Posted by Collins Ughalaa | 23 February 2017 | 2,251 times
Have you been to a motor park? If yes, what did you see? What was the environment like? How do the people there behave? If you lived or have been to Lagos, you would be familiar with the motor park environment and the image Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State was creating in our mind’s eyes. This is not to claim there are no motor parks elsewhere. Well, Obiano and Owelle Rochas Okorocha are governors of their respective Imo and Anambra states. And to read that Obiano had the muscle and boldness to look our governor in the eye and make reference to motor park touts was really debasing and annoying. But such is good for a government that has brought nothing but debasement to governance. Okorocha has over the years defiled the sanctity of government and destroyed the face of government as a deity and oracle, by the constant lies that are cooked and fed the people from the chambers of government.
Whereas I cannot open my mouth to say that the Governor of Imo State is a motor park governor or a tout – God forbid bad manners – having lived and schooled in Lagos, I have a few things to say about the motor park touts, because you cannot live in Lagos and not know them.
For those who do not know, the two governors have been in some verbal war, tearing each other apart in the media. Okorocha stoked fire when he claimed, during a meeting of All Progressives Congress (APC) stakeholders in Owerri recently, that three serving governors in the South-East were in talks with him on how to join the APC: a statement his mouthpiece, Mr Sam Onwuemeodo, would later describe as harmless political statement. But it was a different thing to Obiano, due to what insiders described as long-held animosity between the two tigers.
Insiders say that Obiano and Okorocha do not see eye-to-eye politically, due to certain leadership issues. It was said that Okorocha wants to become Chairman of the South-East Governors Forum, which Obiano objects to. In turn, it was said that Okorocha had been blocking Obiano from joining the APC and to becoming its flag-bearer for the governorship election coming on soon in the state. This, insiders claim, has led to cold war between the two Igbo leaders.
Therefore, when Okorocha alluded to his discussion with three governors of the South-East to join the APC, Obiano saw it as opportunity to cut a pound of flesh, since the APC door must have been shut against him with the entry of some other giants in Anambra State for the same purpose. It was also said that Obiano had refused to attend the South-East Governors Forum meeting in Enugu for several times; an action interpreted to mean a protest against Okorocha’s muted desire to head the group, even though the group is largely non-existent.
Obiano replied and said Okorocha was not an example of what a good leader should be. Okorocha replied and said Obiano was clueless. And Obiano wouldn’t let his back thrown on the ground, like Amalinze the cat would do to his opponents. He replied again through Prince Oliver Okpala, his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Strategic Communication and Legislature, saying: “Okorocha’s claim that there is a general impression that Chief Willie Obiano is ‘an aggressive governor who should have done better as a militant than as a governor’ is laughable and it is clear to Nigerians who really is a ‘motor park’ personality between them.”
As ugly and condemnable as the unbridled emotion and altercation between the two tigers is, I have been reminded of what I used to see at the motor parks in Lagos, especially at Mushin, Okota, Obalende, Oshodi, Idumota and Ikeja. One thing I noticed about the motor park touts is that they are reckless and lawless, and engage in substance abuse. Fighting is not a taboo among motor park touts, as it is a daily occurrence. Motor park touts can steal and maim. They do not care how you feel, whether you are hurt or not. All they care for is their money.
Then, in Imo State, what I have seen since June 2011, when the Governor Okorocha made his maiden address to the people of the state on radio, has been constitutional breaches. First, methinks that the manner the 10,000 jobs beneficiaries were sacked without any compensation was reckless. Though efforts have been made by the governor to replicate and, perhaps, surpass the 10,000 jobs success, he has always met brick-walls. At every inch, the governor has failed, because no other animal is like the lion. Methinks also that the manner in which the elected local government officials were sacked via mere broadcast, was also reckless and a breach of the law. The Constitution provides for three tiers of government. The Constitution does not tie any of the tiers of government to the other. But what I have seen is that the local governments have been run in patronages in the form of Transition Committee Chairmen.
For six years now, the law providing for democratic election into local governments in the country has not been followed in Imo State, as we have not had any local government election in the state since 2011. And this is irrespective of the number of times the governor bit his chest and said there would be election into the councils. No one really has heard from the governor why the grave is being dug for local governments in the state for mass burial. Not many know of the current ordeals of local government workers. In fact, the local government workers are in worse condition ever.
