Before we get into this discussion proper, some disclaimers are necessary; even though I belong to the All Progressives Congress, I am not an official of the Party at any level, even though I am a supporter of the Rescue Mission Government in Imo State, I do not hold any position in the government, either formally or informally, hence, I do not get instructions on what to write or what not to write from any quarters. This article, like others before it, is borne out of a conviction in me; that lies must not be allowed to thrive in our society.
Speaking and writing the truth are both a passion and a calling, and I will try as much as possible to remain in this lane without deviating. As a former supporter of Dr. Ikedi Ohakim, I do not have anything personal against him, but I put this essay forward as part of my service to humanity, especially, Imolites, so that they may understand what I think are the motivations for the former governor’s recent pastime in harassing the hardworking administration of Owelle Rochas Okorocha, by unnecessarily heating up the polity with badly created fictions. I appreciate that no opinion is indisputable, and it will be my pleasure to engage those who feel they owe the former governor a duty to defend him in the media, if they can come up with arguments based on the issues I have raised, here. Now, we can talk.
Recently, most newspapers that are published in Owerri, the Imo State capital, featured an interview credited to the immediate past governor of Imo State, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, with a good number of these papers trying to sensationalize the interview by crafting a news article out of the interview and featuring same on their front pages, with sensational headlines. While the editors of these newspapers, expectedly, chose different words in carrying the news, the one that particularly caught my attention was that which chose to go with the following words; “I WILL LEAD A PROTEST AGAISNT OKOROCHA’S GOVERNMENT- IKEDI OHAKIM”.
The editor of this particular newspaper is both a good editor and a fine businessman. He plotted this farce so well, made mockery of the former governor and also had his paper sold out. People rushed to buy the paper, just to read what the former governor wanted to lead a protest against. A friend told me he bought the paper so that he would know if the former governor’s hatred for Imolites had gotten so bad that he wanted to lead a protest against an administration that has freed the people from the bondage he put them in. There are many reasons why that paper sold out, but all of them are disdainful to the former governor.
Everybody has a right to protest, and in fact everybody can protest, but what should matter to us is the reason for any protest being embarked upon by any individual or group. It is important to note that the first ever recorded protest in the history of the world, is that led by Satan, the Devil. The Devil led a protest against God, because he was envious of God and sad that God had prepared great things in stock for mankind. Did the Devil succeed in winning some Angels of God to his side? He did, and even succeeded in winning humankind to his inglorious protest. How did he succeed in wooing even those for whom God had great plans? Through lies, well-coordinated blackmail, propaganda and telling the people what they wanted to hear. Today, we have demons in Abyss who were originally angels in Heaven. They are condemned forever, because they allowed themselves to be taken in by lies, instead of dismissing the Devil and his cocktail of tactful lies.
People get angry for different reasons, people protest for different reasons and people also get happy for different reasons. It is not by mistake that we have a word ‘sadist’ in the English Dictionary. There are people who do not feel happy when things are looking good for a majority of the people. Oppressors will do everything to stop the freedom of the people.
Why is Shekau fighting? The head of the Boko Haram sect is unrelenting in his protest against the Federal Government and the people of Nigeria because he does not want the people to go to school. That is actually the meaning of ‘Boko Haram’; Education is forbidden. This sounds similar to what a former governor openly said during his time at the helm, when he openly declared that ‘education is not for poor people’. There are similarities between this former governor and Shekau, the leader of the Boko Haram sect. Shekau is fortunate to have accessed formal Western Education and is deploying the benefits of formal education even in his fight against the people and government of Nigeria, yet preaches that people should be barred from accessing formal education. This former governor did not have very wealthy parents, but he was able to access education up to tertiary level, yet, he insisted that education is not for the poor and even made it clear that ‘free education is impossible or non-practicable. Is it possible that this same former governor is bitter to the point of wanting to lead a protest against the present administration because the administration has put a lie to his assertion that free education is impossible and the poor should not go to school?
Like Shekau is desperately leading a terrorist attack against Nigeria because he hates the freedom of the people, a leader who did everything within and even outside his powers to subjugate the people and whip them into his despotic line, will do everything to show opposition to an administration that is dedicated to freeing the people from maladministration and guaranteeing them their freedom. This is my analysis of the banner headline carried by one of our local tabloids, which read: I WILL LEAD A PROTEST AGAINST OKOROCHA’S ADMINISTRATION- IKEDI OHAKIM.
