Posted by Collins Ughalaa | 21 December 2017 | 2,016 times
I was still thinking of what the new Ministry of Happiness and Couples’ Fulfilment would entail, whether they would just duplicate the roles of the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, or anything like that, or take away the Welfare unit and hand them over to the new Happiness Ministry. I was still asking questions when I read that while Sam Onwuemeodo, Governor Okorocha's Chief Press Secretary, was writing the press release on Monday about the swearing-in of the 28 commissioners and 27 TC chairmen, the Devil crept into his pen and made yet another mistake, another discrepancy.
“There was a typographic error in the first statement issued on the swearing-in of the new commissioners. The word ‘Couple’ was inadvertently written, Instead of the word ‘Purpose’ We regret that,” said Onwuemeodo.
Onwuemeodo’s statement creates nomenclature crisis for the new ministry. By what name would it be known: Ministry of Happiness and Couples’ Fulfilment or Ministry of Happiness and Purpose Fulfilment?
Well, you could notice that both Onwuemeodo and the Governor do not take Imo people serious, otherwise the CPS would have handled the issue of another discrepancy with much more seriousness, considering that just about a week ago, Imo people were shocked that the earlier advertised 2018 budget presentation before the Imo State House of Assembly was stalled because of certain discrepancies in the budget speech. But here we are with another discrepancy over the nomenclature of a new ministry.
Enough of this. We have eventually got what the government and the Governor think constitute happiness to Imo people. It is not farfetched from the content of Onwuemeodo’s statement that the Governor, indeed the government, is under the illusion that Imo people are happy for the same things that make them sad. This illusion is unprecedented and it is worrisome.
Who can blame Governor Okorocha for this strange thinking of what forms happiness for Imo people? The truth is that Governor Okorocha is the product of our collective greed, envy, jealousy, blackmail, gullibility, “nshiko” mentality, etc. And we have lived with it because every people deserve the kind of leadership they get.
Governor Okorocha should know that Imo people are not happy with him. From old pensioners who collapsed during protests or in banking halls to families of dead pensioners whose life could have been saved had the state government under Okorocha paid them, to the civil servants who force smile from themselves whenever they see him just to cover the pain of their anguish, to the traders whose businesses have been dislocated and shops demolished, to the keke operators, the families whose homes were destroyed in the name of road dualisation and urban renewal, the artisans and hawkers who are chased every now and then like common criminals, the students who go to school with no teachers in class, the 10,000 jobs beneficiaries who lost their jobs, land owners whose lands were grabbed, families who were chased out of their homes at Alvan and those chased away by flood, contractors who never got paid, the elected local government officials who were sacked more than six years ago, the communities that have been enmeshed in all kinds of crisis; Imo people are sad people. Can Governor Okorocha say that HRH Eze Dr Cletus Ilomuanya is happy with him after all he has gone through in his hands?
Okorocha would be mistaken if he thinks that the people he sees everyday from the side mirror of his sporte vehicles are not walking corpses. And by the way he’s forcing them, one day these walking corpses would occupy the Ministry of Happiness, to draw home the point that they are carrying their melancholy about.
In case Governor Okorocha does not know, there are no good public schools in the whole of Imo State. The schools are insufficiently staffed and funded and therefore cannot boast of anything that can make a parent happy. Okorocha's appointees know what I am talking about and that is why they don’t send their children to Okorocha's public schools even when they are free, because they cannot be happy watching their children waste their time everyday going to such schools.
The Governor should carry out a little investigation within his appointees and he would be shocked that even his new Commissioner for Information, Prof Nnamdi Obiareri, cannot find happiness in sending his children to Okorocha’s rotten public schools, but would rather pay millions of naira to get them school elsewhere, where he is sure to find happiness.
Unknown to the Governor, Imo people, whether rich or poor, instead of finding happiness in sending their children to Okorocha’s public schools, they find happiness in unspeakable quantity sending them to private schools not minding that it drains their purse. This accounts for why private schools, from nursery to secondary, have remained lucrative in Imo State – shockingly in the rural areas too, where rural dwellers do all kinds of menial jobs in order to send their children to private schools where they can find happiness. And these rural dwellers are the people Governor Okorocha calls “My people”, who were deceived into rescue mission hogwash. How happy they are!
If there is anything that has drained the happiness of Imo people in about seven years now, that is the poor health policy of the Okorocha’s government. Of course, the rural dwellers are the worst hit. But on assumption of office in 2011, the Governor met functional healthcare system, where the health centers provided primary healthcare and the general hospitals provided the tertiary health services, notwithstanding other special interventions in healthcare delivery. Many of these hospitals were built by Governors Achike Udenwa and Ikedi Ohakim. To treat malaria then could cost less than N400. But few months into the Okorocha’s shambolic reign, the Dynasty scrapped all these facilities, “sold” them off and announced he was building brand new 27 general hospitals. Since then Imo people have not seen any public health infrastructure that addresses any of their health needs. They spend through the nose to access health services from the private hospitals. And the Governor thinks these people are happy!
No one in Imo State knows anything about Okorocha’s Health at Your Door Step. It exists only in the mind of the Governor and therefore cannot make anyone happy.
Imo people have every reason to be angry when they consider that they don’t have a government as far as Agriculture is concerned. Nobody understands what Okorocha’s Back to Land agricultural policy means and its effect on the people, except that the Governor reduced working days for state civil servants from five to three in a week. No farmer in Imo State has felt the presence of Okorocha’s government as far as Agriculture is concerned.
The happiness Imo farmers knew was taken away from them by Governor Okorocha when he took over in 2011. By that time Imo farmers enjoyed fertilisers from the the Udenwa and Ohakim administrations. It was reported that millions of seedlings kept at the nursery at the farm in Nekede were all destroyed by the Okorocha government in 2011. What of the Agronova programmes? They are all gone!
What of the Agric Extension Workers that went round the farms and thought farmers on how best to go about their farming? What of the tractors and other farming implements the Udenwa and Ohakim governments procured? They are all gone with the Okorocha happiness sucking government!
If Governor Okorocha knows what the happiness of Imo people really is, he should have known that Imo people need public water in their homes. They want to come back home and turn on the tap and get water. But the hope of getting this all-important utility has been dashed by the same government that now mouths happiness.
The 12 years labour of the Achike Udenwa and Ikedi Ohakim era to make Imo people really happy by giving them water and electricity have all been eroded by Governor Okorocha. All the more than 1000 water schemes of the Ohakim era have been destroyed, not to talk of the Achike Udenwa water projects. Yet Governor Okorocha thinks Imo people are happy without drinking water.
We have consoled ourselves. Our Happiness is not in Governor Okorocha’s hands, neither is it in the hands of the Ministry of Happiness. We have made the mistake of allowing him bestrode our political space as Governor. But never again!
Never again should we be cajoled to mortgage our happiness in the hands of sadists. Never again shall we allow land grabbers and joy-killers take over our collective destiny and ride roughshod on us. Never again shall we allow the son in-law to continue the bastardisation of our common patrimony on behalf of the Dynasty. The boiling anger of the over 800,000 unemployed Imo youths will confront their slave masters and let them know that the power of their mind and the desire for freedom and happiness is stronger than the slave master’s chains.
•Collins Ughalaa writes from Owerri. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org
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