OHAKIM, A BAD COMMODITY - KANU, HOTELIER
The victory of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, [APGA] gubernatorial candidate in Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, had been described as a manifestation of the desire of the people of the state for change.
Chairman of Agura Hotel, Abuja who is also the Chairman of Orlu Zurume Elders Forum, Imo State, Eze Maxwell Kanu in this interview noted that the PDP guber candidate and out-going Governor, Ikedi Ohakim, is a bad commodity, no matter how you take it to the market, it will be rejected''.
While he is confident that the APGA government would live up to peoples' expectations, Kanu equally expresses concern over the unsavory state of Imo treasury.
How do you feel about Okorocha's victory?
Well, his victory is a manifestation of the desire of Imo for a change; it isn't his making, but it is the peoples' desire and that desire has been fulfilled. It is a thing of pride that he is a dogged fighter. By the time the incumbent governor thought he would use his power of incumbency to subdue peoples' will, it wasn't possible.
You see, either Rochas made it or there could have been crisis in Imo, because of quest of removing a bad boy. You know when a material is a bad commodity, no matter how you take it to the market, it will be rejected. That's what has happened in Imo. The party people has taken a bad commodity to market and it wasn't marketable in any form.
Whatever part you turn to it shows failure.
So, the best thing for him is to get out and apologise to Imo people.
What we are looking forward to now is the extent the looting will go in these few days. You will find out that if the people aren't vigilant, he will squander the allocation for Imo.
This is one of the reasons why the true elders, people who have commitment in Imo are saying that we should be vigilant.
The success of Rochas is a joy; the students came all out. I am the grand patron of south -eastern students and the grand patron of Ezes, across the Niger and everybody, all the royal fathers they all came home to ensure that Ohakim was sent packing and when the elders were working, the students were determined and the obvious result is a good bye to the young man.
What are your expectations from the incoming administration?
It will not perform magic, because the volume of work left for them to inherit now is enormous. A lot of money haD been borrowed to lift up projects which were never executed and these funds will be bearing heavy interest.
The only way out is for the EFCC and ICPC to embark on recovery, go beyond expectations, so that those who are in similar positions as Ohakim will think about the future. In fact, what will be recovered will offset certain commitment which I know is on ground. It is very, very important. The EFCC and ICPC, they have a challenge to show that people who enjoy immunity as governors they must not act with impunity. The situation in Imo is unbearable.
So, the new administration will have to quietly project how to lift the state, do their best to see that the high hopes are met.
People are calling for reconciliation; but don't you see your call for EFCC and ICPC to investigate the outgoing governor could be viewed as witch-hunting?
How can it be witch-hunting? You saw what happened at the polling booths. Public money has been wrongly used, given to party agents and certain people to alter figures. Whose money was being spent? It is our money.
The EFCC should help us investigate. Is it from the salary of the Governor? If it was from his salary how much is he being paid? That would lay foundation for the incoming ones to be careful. Today he has congratulated the elected governor and pledged to work with him. He wants to mend the fence but if he knew that he has gone wrong, he couldn't have spent as much money as he did on this election, which gives us head-ache that peoples' money has been wrongly used and should be recovered.
But I think Okorocha must have to navigate carefully especially where most of our elders are involved, their honours are involved. What we shall do is to reconcile with them, but that will not stop the recovery of public fund; that of Imo is in excess and I am afraid, if it is allowed to stand as it is, we may not achieve any change. The desire for change is by the younger generation, it is the students against the elders that happened in Imo State. Students who know that things have gone wrong, they resolved that there must be change.
You can imagine a sitting governor saying it is only the children of the rich that can pay for education. That's abomination! Look at Mr. president saying, if he can make it, that others can make it. That's the way a leader should talk; but for you to turn round and say education is meant for only the son of the rich.
They must have to look into where he got the money spent during the election.
There is no need for election, every four years. If we would be bankrupt every four years, then why must we go for election?
So, EFCC should look into all these.
But how did Ohakim get it wrong?
He got it wrong by over boasting to people. Number one, he said as the
incumbent nobody could remove him from the office, whereas people have seen that he has advertised several projects and none was executed.
The projects he undertook, he mounted billboards, but none was actualized. That's not how to govern a state for a man who is concerned about the future of the state. He shouldn't have done that.
What is your message to the average Imo electorate, who has ensured Okorocha's victory?
Well, my message to them is to rejoice that they have won but they should also reconcile with their brothers and sisters, because we are of the same family. But their anger will be redressed by recovery of public funds; that will be the reward they have not to open rancour with their brothers and sisters, because we are of the same family, both the PDP, APGA, ACN, we are of the same family.
Many people couldn't have gone out of PDP to vote APGA, because eighty percent of our people in Imo state have respect for PDP. Those of us who are royal fathers, we are fathers to all political parties, but where a political party has derailed and refused to appreciate the ill feelings towards a particular candidate, that's why you see the voting pattern. But we must re-unite again.
How do you assuage the feelings of people for power shift in Imo?
On the power shift, the rotation of power in Imo state, what you can understand is that we agreed, far back in 1983 that there must be rotation. Now, that's what has made it possible for Okigwe to gain access to power for the four years of Ohakim. But what hurts the people of Imo is that he totally derailed from the track of governance. So, there is no other way to change that rotation than when Rochas came from Orlu. Orlu has ruled for eight years under Achike Udenwa. By right, they shouldn't come; but by providence of saving the people he has to come.
So, as soon as he came out everybody was yearning, ''let him go ahead!'' but immediately after four years of Rochas now, it must revert to Owerri whose turn is it to provide. Then, when Owerri has done their tenure, then it could now go back to Okigwe and it will come back to Orlu.
Without rotation, there will be no peace in the country, but circumstances can change the rotation and then when that circumstances is reasonable, it must be yielded to. So, we the elders who know what that rotation can serve must insist that there must be rotation.