Political leaders come and go. One time Gov. Sam Mbakwe and Premier M. I. Opara were such good-tag name leaders. Today we have Gov. Rochas Okorocha of Imo State. The other time, it was Gov. Chris Ngige in Anambra state followed by Gov. Peter Obi at the moment. Rochas Okorocha is, indeed, becoming particular. They say He is on a mission to develop his people and state, and it is clear as observers put it.
I was just reading up Christmas messages and wishes in the facebook when I stumbled into this self-reporting impressional article by Matthew Mbanaja who is based at Cotonou in Benin Republic. Grace to the author, we can learn through first impressions and reality checks as we celebrate our Christmas. His argument is clear. To give credit to whom it is due and encourage everyone to be a participant observer in state governance of one's region. By reading Matthew Mbanaja's small ethnographic observation and insight, it appears Governor Roachas Okorocha is doing great in Imo State although the challenges of governance and development cannot be denied in his set areas of focused priorities for social, economic, leadership and political action. He is a popular Governor with a difference. He calls himself a field officer, a man on the site. Breaching protocols is a style to get to the front line of political business of critical interest. Here is a Governor who claims he hates seeing people suffer and whenever he has the opportunity to remove the obstacles that hinder people from accessing the means of good life, he will unleash his Governorship power to allow it. Here is also a Governor who claims that he is a generational Governor, not a Governor working for re-election or recylce himself and team as a breakaway from the tradition of voting and deploying development resources to win the next election. He argued that a good Governor will be needed by the people for the people when the election time comes. A good Governor should be seen as a genuine and skilled political asset and therefore a threat to any competing candidates for the office of the Governor or Presidency in real political electioneering.
I am reposting Matthew Mbanaja's piece as a door to getting more done in the self-reporting approach he is celebrating his Christmas at home. We can do more either to agree or disagree with the leadership style and successes or failures of Governor Rochas Owelle Okorocha of Imo State of Nigeria today. It must be noted that Governor Okorocha is currently the most highly sought after Governor for public events in and outside Nigeria. I just like and endorse Governor Okorocha for one thing in particular, the spirit and zeal to offer education to everyone in the state, with no child left behind. For that vision and pursuit of the goal to accomplish it, I am excited. I want to say Happy Christmas and more New Years to this generational Governor of our time.
Matthew Mbanaja says: 'I have come to bury Czar and not to praise him.'
While in my station outside Nigeria like most of us in the diaspora, we read about the goings on in Imo state which points to the fact that Anayo Rochas Okorocha, the APGA Governor of the state has mismanaged the funds of the state and is governing the state out of due process.
This prompted my personally engaging my time to seek, observe and investigate to the best of my knowledge the authenticity of these claims, since I am involved as non-partisan but a man on the street citizen of the state.
First on my arrival to Owerri Imo state capital, I called my cousin who is a top labour leader in the state, he directed me to meet him at concord hotels located in the new Owerri layout.
As the taxi was taking me to the new Owerri, I asked the driver if he is sure that he knows where Concord Hotel is located because he drove me through a newly opened road near Owerri high court that links the new Owerri with the old Owerri into an area that has a GRA or celebrity scenario called ‘Heroes Square’, an arcade beautifully edified in honour of our late hero, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu.
Opposite the heroes square is the abandoned house of assembly quarters that now wears a new look as concord extension, on entry into the Concord Hotel, behold, it was fully renovated to an international standard five star hotel with modern tiles from floor to the wall. The rooms are superbly furnished to the delight of any visitor to the hotel. The concord village and swimming pool are wearing new African aesthetic looks.
My labour leader cousin Comrade Austin Chilapku gave me a real lecture on the leadership qualities of RAO whom he gave a 100% pass mark for being the first governor in Nigeria to pay seven months areas of the minimum wage and has since his resumption as governor paid the salaries of public servants and pensioners promptly as at when due, thereby making his job as a labour leader less stressful.
The next day, I visited Orlu and Okigwe zones where I witnessed the development efforts of the governor, driving round these areas that in the past had refused to develop due to one jinx or the other, you practically realize that the governor is doing something and has done wonders without comparison in only 14 months in office. Let me just say that ihe mega in Imo state. Things are happening out there as I am celebrating my Christmas at home.
