A few weeks ago, the out-going Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha while speaking to Journalists said that Imo people will miss him a lot when he hands-over power to his successor in May next year.
He added that to reduce the level of nostalgic feeling about him among the Imo populace, he would love to leave behind his son-in-law, Chief Uche Nwosu to fill the void and reduce the tears of Imo people who would be weeping profusely every day for the absence of Okorocha, who has changed the lives of the citizens like no other Governor in the history of the State.
Quite frankly, the Governor was right when he made it clear that Imo people will miss him.
Certainly, there is no way Okorocha would leave Douglas House after operating as the Chief Executive of Imo State for Eight (8) years without leaving a mark on the State and its citizenry.
However, the important question is; how? Did Okorocha leave Imo and its people better than he met them, or otherwise?
Unfortunately, as Okorocha quits office, the majority opinion is that the Ideato South born Governor is leaving Imo State as a heap of ruin caused by maladministration and bizarre policies that left Imo people bemused and apprehensive for Eight years as the Okorocha turbo-charged tension-sooked outing gradually grinds to a conclusive end in the next few months.
Ironically, no other Governor in Imo State was so much loved like Okorocha prior to his ascendency to the Governorship position which he had courted for a long time.
Okorocha’s emergence was like a Revolution, as nearly all the sectors of Imo State endorsed his Governorship project, including from those within and in diaspora.
Within a few months in office in 2011, Okorocha did not disappoint the teeming Imo masses who staked their confidence on him, because he started executing people-oriented policies, which endeared him more to the heart of Imo people.
His projects were superb, with beautiful finishings and solid. But as time went on, Okorocha believing that he has settled down in office and power with the masses deceived, began to exhibit that side of him which he stealthy hid away from the electorate.
Okorocha began acting larger than the State itself and felt that whatever idea that flows from him has no alternative. And that is that posture that ruins leaders.
The Governor rather than review his methods and give heed to some of the suggestions written in the Media, instead accuses those with constructive write-ups as enemies of his Government.
Today, we are in September, 2018, and by the end of the month, all political parties, including the All Progressive Congress, APC Okorocha’s party would have nominated their Governorship candidates.
In order words, by the end of this month, Okorocha would have known those who will replace him. Therefore, the Chickens are coming home to roost. For Okorocha, it is a real indication that what had a beginning in the year 2011 is approaching its 2019 terminal end, beginning with the elections a few months away.
Therefore, as Okorocha prepares to leave Imo Government House Owerri, he was not wrong to say Imo State will miss him. The statement is a two- edged sword.
Two set of people will miss Okorocha.
Those who rose out of obscurity and are today not only heard, but are stupendously rich. And there are those who were able to eat three times a day, and as Okorocha leaves, are now in their villages rueing a life destroyed by Okorocha.
And by popular investigative Report, the latter are in majority, as it is believed that Okorocha’s eight years tour of duty in Imo has rendered both the State and its inhabitants to penury.
For instance, Okorocha’s regime devoted much time and fund to what it called urban renewal, which spent much time to road construction.
But in the final analysis, this raining season has exposed that whatever Billions of Naira that would be claimed by the Okorocha regime as what was spent on road constructing these Roads all ended in waste basket as the physical studies show that no road built by the administration stands to be counted as a Road. Even as Okorocha is still in office.
From Douglas Road, to Wethral, Okigwe, MCC/Uratta, World Bank, Works Layout, Egbu, Ikenegbu, Aladinma Roads are all washed away.
It sounds better that these roads are washed away as Okorocha is still in power, so that he would realize that by the time he vacates office next May he would be leaving with no road attached to his administration when he is gone.
Therefore, Imo people will ever remember that Okorocha left office without leaving behind a single solid road that can bear his name, just like those constructed by Mbakwe, Udenwa and Ohakim regimes are still standing firm today after decades.
The wonder of all these is that even as the Ohakim-Udenwa-Mbakwe-built strong and solid roads refused to give in, Okorocha bulldozed them leaving Imo in a state of quagmire.
Education is another sector the Okorocha regime prides itself about. But a deep look into the Imo Education sector unveils that Imo has dropped from the ladder of educated States in Nigeria based on WAEC and NECO released Examination results.
Before now, Imo used to be within the First to third positions. But in the recent result, Imo State came a distant seventh.
The reason Sam Mbakwe founded Imo State University was to give easy access of University education to a greater number of Imo citizens.
But the Okorocha Government “Commercialized” Imo State University for the highest bidder from outside the State, therefore leaving very limited spaces for Imo borns in the University.
Imo people will not forget Okorocha in a hurry on his style of governance based on “open policy”, where the Governor rules the State in an open “Obiri” in Government House. It is a bizarre scenario where Government secrets are made open to all character of people whose contracts are signed while “standing”.
