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The One Term Promise and Okorocha Cocktails of Lies

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By John Mgbe
I have listened with shock and disbelief Governor Rochas Okorocha's

denial that he did not at any time make a promise or a

pledge of serving just a term of four years if elected governor

in 2011. Those who are religious will also describe it as a vow. I have

decided to use the word “VOW” so that the reader can understand

the seriousness of the issue under discussion. The Wikipedia

Online dictionary defines “vow” as (1) a solemn promise, pledge or

personal commitment: a vow of secrecy “(2) a solemn promise made

to a deity, or saint committing oneself to an act, service or

condition; (3) a solemn or earnest declaration to God or a saint;

………” In order to understand the enormity of the issue at

stake, let us take a trip to the BOOK of LIFE in order to

hear from the Supreme Immanent Triune Deity (God) on the issue

of the consequences and implications of getting involved in a

vow which one does not intend to fulfil. The Book of James

5-12 states thus: “But above all my brothers do not swear either

by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your

yes be yes and your no be no, so that you may not fall

under condemnation. “Again, The Book of Deutronomy23:21-23 states

thus: “If you make a vow to the Lord your God, you shall not

delay fulfilling it, for the Lord your God will surely require it

of you and you will be guilty of sin. You shall be careful to

do what has passed your lips, for you have voluntarily vowed

to the Lord your God what you have promised with your mouth.”

The Book of Numbers 30:1-16 says: ”Moses says to the head of the

tribes of the people of Israel saying: “This is what the Lord has

commanded. If a man vows a vow to the Lord or swears on oath

to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break it, he shall

do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.” In the

same vein, the Bible is replete with several passages that

talk about the consequences of breaking a vow. Since I am not

in a catechism or theology class coupled with the
constraints/paucity of space, I do not wish to veer into that

realm in this discussion. We have a glut of evangelists in

the Journalism profession who may wish to expand that area of

discussion-i.e. the consequences of treating our vows with levity,

contempt , and disdain.
In his recent broadcast, I was disorientated when Governor Okorocha

said that there was no time he said he would serve just

one term of four years. According to him, all he said was that

his government, if voted into power, would be “a 90 – minutes in

Entebbe” (whatever that means). I am totally disappointed that a

governor who gives the impression of being a Charismatic

Christian of Catholic Church extraction could exhibit such

barefaced denial on a statement which he made in the midst of

a sea of humanity who thronged Rosy Arts Theatre, Owerri on

Friday 7th January, 2011 to celebrate his reconciliation with Chief

Martin Agbaso (Ochudo). Chief Agbaso was the then Czar/the big

Cock in the All Peoples Grand Alliance (APGA) Owerri. It is

deplorable that a governor who has made so much show about

religiosity should be found so remiss and empty on such a

simple issue as owing up to a statement he voluntarily made

before a global audience. This is very tragic indeed. In this State

of Imo, we have a governor who has built an exotic
Government House Chapel; those who have entered there say it's a

great place; he has decreed that the Catholic Prayer -The

Angelus- must be prayed for 10 minutes by the workers on Imo

State Government Pay roll on each working day and he will

hardly end a sentence without alluding to the need to walk

in the ways of the Lord. It rankles that such a politician

does not have any qualms in denying a vow which he made in

our very eyes -a vow which actually facilitated the massive

support we extended to him in the 2011 governorship poll. Our

God is a jealous God who will not share his honour; those who

make it through God's intervention and want to donate it to

demi – gods or shrines will fail.
My grouse is that I was very deeply embedded in the

APGA/Okorocha's governorship agenda of 2011. Above all, as a

media professional (volunteer) who was working with the Media

Coordinator, the Late Lolo Ogoke, I personally covered the event

where Owelle Okorocha announced to the humanity who thronged ROSY

ARTS Theater, Ikenegbu that: ”I will serve only a term of four

years and hand over to Owerri zone”. I am writing this viewpoint

to expose the abysmal hypocrisy of some politicians who masquerade

as men of God in the political landscape of Imo State even when

they are the face of Judas Iscariot. In a normal situation,

journalists who cover events should uncover what transpired so

that society can know what is happening. This is why the Press

is described as the Fourth Estate; it's a mirror through which

society can take a look at itself in order to know where

it stands. So, I appeal to our journalists and public

commentators to make this gubernatorial denial an issue in order

to guard against a reoccurrence. It is the task of media professionals

to hold their leaders to account. This is the only way we can build

strong political institutions.
There is something fundamentally dangerous in a situation where