Further enquiries into the reason for that headline, led me into reading online an interview former governor, Ikedi Ohakim granted a journalist, Iheanacho Nwosu. Reading the interview was a huge punishment on its own, as I could not get myself to terms with the fact that a man I so much respect and did everything to sell to Imolites nay Nigerians, could be ridiculing himself this much through uncontrolled exhibition of bitterness. To worsen matters, the former governor continues to rehash the same lies he told in previous protest matches he had against the present government. He continues to talk about the quality of projects. Does he not know that if he had given Imolites, one percent of the projects Owelle Rochas Okorocha gave to them in his first year in office, he wouldn’t have been talking as an ex-governor whom the masses rose against and threw out of office in the most unceremonious manner, but as a former governor who completed his tenure?
It is disappointing to read the former governor keep rehashing the lie which he used to deceive a lot of us, that he left some money in the coffers of Imo State government in 2011. The former governor forgot that Imo still boasts of the highest number of graduates in Nigeria, therefore, majority of Imolites cannot be deceived with something they can actually research on. Imo people know what bond is and know that it was not money anybody could have spent anyhow without following certain laid down rules. Imoites are interested in knowing how much of the about 900 Billion Naira Chief Ohakim received as Federal allocation, internally generated revenue and other funds, he left in the coffers of the Imo State government, not a loan he raised through the capital market. If he did not leave any such money in the account, he should tell Imolites what he did with the huge allocation he received from the FG, especially, considering the wonderful relationship he enjoyed with the then, President, Umoru Yaradua and the fact that some of the bills that were been paid by the Udenwa administration were no longer paid by his administration.
Chief Ohakim should have known that even if he becomes a television host with the British Broadcasting Corporation or even CNN, where the focus will be on talking about Imo State under him and the Imo State under Okorocha, no reasonable person will take him seriously, especially, if he does not point to any tangible legacy project of his four years tenure as governor. It is unfortunate that the former governor, who prides himself as a management expert only talks about the plans he had for Imo, and not what he did for Imo State in the four years he was governor. Is he telling us that he did not have any plans before he became governor? Did our former governor use four years of Imo peoples’ mandate to plan for a governorship he already had?
It is saddening that the former governor continues to insult the youths of Imo State by his consistent and spiteful reference to the 10,000 Ponzi scheme; a job scheme which his administration used to distort the prospects of a lot of Imo youths. The former governor should understand that Imolites are not foolish, Imo youths are also not foolish. Writing the name of about 9,000 Imolites in the Imo State Civil Service Payroll less than one month to the expiration of his tenure is one of the worst insults any administration has given to the youths of Imo State. The earliest, some youths got their appointment letter for that job scheme was in Novemeber, 2010, five months before the 2011 election and those who were employed then were less than One thousand people.
As someone who wrote the Aptitude Test and one of the best scorers (I actually scored 74 in that exam) I turned down the invitation to attend the interview when it became obvious that the scheme was merely for political purposes, instead of being targeted at helping our teeming youths get employment into the Imo State Civil Service as they trumpeted, I know a lot not to keep quiet when this kind of lies are deployed to blackmail the high performing government of Owelle Rochas Okorocha. Let me make this very clear, and let it be held against me in the future; no serious government would have retained those new recruits, if it really wanted to move forward. About 80% of the beneficiaries of that Ponzi scheme were yet to be properly deployed before Governor Okorocha took office, while more than 90% of them were yet to receive a dime as salary from the government till Owelle Rochas Okorocha took office. That former Governor Ohakim could deliberately burden the State Civil Service with that number of civil servants at the twilight of his administration says a lot about how much he hates Imo State. He didn’t care about how these people would be paid, for he knew that there was no plan for them to be paid, but he deliberately laid a booby trap for the incoming government so the new administration would be trapped in that mess, and fail in its bid to rescue Imo. That the incumbent governor did not fall into that booby trap is certainly one of the reasons why he is bitter against the governor and envious of the freedom Imo people now enjoy.
