This may not be the best of times for the Senior Advocate of the Masses, SAM, the Education Commander and the “Ogbuhuruzo” I of Africa, Owelle Dr. Rochas Okorocha, OON. For every mortal, time and not fame or wealth matters.
In less than six months now, the pragmatic Owelle will bid his “Peoples House” and “Ndi Imo m” farewell. And that will be awesome. Apart from the alleged “ghosts” that now frighten him in his bedroom, his better friends at Douglas Road and Ekeukwu market will sorely miss him. Who will not miss him?
For the past seven and a half years, the Ogboko maestro trode he Imo landscape like a colossus, retiring and causing to retire those he feel should retire politically. And at the same time raising green horns and ambitious youths to the political limelight.
We may not actually determine governor Okorocha’s contributions to the Imo of his dreams but his exist, and equally after a new man has stayed for at least 100 days in office. But suffice it to say that Okorocha’s 90 months as governor of Imo State witnessed the highest turnover of controversies and bumps.
While one may not wholly attribute these controversies to him alone, one may see the totality of these on the overwhelming goodwill he enjoyed among the masses. His massive acceptance and “hero worship” as the ‘peoples’ governor created a cult-like followership which his fellow einlites became uncomfortable with his usual refrain “My people, my people” and the subsequent reply of “My governor, my governor”, became invariably an instrument of heroism and at the same time a two-edged sword. While today’s events would not allow us to ascertain Okorocha’s heroism level, as most of his disciples have jump ship, it has certainly produced the much dreaded two-edged sword where he can not possibly escape.
As a man of the people, which the governor actually is, the sudden turn of events could result in the breaking of the man. In the 2015 campaigns, the Okorocha in many fora admitted that he dreads the “Ohakim treatment”. His idea is the manner his predecessor was humiliated out of office. But what is unfolding now may not actually resemble the “Ohakim experience”, but a worse case scenario. While Ochinanwata lost at the polls, Okorocha has not only lost his party’s structure which he single handedly built, but has lost the goodwill of the people. Nothing could be heart broken as this. But this could be nothing in comparison of what he will lose in his political career if nothing tangible is done to redeem the already diminishing political deposit. It is still possible. But it must not be in this verbal umbrage his aides have adopted. Rather His Excellency must begin to cultivate new alliances, mend fences by apologizing where necessary, and equally seek to rekindle the peoples’ spirit by speaking kind words to them. Not only that, most of the signature projects he has embarked should be completed.
Why I personally love his daily visits and interactions with the traders at Ekeukwu and Douglas Road, I believe he must limit these visits and concentrate on the tasks ahead. If what one hears about these encounters is anything to go by, the governor may soon loose his prestige before these road side traders. For the remaining months, he should allow his Commissioners and other government appointees to do their work. There are supervisory Ministries in charge of decongesting these areas and these people should be allowed to deal with any recalcitrant trader. For now, the governor must avoid these flamboyant relationship because the people are bitter with him and could resort to unpleasant reactions that could belittle the office of the governor. Apart from this, the governor must whittle down on unnecessary ceremonies. The recent beauty pageant is not only uncalled for but provocative to the sensibilities of well meaning Imolites. His Excellency should know that the days of flamboyant display of wealth and affluence as far as his remaining days in office is concerned, is gone. The scarce resources expended on entertaining men with insatiable lust for women could have been ploughed in the rehabilitation of the roads which is crying for urgent attention. Obscene entertainment is not what the people need at this point in time. Apart from the roads, there are salaries of workers and pensions to be paid.
As a great optimist, I believe Governor Okorocha has done his beat. Not withstanding the different bumps he has had to contend, he has succeeded in raising the awareness of the people in the area of governance. Not only that, he has equipped otherwise unknown youths to aspire for political relevance. While we may not totally subscribe to some of his policies and his style of governance, I believe that we should build on what Okorocha has already done and forge ahead as a people. Nothing prevents his would-be successor from completing his viable projects that will affect the peoples’ positivity. Nothing equally should prevent us from according the governor his deserved respect even if we did not benefit directly from his government. For now, all hands must be on deck to ensure that the remaining Okorocha days will be a memorable one. The state deserves it. Peace.