The motor park touts I saw in Lagos were destructive. So, I looked in Imo State and saw that the noble and progressive town union system with which the Igbo people rebuilt their communities after the war and developed beyond imaginations have been destroyed and replaced with the failed Community Government Council (CGC). The CGC was later to be met by the State Development Council (SDC). Apart from the town unions, the development centres have been destroyed, throwing many out of job and killing the political careers of many.
The experience of Vampire’s escape in the state recently with the aid of his gang members and the increasing rate of insecurity in the state has also shown that security may have also been destroyed in the state. Looking up again, I remembered that all the social amenities we used to have in the state, including water, are all gone and forgotten like a plate of rice when eaten. Same applies to the equipment previous government spent huge sum of money to procure: they have all vanished. IRROMA equipment has gone deep into the ocean. Nothing works! Nothing is good except what Rochas does.
The truth is that with the way my bowel is moving, I could vomit on Obiano’s face for his “motor park personality” comment in reference to our own governor. But, let me remind us that motor park touts are often times enthralled with drama. They dramatise the way they greet you, if you are their boss, senior, or they want to get a favour from you, or they have already got one. Then, I looked back in time and recalled the ceremony, or drama, with which civil servants were given uniform. Truth is that everything about Okorocha’s Imo State has been all drama and no substance. The governor had earlier declared an increment in the salaries of civil servants. He went ahead to make a black-and-white dress on red tie uniform for the civil servants. He gave them N10,000 wardrobe allowance, just to enable them have the uniforms. He told them henceforth manna would begin to fall from the sky. But after that, what has happened? The wardrobe allowance no longer comes and the civil servants can no longer change their uniforms. They are now looking haggard from want and neglect. This is compounded by the illegal deductions in their salaries: 60 per cent and 70 per cent. Then they are told that working for government alone wouldn’t put food on their table. Therefore, they are asked to work three days in the office and two days on their private farms. In Imo State today, the allowances of civil servants are all gone. No more leave for all government workers in Imo.
I don’t want to remind myself of the destructions that took place in the name of government’s urban renewal project. But I cannot forget that the same government has destroyed its own projects just few months after they were put up. For example, the state government has destroyed the roundabouts it spent millions of naira belonging to all Imo people, those alive and those unborn, to build. The state government has destroyed its own pedestrian bridges and abandoned its street gate project. The roundabouts haven been destroyed in some places, while businesses and homes have been dislocated. This amounts to wastages and lack of planning.
Have you seen a motor park tout? You would see he is not organised. They do things on their impulse most of the time. We used to hear from government officials that the governor would meet you on the road with your request or proposal, and looking up at it, he approves it immediately. In fact, the government officials relished this, regarding it as some virtue. They told us the governor does not like protocol. But protocol was created to regulate government businesses and the conduct of government officials. It is not my word that the state governor has gained for himself the notoriety of a man who does not follow the processes, but believes in the outcomes, no matter how. In Imo State, there is no longer Tenders’ Board, not one that I know of. Otherwise JPROSS would not have run away with Imo money.
How many people have seen or read the governor’s speech for close to six years now? They say the governor is an orator, but his speeches have not been found or documented anywhere to guarantee reference and documentation. Lack of this inhibits planning and accountability in government. If the governor had addressed the APC stakeholders during their meeting in Owerri with a written speech, he could not have made the baseless claim that three governors of the South-east were in talks with him to come over to APC. But why would the governor divulge such matter just to please his audience and get the applause of his guests, if at all he had such talks? Only talkative behave like that. And yours is talkative.
But such is what you see always when you get into a motor park. The people there do not have control over their tongues. They run their mouths and can curse their mothers from one side of their mouth. In Imo State, the song from Douglas House was that Imo State was rich. In fact, we were told Imo State had enough money to use and throw away. Years later, we were told the state was broke and couldn’t pay its workers and pensioners and contractors. Few months later, we were entertained with another song, that the recession in the country did not affect Imo State. What immune system Imo must have!
And, of course, those who sang this song know that everything about it was false and deceptive. But they wanted us to believe the drama of Imo Air as real life story. They do not want us to ask questions as to how they managed to raise the funds for such investment. Therefore, they tried to provide us already-made answers, and to divert our attention.
But let me tell you, we do not need Obiano to tell us who our governor is. We know him more than Obiano thinks. You see, our governor is like that elder who sits on top of a tree and from there defecates on little children, believing the little children had not seen him. But they have seen his anus.
•Collins Ughalaa can be reached via email@example.com
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