It is easy to understand why the former governor could be a very bitter man. It is also easy to appreciate why he will not stop vomiting his negative bile in the public. As a sitting governor whose Party also controlled government at the center, His Excellency, Chief Ikedi Ohakim also had all the security machineries in his palm. His running mate in that election, Professor Viola Onwuliri was alleged to have handpicked most of the Returning Officers across the State, as her husband, Professor Celestine Onwuliri (May God rest his soul) was the Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri from where these returning officers were selected. The personal assistant to the Vice-Chancellor (that is husband of the deputy governorship candidate)was one of these electoral officers.
With the system obviously on his side, and everything primed to work in his favor, Chief Ohakim boasted to everyone who cared to listen that; “I will win and I will win with wide margin”. But Imo people proved him wrong, and voted massively for the Rescuer-in-Chief, Owelle Rochas Okorocha. Ikedi Ohakim did not only lose, but lost with wide margin, beyond his own imagination.
For a governor whose signature policy was beautification of Imo State, he could be bitter learning that apart from planting grasses in some parts of Owerri and planting flowers in the center of some roads, there is nothing he could do to achieve that beautification program of his. Owelle Rochas Okorocha, who did not make any promise to beautify Imo State has shown him how to be creative in leadership, by making Imo one of the most beautiful cities in Nigeria. Today, all the unnecessary grasses the former governor planted with all our allocations have been uprooted, while the trees and flowers that were embarrassingly planted at the center of our major roads have been uprooted. In their steads, there are now artificial waterfalls, beautiful and artistically marvelous monuments, better structures across the State, wider road networks, beautifully and tastefully planned and scenic environments that have made Owerri the preferred destination for movie makers in Nigeria, as they have got locations that can pass for London or even Paris for their films.
Another thing that spurs people to bitterness is shame. When someone is ashamed that another person has achieved things he never imagined, he might resort to bitterness and frustration. The former governor could be ashamed that even in his own Okigwe zone, the Owelle Rochas Okorocha has put up projects he never imagined could be in Imo State. We must appreciate how frustrating it could be for our former governor to drive down from Owerri to his Okohia Retreat and be embarrassed by the massive structures that Imo has been adorned with. We should also sympathize with our former governor, because the Okorocha administration has so embarrassed him with projects and many people oriented policies that even his Okohia kinsmen have lost every respect for him. Some Okohia friends of mine, do not hide their disappointment in their brother. Some of them had taken to the social media in the past to lambast their brother for wasting his opportunity in power, with some of them stopping short of calling him a total disappointment to them.
How does our former governor feel seeing the progress of work at the Okigwe campus of Imo State University, a project he could have executed for his people, but failed woefully at? How does our former governor feel, seeing the beautiful sight Okigwe city has become within the last six years? How does our former governor feel, driving through the six LGAs in Okigwe zone and seeing new projects and the smiling faces of poor parents whose children are not deprived of their right to education? How does our former governor feel seeing the intervention on our health sector with the new general hospitals built across the twenty seven LGAs? How does our former governor feel seeing our civil servants wearing new dresses and smiling so heartily because they are well taken care of? He couldn’t have felt better than bitter. He will be ashamed and feel defeated, hence, his resort to lies, propaganda, and constant visits to media houses to pick holes with the policies of the present administration.
How does the former governor feel, seeing that both the rich and the poor are living in a new and modernized Owerri, without any threat from the governor’s wife that those who do not have up to One Million Naira in their accounts, should be evicted from Owerri? How does the former governor feel, seeing even widows very close to his own house benefiting from the over 300 houses built for indigent widows across the State by the First Lady? How does our former governor feel, seeing that children of the poorest of the poor are not only going to school but also getting jobs and getting opportunities to contribute their quota to the development of the State? How does our former governor feel seeing that people can criticize government at will and not be threatened with kidnappers, arrested at will or even brought to the Government House to be whipped by the governor, himself? how does our former governor feel seeing that an incumbent governor regularly organizes an event where ordinary Imolites with any form of complaint against the government are given opportunity to openly vent their anger before the governor? how does our former governor feel seeing the numerous industries and businesses that are springing up across the State as a result of the humane and conducive business environment created by the Rescue Mission Administration? How does our former governor feel, seeing that Imo people are now free? Bitter, ashamed or frustrated? I shall investigate and get back to you.
GOD HAS BLESSED IMO STATE!
Written by Onwuasoanya FCC Jones