Is Gov. Rochas Truly Corrupt?
According to Aesop in his philosophical epigram he shared a fable that goes thus, “The wolves sent a deputation to the sheep with proposals for a lasting peace between them, on condition of their giving up the sheep-dogs to instant death. The foolish sheep agreed to the terms; but an old ram, whose years had brought him wisdom, interfered and said, “How can we except to live at peace with you? Why, even with the dogs at hand to protect us, we are never secured from your murderous attacks.”
The vivacious consciousness that greeted Gov. Rochas administration has finally met disappointment and failure. I have been writing for a long time to educate our governor and his executive council on how their policies have failed majority of Imo people but as usual, they have refused to give listening ear to the voice of The Reformer-a single voice in the wilderness. Therefore, I shall continue to talk until the right things are done. The administration of Chief Okorocha is like the above fable of Aesop because he pretends to have loved Imo people and wanting them to give up all that they have to enable him enrich himself. This is evident in the number of lands he has acquired. This is what he has done which informs why he was boasting of his forth to fifth generation not having anything to do with poverty any more. He has made his generation rich with Imo money. The facts are there.
The administration of Chief Rochas Okorocha promised us probity, openness and accountability from inception but today corruption has become pandemic. Everyday there are cases of alleged corrupt practices in the running of government affairs, they make us bilious. We have not forgotten in a hurry the case of N1.3 billion JPROS contract scam which cost Chief Jude Agbaso his position as the deputy governor of Imo state.
It was later reported that Chief Okorocha re-awarded the contract to another company which finally protected his interest. We have not also forgotten the report that our governor (Chief Rochas) paid a prominent businessman from Anambra state a whopping sum of N550 million to build a shopping mall in the state, the money finally vanished into thin air.
The case of a Lebanese company Hommiprese that was paid the sum of N3.5 billion by Imo government who finally absconded with same and up till today, nothing is done about it, is very amazing. Gov. Rochas informed Imo people few years ago that over thirty indigenous contractors have carted away more than N200 million meant for the construction of rural roads. Gov. Rochas how far have you gone in the recovery? Why were they paid without doing the job? How many of them have been prosecuted?
A good friend of mine shared a serious and pathetic story of his good friend who became victim of our governor’s award of contract. He informed me that his friend got a contract from Gov. Rochas who was having interest on his beautiful and tragically located edifice. The governor gave him contract and he borrowed money from the bank with his building as collateral to execute the contract. When the government failed to pay him, the bank was on his neck to recover their money, he sold the house in order to pay off the bank. Later, he discovered that the company that bought his house is Lamonde printing press. The question is who owns Lamonde Hotel and Lamonde printing press?
Like the fable of Aesop, how could Gov. Okorocha expect us to allow him to rule for the third term in proxy when even his first and second tenures have exposed Imo people to attacks of different kinds? The government of Okorocha will go down in history as having done more roads than all her predecessors put together since 1999. It is a pity that all the roads constructed by Gov. Rochas are substandard many of them need urgent repair. I am yet to see the economic impact of Bongo Square, Heroes Square, Imo international conference centre and other projects that are total wastage of scarce resources.
This administration has established more round-about especially in the city of Owerri; we are yet to see the beauty and economic impact of such to our teeming unemployed youths. Gov. Rochas during the 2011 political campaign made several promises to Imo people none of them came to fulfillment. In fact, if campaign promises, sloganeering and policy formulation is the standard or yard stick of measuring the performance of any government, our Governor Chief Okorocha will go down in history as the best performing governor.
He promised of banishing the Egyptians from the land of Imo state, unfortunately the reverse is the case as he ended up importing Egyptians to Imo state which has greatly contributed to the increase in hunger, disease and abject poverty. Today, Imo people live in fear as Gov. Rochas recently promised to allocate land to herdsmen; this may greatly threaten the security system thereby giving way for more invasion in one way or the other.
On the acquisition of properties, Gov. Okorocha has out-smarted all his predecessors as he has acquired more land than any known governor in Nigeria. He is in love with empty lands as there are so many of such complains here and there. The case of Hon. Anthan Ogoh is a clear example. Some are afraid of confronting him as he has refused to pay compensation. Within few years in office, Chief Rochas has built ultra-modern buildings here and there. Chief Udenwa Uzoma owns only one building in Owerri for his eight years in office; Chief Ikedi Ohakim owns only one building the one he got before he became a governor for four years. Today, in Imo, almost all the empty lands have been acquired by Gov. Rochas with our allocation money. Our Governor is not corrupt at all.
The one that has kept me awake at night is the land at Akwakuma Spi-bat along Umuodu Mberi road where Chief Rochas promised the community of building a civic centre as a result, he acquired the whole land about six hectares of land, I do not know whether he paid anybody because some people are seriously complaining of how their lands were taken from them without compensation and without building the civic center. If these allegations against our corrupt free governor are true, then Imo will be in for another mess in 2019 if governor Rochas plants a successor.
It was Soren Kierkegaard who made the point that life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forward. The way this present administration has understood life is the outcome of our present sorrows and woe. I am not comfortable with Gov. Rochas policies, and they have only given us food for thought and have not provided food on our tables. Our governor should learn how to live life forward so that he will deserve our true praise.