Posted by News Express | 3 May 2018 | 1,703 times
Not many people in Imo State know that Governor Rochas Okorocha has never changed. Power has not changed him, either. It has only magnified his shortcomings and exposed him as man lacking self-control, a man disappointingly unable to control his urge for the mundane; a man who is never deficient in jesting.
Before venturing into the governorship race in 2011, Okorocha was a serial loser politically. Some have claimed he had also serially failed in his businesses. But he had also been known as a serial political gambler and big talker. At the onset of our return to democratic rule, Okorocha did not win the Orlu Senate seat. And to think that a man who lays claim to being a political wizard and the darling of the people, “Owelle Ndigbo”, was a serial loser!
All efforts to get national attention were merely scratches on hard surface that had no impact whatsoever. Apart from his narrow win of the governorship elections in 2011 and 2015, Okorocha had failed at his gubernatorial bids, including his glaring failure at running a political party he founded, the Action Alliance (AA.).
Okorocha's victory in 2011 was a product of resentment against Dr Ikedi Ohakim by the elite. It was an elite battle and had nothing to do with the masses who had no problems with Ohakim. In fact, the masses of Imo State voted for him. The resentment against Ohakim produced a fatal error, and since then the elite and the state in general have found no love, because resentment cannot produce love. But Okorocha, who is a master at deceiving people, erroneously thought he became governor because he was loved by the people. This is Okorocha's unrealistic imagination.
As a product of resentment, Okorocha has over time demonstrated that his political philosophy is nothing but divide and rule, and spreading resentment. He does not mind setting up son against his father in order to gain some political advantage. This was what happened in Oguta Local Government Area (LGA) where he spread resentment and pitched Prof AG. Anwuka against other leaders in the LGA, in order to secure a measure of influence and presence.
Because of his politics of division, the governor cannot inherit any man's structure. He does not work with an existing structure. He does not want to see anything else on ground. He wants to be the only man that is good, the only man that loves the people, the only man that is better than everyone else. This is the reason he has destroyed all existing infrastructure in the state, so that, in his thinking, when the story of the state is told, it will be all about him. This is why he thinks he can rewrite the story of Imo State.
With resentment in both hands, Okorocha had divided the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) into two: APGA and The Agenda. He preferred to work with The Agenda, and if you must gain government's attention you must belong to The Agenda, otherwise, nothing for you. And, if you recall, when he left APGA and joined the All Progressives Congress (APC), he did so with The Agenda. He did everything possible to send away others who were already in the ACN, Chief Achike Udenwa, Chief Mike Ahamba, etc, who were part of the founding members of the APC.
It was, therefore, not a surprise to many when Okorocha behaved true to type and created Agburu Anyi - Our Clan, in his ruling APC in Imo State, in order to spread resentment in the party. When Okorocha resorts to creating division of this kind, he is only pressing his panic button. He is already in the panic mode. He feels terribly threatened and thinks the best safety net would be to divide and take a portion with him. When he does that he tries to hold on to the new segment by empowering them, giving them opportunities to make money.
Because the new leaders in the new group were ab initio looking for survival, they see such opportunities as coming from God: and Okorocha becomes God-sent or god himself. He is worshipped and obeyed. He is happy, thinking that he has arrived. But wait till the journey gets tough. He would resort to the people he had tagged outcasts and further divide them and seek urgent closure with the amenable ones, and moves on.
I had raised the alarm two years ago that Okorocha was building a political empire and that Uche Nwosu is the current face and consummation of that empire. Okorocha's unholy political empire, which is being built on resentment, will stand on its two feet if Uche Nwosu wins the gubernatorial election in 2019. The Okorocha's Agburu Anyi is a devilish philosophy to actualise the dream empire. And by this evil philosophy, Okorocha declares that only those belonging to the Okorocha empire, “People of Our Clan”, the offspring of his resentment, are eligible to play politics, contest elections and win, get government recognition or reward, etc, in Imo.
Okorocha, as the emperor of the empire, is the sole dispenser of all kinds of favour, with occasional delegation to Uche Nwosu, the face of the Okorocha Empire. Okorocha is not only the emperor, he is also the Chief Priest and Commander of the Legions. This is why he presides over church services, preaches to the pastors who are his under-priests and should look up to him for blessings and spiritual guidance.
As commander of the legions, Okorocha has created a new enforcement agency for his new empire, the ex-militants from Ohaji/Egbema, who have drunk from the pool of his resentment and whom the governor finds more reliable, daring and crude than the police, in the discharge of the agenda of the empire.
As noted above, the only reason Okorocha is vigorously demolishing all the projects put in place or initiated by his predecessors is in furtherance to the implementation of the agenda of the empire, where Okorocha is the Life Emperor, and where resentment is a way of life. If you have read George Orwell's classic novel, 1984, you would see the devilish script Okorocha is acting, that he has become the Big Brother, seeing everyone and everything, knowing everyone and everything and exacting the greatest punishment for the least offence. He makes all the laws and becomes the law himself. He sees what you do even in your bedroom. He knows you more than you even can know yourself. And he even makes you doubt yourself. Such a god!
