilt in his

acerbic letter to Jonathan.   Yes, Obasanjo confessed that he probably had

a hand in deciding the democratic outcomes in the 1979, 2007 and 2011

presidential elections.
Back to Ohakim's Imo state: because Ohakim knew those who made him

governor, his allegiance was never to the Imo people.  If anything, he

held the people in contempt as he was everything a governor ought not to

be.  But little did he know that people power will come to play in the

2011 election.  For the people of Imo, Ohakim's cup was full to the brim

and it was time to show him the exit door.
The popular sentiment was that any person other than Ohakim would do.  To

tell how the people detested the idea of the return of Ohakim as governor,

they were willing to put on hold the principle of zoning, which has helped

in peaceful  political succession in the state if that is all it would

take to sack the governor.  That was how Okorocha was elected as Imo State

Those who think the ambivalent politician who has been a member of five

different political parties since 1999 is popular must think twice.  This

is particularly important as we approach the politics of 2015.  Indeed in

electing Rochas Okorocha, the people of Imo were willing to accommodate

the Orlu Zone for another four years after former Governor Achike Udenwa

who hails from Orlu had done two terms totalling eight years. That was

part of the huge sacrifice to get Ohakim out of the way.

But with the benefit of hindsight, it is dawning on our people that they

have probably sacrificed more than was needed to get Ohakim out.  As it is

turning out, Governor Okorocha is becoming a bigger liability than Ohakim.

Yes, the former governor could be accused for his arrogance, intemperate

language and even lack of dissimulation in his dealings with the people.

Yet the incumbent governor, Okorocha has become an incubus, a terrible

nightmare to those who expected much from him.
Smart and gifted with the gift of the garb, Okorocha stole his way to the

heart of the ordinary people, especially those incapable of any

sophisticated analysis.  And with his sugar-coated tongue, governance has

been reduced to a road-show, and if you like, a huge joke in the Eastern

Heartland.  These days, when Okorocha pays salaries of teachers, which he

is supposed to do anyway, he calls a world press conference and creates a

drama out of it; when retired civil servants are paid their pension, the

governor makes it television live coverage event. Such has been the

melodrama, which governance has been reduced to.  But governance, which

according to classical philosophers like Plato, is a serious business that

must be based on exact knowledge, has been turned on its head by Okorocha.

If all that Imo people have had to contain with is Okorocha's road-show it

would have been excusable. But unfortunately so, their governor is

building a great reputation for arbitrariness.  There are many allegations

that good and reputable contractors have left Owerri in droves because of

the manner the administration in the state is awarding jobs without due

process and proper documentation.  Where on earth except perhaps in Imo

that Government contracts for roads and other infrastructures are awarded

to people by mere verbal proclamations?  There are hush-hush talks in Imo

State capital about contractors who allege of being swindled by the state

government through this verbal award of contracts by officials of the

Moreover, Okorocha appears not to have any agenda for the development of

the state that expects so much from him.  You can quarrel with his

predecessors, Udenwa and Ohakim for not delivering much but they at least

had plans.  Not so for Okorocha who is simply muddling through issues and

problems.  That is why today the governor is chasing misplaced priorities

that will certainly not improve the life chances of the people. For

example, how can the building of a five-star hotel in Okigwe, a town that

has no access to potable water and where poverty is walking on its rural

streets help the poor masses of our people?    How does the issuance of

certificates of recognition and staff of office to some nondescripts

living outside Igbo land as traditional rulers in their places of

residence against the letters of the law be a governor's priority?

Thankfully, the South-east Council of traditional rulers have spoken up

against Okorocha on this matter.
Those who know Okorocha intimately indeed warned when our people were

embracing him just to get Ohakim out of the way.  The governor did not

even settle down before he vindicated those early warnings.  First, he

framed his deputy governor, Agbaso, whose elder brother paved the way for

him in APGA, with bribery allegation and got him impeached.  The only

offence Agbaso committed was that his presence constantly reminds the

governor of the one-term agreement he entered into before he was given the

APGA ticket.  Although EFCC has cleared the innocent man, Okorocha and his

gang are questioning EFCC's verdict on Agbaso.
Second, Okorocha did not only jump out of APGA, to join APC but strived to

trade away a party that was magnanimous to offer him the opportunity to be

governor, in his treacherous dealings with Tinubu and Co.  Now Okorocha is

running his mouth against the PDP in his misadventure to be considered for

the vice presidency in APC.  Okorocha is free to pursue his selfish

ambition in APC but he must be told in clear terms to count our people out

in his perilous journey to political perdition.  Our people are clear on

their position to support President Jonathan in 2015 should he decide to

run.  And if by any chance Jonathan is not running, Okorocha most

certainly cannot be the Igbo candidate.
Looking back now, it was not always bad for Imo State.  This is the same

state that produced Sam Mbakwe, RBK Okafor, Justice Oputa, Mike Ahamba and

other men of integrity.  Why has our politics fallen into the hands of

tricksters, charlatans and roughnecks?  Why is Imo very much unlucky?

Ezendiaru, a civil servant, wrote from Mgbidi, Imo State.