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Imo State:From Democracy to Autocracy – By Kenneth Uwadi

By Kenneth Uwadi, Imo, Nigeria – October 1, 2011 – Since I started pointing out the     autocratic behaviours   and lack of arithmetic knowledge of governance of embattled   Governor Rochas   Okorocha, I have been   branded so many unprintable names by a selected group of unproductive, uninformed, money hungry, favour seeking, paranoid supporters of the government and   accused of being biased and sponsored by political opponents .But this is not true. I’m disappointed that the governor’s supporters resorted to name-calling rather than addressing issues of poor performance raised, but I’m not surprised given the embattled governor’s hooliganism way of confronting those who disagree with him .The stories   of when he ordered his supporters to vandalize the office of the Nigerian Horn Newspaper, assault its staff and abduct the paper’s editor during the campaign period are still fresh.
A governor   is   supposed to be a role model, who, because of his prominence and the moral authority that emanates from his office, should   set   standards of behaviour for the people he serves. His duties also includes   the stewardship of our values. So no matter how much a governor or others may wish to “compartmentalize” the different spheres of his life, the inescapable truth is that a governor’s conduct can and often does have profound public consequences. The public expects high standard and decency in the conduct of public business from elected officials   so can someone tell me why, I as a concerned citizen of the state, can’t speak out against the ills going on currently   in Douglas House Owerri?
During the election campaigns, Governor Okorocha made a lot of land mark promises to provide a government that will meet the expectations of the people? The people of Imo state   expected the self-proclaimed rescue commander to on assumption of office, study, modify, amend laws for the good of the   state. They expected their Chief executive officer to provide jobs,electricity in their homes, manpower development, educational development, prompt payment of salaries   and better roads   among other things.   These promises are now seen as part of electioneering which cannot be fulfilled. Little did Imo people know that Owelle   was a wolf   in sheep’s clothing. To their displeasure Okorocha   turned to a military governor and is oppressing the people
The worst hit of the Okorocha’s   autocratic   government     is the state civil service and the LGA’s. Owelle dissolved elected council chairmen   via radio broadcast and appointed his boys as caretaker ‘ share men’   of the LGA’s   to loot council funds. The   governor   used force to chase the chairmen and councilors out of office and collected all government property in their possession .According to the country’s constitution, local government is an independent level of government and not an appendage of the state or federal government. It is abuse of power for Governor Okorocha to install his boys as caretaker ‘ share men’   of the LGA’s . It is a breach of the Imo State Local Government Administration Law and Section 7 of the country’s constitution .The governor now loots the LGA funds ,goes to the media to announce allocations sent to the LGA’s   while the money he   claims in the media   that he gives the local government councils is different from what actually gets to them. Currently, local government workers are still owed arrears of salaries.
Another hit of the imperator Owelle   is the    sack of   10,000 legally employed civil servants via radio broadcast. He left the workers   sad .Broke   the   brittle heart of their loved ones into   two; and that is very bad . This was the same Owelle that when he was campaigning for governorship,   deceived   Imo people into believing that Ohakim   did not employ any single person in the public service and promised to create thousands of jobs if elected. Immediately he came into power, like a   con man ,instead of creating jobs ,he   sacked the     10,000 workers   and   lied   to the people again   that   Ohakim   employed them two weeks to his   departure and that he will review   the employment. Then came another lie that he has reemployed 4000 out of the 10,000   workers   . Till now, none of them who were sacked have started work including the ones he claims to have re-employed. I fear that the   governor   has undercut the efforts of thousands   of   parents in Imo state   who are naturally trying to install in their children the value of honesty. As   any mother or father knows, kids have a singular ability to detect double standards. So we can safely assume that it will be that much more difficult to convince our sons and daughters   in the state of the importance of telling the truth when the most powerful man Imo state   evades it.
Governor Okorocha    sees the governance of the state as mere con art and the loud protests of Imo people does not bother him. He   believes that he can manipulate the minds of Ndi-Imo   through his rescue Imo sweet talks   when all he had been doing is playing a game of deception and rescuing his own pockets. Can someone tell me why he has to create a   fourth tier government in the state   without legislation? Can someone tell me why he is running Imo state with his relatives and with relatives of his wife and his personal associates as if Imo state is his personal property?
Can someone   tell me why Rochas has   not been able to pay the 18,000 naira minimum   wage? Owelle was   the first to promise to pay the 18,000 naira   minimum wage to   workers   and workers were all happy and eager.   Days   wear by and they became agitated for the money   like the Israelites in the wilderness. What did Owelle do? He turned round to say that the demands of the workers are most unrealistic in view of the peculiar financial position of the state. He claimed that labour was demanding 90.4 per cent wage increase across board which would shoot up the state’s wage bill from over N2 billion to over N3 billion monthly, if implemented. And when workers in Imo state embarked on strike in protest of the non-implementation of the   18,000   naira minimum wage ,the   governor jumped into a plane and ran out of the state to USA in pretence of scouting for foreign   investors .Is this not a case of going after rats while your house is on fire? This action is insensitive, callous and a total disregard for the people
Can someone tell me why Governor Okorocha is trotting the globe? When it comes to globe-trotting jamboree of   Nigerian governors since may 29th this year, Governor   Okorocha   has few peers. .He is failing to attend to pressing issues in  Imo State because he is always traveling out of the country. Okorocha , who became governor on May 29th   this year   hardly spends up to one   weeks in the state capital, Owerri, without travelling out.. Okorocha has been junketing from one foreign city to the other. Either he is in the United Kingdom or Germany or USA or Saudi Arabia,China   or the United Arab Emirates.He is being    panned   for trotting the globe, traveling the world and cartoonists are having a   field day as he   is   saddled with the unflattering name of   Vasco da Gama .
Additionally to funding the overseas trips with the state funds, the governor   receives huge out-of-pocket allowance for each trip, which he does not have to account for. While   the rank and file workers in Imo state   are   being asked to forget about their 18,000 naira minimum   wage,the governor continues to enrich himself more and more   at the expense of the citizens. If one were to count the amount of overseas trips, times the amount of out of pocket allowances that Okorocha   receives plus what is going on in our LGA’s in the name of caretaker government, it exposes the ugly underbelly of what he means when he said he was on a rescue mission.He is really rescuing his   pocket.
We now have an   Imo state of unemployed youths; Imo state were minimum wages are denied workers, Imo state were   workers are owed salaries, Imo state were 10,000   young people are being denied employment in spite of their potentials; Imo state of escalating executive lawlessness, Imo state were LGA funds are   looted,   Imo state of disregard for constitutional rights. Oh yeah, rather than giving   the people jobs   our governor one   time turned himself   to public retailer of kerosene, hoping to use it to gain cheap political points. Governor Okorocha falsely gave Imo people the impression that he was the donor of the federal government’s free kerosene.
Like   Dr   Herbert Nwankwo   said “ Our job is not to support Rochas the man no matter what. Our job is to support what is good for Imo people no matter what. If he move along the lines of making Imo what we expect her to be, we will   give him our full support. But right now, Imo got   to be rescued from the rescuer’  
By Kenneth Uwadi
Imo State

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