At Owerri, 19th December, I stepped out of my office of indigenous people of Biafra, 90 Wetheral road Owerri for my favourite dinner, roasted yam garnished in red oil, ugba and ukazi, by the new township school here in Wetheral road Owerri, I saw a crowd of public servants being addressed by the Governor. I looked different because I was on jeans and sports top while the crowd were on sporty black suit, white shirts and red tie, the official public servants outfit in the state. I sat down to know the feeling of the workers who included all the teachers in the state, all the workers I directly spoke to not as a journalist but as a man on the street all confirmed their happiness and total support for the Governor who according to them paid their salary up to date including the month of December, he also paid out 10,000 naira extra cash to every worker in the state to buy rice and condiments for Xmas.
As if that was not enough, there was a loud jubilation as the town hall meeting between the Governor and the workers was going on and when I asked a participant, she told me that their Governor is God sent; that the cash of 10,000 naira he promised just arrived the venue for sharing while they have all got their bank salary alert to indicate that their salaries for the month of December have been duly paid by the government into their various accounts.
On Friday, the 20th of December, I went to Afor Oru, one of the biggest weekly markets east of the Niger to interact with the market women. A widow who came to the market with a bunch of plantain sold it at the rate of 1500 naira and was full of praise for the governor for promptly paying the salaries of the [public servants especially teachers who in turn had the purchasing power to buy her plantain at value for money and paid promptly, according to her, when the government fails to pay her workers, the peasant farmers in the rural communities cannot sale their produce thereby creating a chain of hardship on the entire masses. Another woman I spoke to selling apku to me told me that the best thing that has ever happened to her family is the election of Rochas Anayo Okorocha as the Governor of Imo state, she went further to explain that her grand children who are number up to 39 have always been limited to go out as house help to the haves in the past but now with free education, they are now all in the schools enjoying the free education policy of the state governor from primary to university, the best opportunity that has ever reached a poor family like hers.
As I tuned into my radio this morning, I heard that the Imo state governor has paid a cash gift of 10,000 naira to every federal staff in the state including the police, army, navy, air force, road safety legion corps etc., as Xmas gift.
On further probe on the reason for negative reportage on the government of RAO I realized that the PDP whom he won to be governor are mostly political jobbers who find themselves jobless with no more patronage and party as usual in the looting of government treasury. The newspapers are owned by most of them which they used to praise sing their disgraced former governor in his emperor days and since there is no more chance for looting and their followers are happy to read the criticisms and promise to return the state to the dark pharaohs days, the newspapers are being patronized daily by these gullible followers.
It is at this juncture I therefore ask my people of Imo state especially those at home witnessing the progressive road that RAO is leading our state to the Glory of God to applaud him and encourage him to do more.
WHO IS THE COMPLAINANT IN IMO STATE?
Response: Patrick Iroegbu highlights that even when Jesus Christ was living and working among his Jewish people, he was little understood and therefore demystified by being called the son of a common carpenter, Joseph. Not everyone liked or adored him. He had enemies and opponents who wanted him silenced, removed and even killed. With all the spiritual powers he had like no other at his time, he endured and workd for the people, especially sinners, offenders and the needy who formed his mission on earth for deliverance and promise of hope for the eternal kingdom. Whether Governor Rochas Okorocha is doing excellent or getting near it, not everyone will understand or simply adore or applaud him. There will be brazen critics and name callers. I think he knows this well. A field officer and community developer knows where the hideouts are, where local markets are, where the forests are, where the gullies are, where the hills are, where the clays, muds and gravels are, where the running streams and rivers are, where the needy are; and indeed, where the denied and un-empowered populace can go and build their hopes up.
Patrick Iroegbu further says that the complainants must be categorized. He sums them up into two only. One will be those who feel the Governor is blocking their corrupt ways in governance to get what they want and how they want things to flow or come to them. The second are those who increasingly although applaud the Governor for his good investment in the people and state, but have not felt him real in their persons and communities. The latter should worry the Governor more than the former category of complainants. All said, Governor Okorocha should critically streamline bogus promises and implementation ways and approaches. He should also re-consider the Oguta Lake Tourist development model as well as touch base with some backward Ehime Mbano areas alike others of the state for more action. Obodo nile emepechala, oforo Okigwe na Orlu, ihe ochichi na-eme ha adighi mma. Ride on Chief Rochas Okorocha while the ovation lasts to make change a reality in a difficult Imo State. All eyes are watching for more of your voices, energies and moves as a man of the moment.