SETTING THE TEMPLATE FOR OWELLE ROCHAS (1)
The election of Chief Rochas Okorocha in Imo State is like none other. It has rightly been described by many political analysts as a revolution of the masses. This brings along with it an enormous hope that his government will deliver on the high expectations of the people.
Consequently, Chief Okorocha has no choice but to justify the confidence reposed in him. Understandably, he is under pressure to succeed. For this reason he should be meticulous and dispassionate in considering those who are to work with him. He should, if possible, appoint only seasoned technocrats who share his dreams of a better state. He should avoid the common pitfall of using public office as compensation to political loyalists. By saying this one does not mean that he should deny those who worked for him, but that should not be at the expense of good governance. Thank God also he has no political godfathers to whom he must pander to their wishes.
Another vital aspect to consider very seriously is the state of the civil service. The reason most governments fail is not because of the absence of good policy, but because those charged with its implementation frustrated the policy. The civil servants in the state should be made to understand that there is a new dawn. It should not be business as usual. They should remain disciplined, committed, loyal, diligent, prudent and civil in the discharge of their responsibility. The government must pass the message clear that it will not tolerate any form of sabotage and corruption in the system.
A critical appraisal of on going projects in the state initiated by the past administration should be carried out in order to ascertain their relevance and various stages of completion. Only those projects that are absolutely necessary should be completed for the benefit of the people. All the white elephant projects must be jettisoned. In fact, where such projects are ascertained to be a conduit pipe for siphoning public funds, those responsible should be called to account.
Upon all the noise about the 'Clean and Green' initiative of the past administration, any first time visitor to Owerri would tell you that the city is not as clean as it is being portrayed. The truth is that Owerri stinks. How will this government ensure that there is nothing like mountains of refuse, heaped at such strategic locations as Douglas road, right in front of the main gates of St. Paul Catholic Church, Ama Hausa, Royce Road and others? In fact, the Douglas Road experience is pathetic and critical. If nothing urgent is done to ensure descent environment, free flow of traffic, Douglas Road will soon become another Oshodi in Lagos before the advent of governor Babatunde Fashola.
Still on the environment, the government of Owelle Rochas should be reminded that there are many communities in the state who are living at the mercy of gully erosion. Their farm lands had been eroded, and the roads cut off, and no assistance is forthcoming on their way. If one mentions Ideato as a typical example, one may be accused of being self serving. But the truth remains that many communities in the area have been devastated by erosion menace. Examples are the Okwelle-Urualla Road (at Umueshi axis), Umulebe-Uzii road, Arondizuogu-Umualoma road, Akokwa-Isiokpo- Obodoukwu road, to mention just a few. These roads are terribly bad and need urgent attention.
This brings us to next priority area.
If government of Owelle Rochas wants to leave an indelible mark in the hearts of many Imo people, he should consider opening up the villages. Tar the rural roads and see how the economic activity of the state will blossom. As has been said before, many communities are cut off from the rest of the state. In order to re-integrate them to the state, attention should be paid to rural roads.
The importance of electricity to the economic life of the state cannot be over emphasized. The issue of power in the state is a pathetic one. Even Owerri, the state capital, can hardly boast of regular power supply, how much less the situation in many rural areas.