The Imo Civil Service will for a long time remember Okorocha. It was during his regime that adults were ordered to wear uniform to office as a policy. They now put on white and black. Imo Civil Servants were directed to attend work for only three days, while the other two days should be spent in their farms.
Public holidays could be declared in Imo State for the flimsiest of all reasons. Like when the Governor celebrates his birthdays.
For the first time in the history of Imo State, the Governor’s birthdays were declared public holidays, which could last for weeks, grounding all Government business.
Presidents, Prime Ministers, Ambassadors etc of other countries are ferried into Imo State at tax payer’s expenses to witness Okorocha’s annual show-stopping stupendous birthdays.
The last time it held last year, twenty seven Local Government Areas in the State purchased twenty seven cakes to celebrate Okorocha, at a time Local Government staff were owed months of salary arrears.
Government appointees are directed to lead their people to Government House to pay loyalty with Drinks and Cows to the political God of Imo State as if Empires last forever.
Imo will remember Okorocha as that Governor who lasted in office for Eight years without a single tap of water running in any part of the State.
Instead the water Board was demolished and converted to a secondary, where there is no pipe borne water for the students to drink and flush the toilets.
We shall remember Okorocha as the only Governor in Imo State under whose regime the State owned football Team, Heartland Football Club, was relegated to the second division since Ndubuisi Kanu became the first Governor of old Imo State.
If you visit the old and New Stadia in Owerri, you will realize why Imo youths will not forget Okorocha. While Old Stadium has been converted to a Shopping Mall and Secondary School, the Dan Anyiam Stadium is a shame to behold.
The roofs have fallen down. The seats which took other regimes millions of Naira to put into use are destroyed by weather. The field is over-grown with no activities.
Infact, the youths of Imo State will ever remember Okorocha. Sprinting, Judo, Handball, Hockey, Jumping, Volley Ball, Takwando and other Sports that won Imo State laurels in the past are now dead.
And unfortunately, one of the biggest Shopping Malls constructed at the Dan Anyiam stadium with Millions of Naira, housing many stores and serving as job employment for many families, was recently demolished by Okorocha for reason no one has told Imo people yet.
If there are any set of people that will dream about Okorocha all their lives, it is the traders in Imo State. Okorocha mauled down their sources of income at Ekeonunwa Market and New Market respectively.
These traders need years to recover from the economic devastation of that wicked and senseless act which has contributed in leaving Douglas road Owerri now as the dirtiest place in Nigeria.
In the area of politics, Imo politicians have been licking their wounds and gazing towards the sky since Okorocha became Governor.
Infact, Okorocha re-wrote the map of Imo politics. In the first place, he does not take political prisoners, and hardly forgives. It is very unfortunate that just few months to leave office, the tension enveloping Imo politics since Okorocha was sworn-in in 2011 has remained on till date.
The Governor, as the father of the State was expected to have reconciled with other politicians after winning the elections. But up till now, Okorocha remains at daggers-drawn with all big politicians in the State, including those in his own party. None of his predecessors attend Imo Government functions. And neither are invitations extended to them as demanded by protocol.
The Imo political environment is filled with anger and vengeance, even as Okorocha is releasing more “political Destitutes” into an already charged environment breeming with roaming politicians who had thought that their political Eldorado lies in the hand of Okorocha.
As I write, all Imo people are apprehensive and scared of what will happen during the election.
Never has Imo State lived in such a political tension than now. Okorocha is rather compounding the ugly situation by vehemently saying that power will return to Orlu zone, when leaving office after Eight years.
Imo State cannot forget how Okorocha converted the State to a personal fiefdom, where only his relations and inlaws hold plum positions, including the bizarre ‘Ministry of Happiness”.
And most importantly, what will make Okorocha remain ever green in the mind of Imo people is not his beautiful tarred roads, running pipe borne waters, planted-trees and flowers, factories (which he promised but never built) or completed Hospitals.
Imo people will continue to stare at the statues that litter new Owerri, which took millions of naira to mould. They include that of financial fugitive of South Africa, Jacob Zuma.
However, if Okorocha fails to foist a successor on Imo people, the Millions spent in erecting these gigantic statues will gone done the drain.
The reason is that one of the first things Imo people will do after Okorocha leaves office would be to demolish those statues. Not that the Imo masses want to forget Okorocha in a hurry, but the statues would remind them of a wasted Eight-years of Imo Funds.
Truly, Imo people will miss Okorocha. He pleaded and worked to be a Governor, and Imo people did him. Now, it is time for posterity to score him. “Whatever you are, be a good one” says Abraham Lincoln.