If Okorocha thinks for the people, if he believes Imo belongs to all of us, he would have known that the prosperity, stability and peace of the state and the people far outweigh every other pecuniary benefit, and that in the end love has a way of conquering resentment.
If Okorocha knew anything about serving the people and building a united Imo, he would have preserved and built on the legacies of his predecessors and not term them failures. Instead, Okorocha has destroyed all the water pipes that took late Samuel Onunaka Mbakwe, former Governor of old Imo State, millions of borrowed dollars to lay. Okorocha would have considered the vital place of water in human and industrial development, and he would have built on the 1,395 water schemes built by the Ohakim’s administration across the state. He would have seen the need not to abandon monumental and economically regenerating projects like the Oak Refinery, Oguta Wonder Lake Resort and Conference Centre, Oguta Deep Seaport, etc.
Unfortunately, in Okorocha's empire what matters is Okorocha alone. He can do anything, including destroying the existing Imo State, to create his empire. Okorocha sees only one obstacle on his way to actualising his empire. That obstacle is the political elites who now stand antithetical to his incongruous plans to annihilate the state and erect an evil empire. The elite have realised that love is more powerful than any other canal weapon.
Upon assumption of office in 2011, Okorocha started his new empire project. Part of the strategy was a long retirement programme that has lasted the lifespan of the Okorocha administration, which he hopes would culminate in the enthronement of a regent, Uche Nwosu.
When Okorocha “retired” the 10,000 jobs, many did not know he was laying the foundation for his emerging empire. When he “retired” the 46 development centres and 27 local governments in the state, which used to serve as the incubation centre for future leaders, it was in furtherance of the machinations for the emergence of his empire. When he “retired” those with statutory appointments, he was only creating a new order. And, when he sacked the chairman of Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers and put in place a pliable stooge, many did not realise that he was only setting up his empire, where traditional rulers would pose no threat. What of the civil servants? His dealing with the civil servants was also to weaken the bureaucracy and have a smooth sail to his empire.
Not done, Okorocha stretched out his hands to the common man, the artisans, the traders, etc, in order to weaken the possibility for a mass revolt.
Do you now know that setting up of Community Government Council (CGC) and the abrogation of the town union system was part of the plot towards actualising Okorocha’s empire? And to think that Okorocha had succeeded in all of these!
Having succeeded thus far, Okorocha now attempts to remove what seems to be the last vestige of opposition to his empire, the elite. To deal with them, Okorocha as a master at divide and rule schemes to set up the empire – Agburu Anyi – against the political elite, most of whom made Imo State what it is today. I mean that Imo State was built on their shoulders and sweat. But what does Okorocha do with them? He tries a psychological war, felting the Agburu Anyi that they are inconsequential, in fact, the enemies of the empire.
To also demonstrate to them his omnipotence, he tells the Agburu Anyi that he has retired them. This is where the matter is: the attempt to remove the elite and successfully install and inaugurate Okorocha’s empire, and the efforts by some of the elite to recover the state from the choking grip of the governor. Whether this will succeed or not is futuristic. It is in God's hands because no one has control over the destiny of his fellow. Moreover, God rules in the affairs of men, and he can upturn and upturn until he accomplishes his design.
Events in recent weeks have shown that the elite have woken to their responsibility, especially with Okorocha's claim at retiring them; because in Rochas Okorocha they have got their just recompense. They sowed tares and they harvested it. They sowed resentment against Ohakim in 2011, and they have harvested no love. They now find Okorocha's outbursts as incredible and unbecoming. They think such outbursts must have come from a psychopath. This was reflected in what Dr Ikedi Ohakim noted in his recent press release, wherein he called on Okorocha to quickly seek urgent medical treatment.
“Okorocha’s senseless comments and actions in the state for years confirm that he has completely run amok and requires urgent psychiatric attention, before he goes totally naked in the market place,” Ohakim said in a press release on Wednesday, April 18, 2018.
Interestingly, behind the mask of Okorocha's outbursts rests a deflated balloon. He can do nothing on his own. To gain control of the state assembly, he had to divide the members with juicy appointments and contracts. To rape the rural communities, he had to first divide and impoverish the traditional rulers and make them stooges. Even among the clergy he has created division and resentment. Such is Governor Rochas Okorocha.
Most Nigerians are accustomed to the way a Nollywood movie ends, especially for a criminally minded fellow. For some unknown reasons, the criminal goes on with his exploits and to the admiration of many. Sometimes he wears the garb of invincibility and may as well become the hero to some who consider his nefarious activities as smartness. In the midst of this ephemeral exploits, his waterloo stands before him for a handshake.
Whatever watershed, therefore, Okorocha had wrought on the Imo polity, whatever magic wand he had employed, his recent spreading of resentment in the name of retiring the elite is his waterloo. He must be taught that love, not resentment, conquers all things.
•Collins Ughalaa writes from Owerri. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org
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