THE GOVERNOR'S BLUNDER ON THE 10,000 JOB PROGRAMME
Last week, for writing an article about the quick temper of the Imo State governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha and for stating that his hot temper may be his greatest undoing in office, I got an inbox full of abusive mails. Some even stated that I have started playing politics of hate and distractions. It is not true that I dislike the governor. I am not against the Imo State government led by Chief Okorocha but had only spoken out against its unpopular policies. I stressed the need for him to pause and ponder before making decisions to avoid mistakes. You see, leadership is a serious affair to be regarded lightly for so many of its impact impinges on the plight and fortunes of many. One way to make the governor stay on track is to keep him on his toes by dragging him to the court of public opinion whenever he makes an irrational decision.
Two weeks ago ,In an odd little rhetorical ramble on radio and television, governor Okorocha announced the suspension of the 10,000 jobs created by the immediate past administration of Ikedi Ohakim and sacked the Chairmen and Councilors of the 27 LGA’s in Imo State. Who doesn’t know that the sacking of elected LGA Chairmen is an illegality that cannot stand the test of time? The governor has no right to dismiss elected Chairmen no matter how faulty the process of their election was. Sources say he is about to announce his Stooges as Care takers of the Councils. It is true that he promised to deliver democracy dividends to the people of the state at the shortest possible time and right what he described as the wrongs of the last administration but blunders don’t cure blunders.
Okorocha once said that he will run a people-oriented government where every decision taken would be anchored on how it would protect lives and property, improve the welfare of the people as well as protect their interest. He also said that he is going to create jobs for the people of the state. Is the sacking of workers in the state also a people-oriented programme? The governor must have been expecting a groundswell of public applause when he announced the suspension of the 10,000-job programme of the immediate past administration.It is only a professional sycophant that will feel duty bound to applaud every government decision ,no matter how patently foolish it may be. To register their displeasure, thousands of workers flooded the streets of Owerri demanding that the governor should relapse on their sack from work.
The governor told the protesting youths that he had already set up a committee to review the 10,000-job programme, with a view to aligning it with the prevailing realities in the state.Imo youths are hungry for jobs .The decision to disengage workers from work is foolish and irrational. Setting up committee to review the job offer is also cynical and an indirect way of telling the sacked workers to go to hell. It is a mockery on thousands of Imolites that help the governor to wrestle power out of the hands of Ohakim.It is also a call for violence and chaos. Okorocha should stop playing politics with the future of Imolites.He should stop throwing the state into unnecessary tension.
When Okorocha was seeking the votes of Ndi-Imo ,he went house to house, he thronged into rooms, not minding the bench on which he sat. He even went round Owerri on KEKE NAPEP speaking sweet talks “your lives will change for the better if you elect me the right candidate “ he said ‘your chicken and your dogs will be given free education and your farms and shrines will be electrified” he assured. Of what use is the governor’s free education without jobs ? All are recognizing that tackling of youth employment is key to poverty reduction, sustainable development, indeed, even stability and peace. I am vehemently opposed to this 10,000 job brouhaha. When you examine the reasons why, I am certain you will agree that this move to disengage workers is a bad idea and is moving Imo State in the wrong direction .It is a contradiction with the shared believe that Okorocha is on a rescue mission. This state has many challenges. When decisions made and actions taken directly deflates job creation , the result is always more problems for the citizens.
We all know that Okorocha has been a philanthropist of international repute overtime. He owns about five free secondary schools in Nigeria that are spread across Owerri, Ogboko, Kano, Ibadan and Jos. In these schools, children, mostly of poor parents go to school free. The Rochas Foundation sponsors their school fees, supplies them with books, feeding, transportation and accommodation. But governing Imo State is not Rochas Foundation,neither is it Baba Sala’s nkwobi and pepper soup joint.Okorocha should give the people back their jobs or go tell his rescue mission stories to the birds. Every good government must create jobs for the people .He should resist the temptation of spending quality time in searching for scape - goats for whatever he feels that went wrong with Imo State in the past .The past is past and now is now and it is the time for Imo State to move on.
Written by Kenneth Uwadi, Mmahu-Egbema, Imo State, Nigeria.