a state governor does not feel any qualm of conscience in

disseminating falsehood to the populace. It is a gratuitous

insult on those of us who stayed by him as volunteers in the

struggle to actualize his governorship agenda. Perhaps, for the

umpteenth time, I must state vehemently that Governor Okorocha's

denial that he did not promise or undertake to serve just

one term and hand over to Owerri zone is a falsehood of

gargantuan proportion; I don't remember when last I heard this

magnitude of fabricated mendacity from a person in his social

class. It rankles that very often Governor Okorocha talks before

he thinks; he often prides himself as the only cock that

crows in Imo State, nay, in Igbo land. This is a very

dangerous character flaw which bodes no good for the populace

in Imo State.
Okorocha's promise or vow to serve one tenure and hand over to

Owerri zone was voluntarily made in a public forum where the

populace or what may be better put as “We the People” gathered

to celebrate his reconciliation with Chief Martin Agbaso who

Owelle Okorocha on that occasion described as “the General of

the Army who would not let me pass.” So, the vow is sacrosanct and

ought to be actualized. It is my opinion that a leader who

cannot stand by his vow is a danger to society, more so, in a

democracy. I cannot in conscience join the maddening crowd who

have joined the choir of praise singers who incessantly praise

Governor Okorocha for real and imaginary feats. I see such

sycophants as belonging to the family of goats who must

always follow the man that is carrying the palm frond. It's

unfortunate; It's a shame to the various social clusters in Imo

State whose members keep mum in the face of the dictatorship of

the rule of law which Okorocha's Administration represents. In

fact , Governor Okorocha even went further to tell us that:” only

dunces repeat classes; as a brilliant student, I cannot repeat

the governorship class. I will serve one tenure and hand over to

Owerri zone and move to Abuja where I belong”. So, it is

deplorable that a politician who said all these in public is

today very desperate to do a second tenure. Is there no conscience

in politics? In spite of so much religiosity in this

Administration, there is so much profanity? Why is this so?

Furthermore, during Owelle's electioneering campaign rally in

Emekuku in Owerri North in March 2011, this is what Owelle

Okorocha said: ”I will not change any council chairman or

councilor; they have a tenure. At the end of their tenure , there

will be election. I will be too busy to start thinking of a

new election. I intend to pay Council chairmen their full money

as it comes from the Federal Government so that they can start

developing the local areas”. Please read the report on page 6 of

the White Paper newspaper of Friday, March 25-27th 2011. But did

Governor Okorocha observe his vow not to sack or disband the

LGAs- a vow he made in the presence of an overflowing crowd

that thronged the campaign ground? He took the oath of office

and oath of allegiance on May, 29th, 2011. On the 6th day of

June, 2011-a week after his inauguration- he made his maiden

broadcast to the populace. In that provocative broadcast, he

dissolved the 27 Local Government Councils and sacked the 10,000

youths who were employed by his predecessor, Chief Ikedi Ohakim.

He dissolved the Imo Traditional Rulers' Council and announced

other draconian measures which shocked right thinking members of

society. When reminded of his campaign promise that he would

not dissolve the Local Councils, Governor Okorocha replied with

an imperial bravado: ”I don't believe in the rule of law; I

don't believe in due process; it slows me down”. It is my

opinion that a politician who does not see anything wrong in

announcing with glee his contempt for rule of law and due

process is not worthy of being given the levers of power in

any democratic ambience. It does not matter that such a leader

is mounting air conditioners in the streets of Owerri

municipality or tarring the roads with gold and diamonds or

even throwing money about to praise singers as if money was

going out of use. Such a leader is a danger to democracy and

I cannot be part of those who pour encomiums on such a

person.
The Local Government Monthly Allocations: Did Governor Okorocha

keep his vow “to pay Council chairmen their full money as it

comes from the Federal Government so that they can start

developing the local areas”? Never; in fact there is no evidence

that he still remembers the vow at all. The sad fact is that

Governor Okorocha has virtually abolished the Local Government

tier in Imo State in preference to what he calls “Community

Government Councils (CGCs)”. The CGC is a parallel tier of

government in which the traditional rulers hold sway and funds

for the development of the Local Government Areas are

channeled through the traditional rulers. Today in Imo state,

the Local Government tier has become irrelevant as they have

become mere antiques which exist only on paper. In this scenario,

the monthly allocations to the LGAs are handled as mere petty

cash by Governor Okorocha.
How about Okorocha's vow to conduct Local Government Election as

at when due? It is pathetic to say that governor Okorocha no

longer remembers that there is anything called Local Government

election in the Constitution. He changes Local Government

officials in the same way a sole proprietary business sacks

and recruits staff; he appoints new officials at the drop of

a hat. When it pleases him, he appoints sole administrators; at other

times, he prefers to use Transitional Chairmen to run the

Councils. The LG Councils in Imo State are run as if they were

Rochas Foundation Business Empire – the sole proprietary business

of Governor Rochas Okorocha.
It is on the grounds of Governor Okorocha's contempt for the

rule of law and due process that I have persistently

maintained that we are not practising democracy in Imo State. We

seem to be practising Ochlocracy or Mobocracy or even a

government of Plutocracy in Imo State. Ochlocracy may be defined

as “mob rule” and a mob could be defined as a group without a

leader or any social group that is bereft of any organized

rules of engagement. In the same vein, Mobocracy has been defined

by the Wikipedia online dictionary as “Political control by a mob

or the mass of common people as the source of political

power.” Plutocracy is a government by the rich/wealthy.

It rankles that Governor Okorocha whose 2011 governorship victory

was buoyed by the actions and inactions of President Jonathan

is today the only governor in the South East who is hostile

to President Jonathan's second tenure bid. It is even pathetic

that Governor Okorocha who has been vehement in denouncing

President Jonathan for bearing Igbo names of Azikiwe and Ebele

recently announced to a stunned audience in a political rally

in Owerri that the great grandmother of Buhari was an Igbo

woman and Buhari's other name is Okechukwu .This is terrible

indeed!
We are making much ado about morality because it was the

revered United States President, George Bush (Snr) who once said

something to the effect that “What Africa needs is strong

political institutions and not powerful or strong politicians.” You

cannot build a strong political system on a weak moral or

legal base. Yes, it was the revered jurist, Baron Denning, who

once held that “You cannot place something on nothing and expect

it to stay there. It will fall.” Records show that the former

United States President, George Bush (Snr) lost his second term bid

as President of United States because of a failed promise he

made while campaigning in 1988. What happened on that occasion

was that in 1988, George Bush (Snr) ran a successful campaign to

become President of United States. In his desperation to win the

election, he promised that he would not raise taxes. Hear George

Bush: ”watch my lips, I will not raise taxes.“ He won the poll when he

defeated his Democratic opponent, Michael Dukakis. George Bush was a

very effective President who performed so well on Foreign

Policy. He carried out successful military incursions in Panama and the

Persian Gulf. It was under his watch that Berlin Wall collapsed in 1989.

He also presided over the fall of Soviet Union (U.S.S.R) which

later splintered to 15 sovereign states. In spite of these record

shattering achievements, the voters in the United States voted

him out and denied him a second tenure. Their grouse was that

in 1988, he (George Bush) had vowed that he would not raise

taxes during his rule. Unfortunately, as a result of the stark

economic realities that faced him when he became President, he

reneged on the promise when he signed an increase in taxes which

Congress had passed. In spite of his sagacity and effectiveness

in government, the voters dumped him because he was seen to be

dishonest and unreliable because he failed to keep his vow or

promise of not increasing taxes. We draw attention to these

issues because It was the revered scholar/philosopher, ROUSSEAU

who warned that: ”As soon as any man says of the affairs of

state, “what does it matter to me?” the state may be given up

for lost”. Furthermore, It was Edmund Burke who once posited that

“all that is necessary for the forces of evil to triumph is for

enough good men to do nothing”. It is on this account that we

media professionals take the burden of holding our leaders to

account. Again, while denouncing leaders who are not loyal to

their promises, the great ZIK said in his poem entitled:

”Unfulfilled Promises “ which is one of the poems in his book:

”Civil War Soliloquies” page 43: the Great ZIK said :”The worst of

sins committed by our friends are promises disguised to gain

their ends”. He said that such leaders were dangerous in a

political environment.
In conclusion, it is my opinion that our governor, Owelle

Okorocha, has tried a lot within his abilities in order to

transform Imo State. We are grateful to him for “condescending” to

serve us as governor. In any case, it is time for him to leave

in faithful compliance with his vow before God and man, more

so, since promise is a social debt. It was just one act of

disobedience that caused Moses of the Bible not to see the

Promised Land; yes, it's one act of disobedience that caused the

wife of Lot to turn to a pillar of salt after she looked

back at Sodom (Genesis 19). Again, the revered poet, George

Santayana, once posited that “ Those who don't learn from history

repeat their mistakes.”
Mgbe writes from Orlu, Imo State and can be reached on [email protected]

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