THE DECONSTRUCTION OF ROCHAS OKOROCHA
By Anthony Opara
In some ways, Imo Governor, Rochas Okorocha has come to be the true definition of the man who according to Chinua Achebe in Things Fall Apart had his palm kernel cracked by the gods but rather than be grateful he more or less challenged his chi or fate to a wrestling match and he has come out the worse for it.
Before he became the Governor of Imo state in 2011, Rochas Okorocha was a poor man chasing Mr. Ikedi Ohakim, then Governor of Imo state all over the place, seeking assistance both for himself and his siblings. Ikedi Ohakim obliged him to the extent that one of his sisters was made a Caretaker Committee Chairperson for their local government. Rochas warmed his way into the heart of the Catholic Archbishop Dr. Anthony Obinna who more or less mobilized support for him to unseat Ohakim who was embroiled in an issue with the Catholic Church in the state. Ohakim was accused of allowing security men in his convoy to beat a Catholic Priest. Rather than find time to explain to the Bishop the obvious lie concocted by his political enemies, he treated the matter with levity as if the Bishop did not matter in the scheme of things. The Bishop showed him otherwise and in the election that followed, he lost the election to Rochas who had presented himself as a lamb.
On his swearing in as Governor, Okorocha brought his nuclear family to the podium and took an oath before the people of the state to the effect that he would never steal a dime of the state but to leave the state better than he met it. In his first tenure Okorocha did his best to improve the economy of the state and the people were happy and with him, seeing the steps he was taking to rescue the state from the four years of misrule by the PDP Government of Ikedi Ohakim.
It didn’t take long before he showed his true colours and started a systematic familiocracy by putting his family members in control of important agencies of state. He nominated the father of his in law Professor Onwuka as Minister, appointed another son in law as Commissioner of Lands through whom he acquired choice properties in the state. Overnight his wife owned properties and even forcefully took over some belonging to other Imo sons and daughters. Beyond Professor who became a Minister Okorocha also nominated a man in his nineties as Ambassador to the United States and President Buhari, himself an octogenarian had no problem appointing a nonagerian as Ambassador to the most important diplomatic base in the world. Many Imo people condemned the Governor for ignoring all the qualified but younger people for such an important position but he didn’t listen and today the old man is sitting as Ambassador of Nigeria to the United States of America.
Let it not be forgotten that OKorocha became Governor carrying the flag of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, a party that igbo people see as theirs given that the late Ikembi Nnewi, Odimegwu Ojukwu is the spirit behind the party which is seen as belonging to igbo’s. An Owerri based Political Analyst and Campaign Director for the Akirika Campaign Organization for the House of Assembly for Owerri Municipal Charles Chukwuemeka said that Okorocha bought the party from Chief Martin Agbaso who had won Ikedi Ohakim but was settled to forget his victory. As soon as Okorocha won the election that he ran with Agbaso”s younger brother Jude he bared his fangs. He decamped to the All Progressive Congress (APC) , caused the impeachment of Jude Agbaso and took his men into the APC and effectively decimated the APGA in the state. Apart from a systematic rape of the state by both the Governor and his family, Okorocha embarked on an urban renewal poigramme whose chief aim was todestroy properties of perceived political enemies. Captain Iheanacho who contested against him had the gate his family home pulled down and not only that he started a destruction of roads in the state under the guise of urban renewal. He faced markets and destroyed Eke Ukwu Owerre Market, the ancestral market of the people of Owerri the landlords of the government. He also further denigrated the owerri people by breaking the community into five autonomous communities, a case that is still in court as the people told the Governor that they would not recognize the chiefs he created by the balkanization., the chiefs also know that as soon as Okorocha steps down there will be return to the status quo of having one single Traditional ruler for the state capital called Owere Nchi ise.
What broke the camels back is the Governor’s decision to foist his son inlaw Uche Nwosu, the former Commissioner of lands who was later made the Chief of Staff to the Governor as the next Governor of the state. Imolites consider the move of the Governor as an insult because this is the same man that applied for the Ohakim 10,000 jobs but didn’t get it so many consider him incapable of being Governor after his father in law. Many wondered why the Governor didn’t support his Deputy Eze Madumere who many see as being loyal to the Governor but was repaid with an orchestrated impeachment by the House of Assembly. The impeachment couldn’t stand as the state High Court ruled that the impeachment was illegal and that the status be maintained. As usual with the Governor the order has not been obeyed and there is no Deputy Governor in the state. The Deputy had joined others who took over the structure of the party in the state which was however resolved in the favour of Governor Okorocha. In the primary organized by Alhaji Gulak Senator Hope Uzoodimma won the election but the Okorocha group kicked but the APC National Working Committee after reviewing the Gulak report upheld it and according to Chairman of the party Mr. Adams Oshiomhole the Gulak Committee complied with the guidelines for the primaries and as such upheld the election of Senator Hope Uzodimma. Adams Oshiomhole said that Rochas, Amosun and Yari were trying to create empires in their states a nd that he would not be party to such political shenanigan. The three Governors have criticized the party Chairman saying that his action will make the party lose votes. Okorocha , known for disobedience of court orders accused the APC Chairman of treating court orders with levity against the policy of the party. This position appears laughable given that the APC Government disobeys court orders as a matter of course. The government has refused to obey orders in respect of rulings in the case of Col Sambo Dasuki as well as Alhaji El Zak Zaki just to mention a few.
Stating his own side of the story Alhaji Gulak said the Imo state Governor offered him $2 Million to rig his son in law into power adding that he was not a person that can be bribed. Speaking on the attempt of the Governor to foist his son inlaw, Senator Uzodimma advised him to buy a Rolex watch as gift for him rather than the attempt to give him the state as gift adding that the state was bigger than Uche Nwosu. It is also important to state that all the former Governors of the state are in one accord that Uche Nwosu lacks the capacity to be Governor. Chief Ikedi Ohakim said it was rather insulting for Okorocha to imagine that he would replace himself with his son in law who is actually his son in igbo culture adding that since Uche Nwosu was older than the Governors first son he was actually the first son of the Governor given also that he is married to the Givernor’s first daughter.
The APC didn’t totally throw the Governor away as he was gifted with a ticket to run for a senate seat, He shall be confronting the former APC National Organizing Secretary Senator Osita Izunaso who will be carrying the flag of APGA in the race. It will be a tough battle even for the Governor as Izunaso is popular in the Senatorial zone. Rochas has been unmasked and many blame his current position as being a result of rapacious greed.
The bigger problem for the APC is that the party haven been factionalized is unlikely to win the main election as the PDP which appears more united is likely to take the state. The APGA which would have proven a tough nut to rack given the influence of the late Ikemba Nnewi is a house divided against itself as it appears that the leaders of the party sold the Gubernatorial ticket to Senator Ifeanyi Ararume in such a such a crude manner that no attempt to conduct any type of primaries and even those who won initial primaries into the house of Assembly , House of Representatives and Senate were denied the tickets as Senator Ararume replaced them with his own team. The party has been so dismembered that even Senator Ararume canot win any election in February 2019 and as Charles Chukwuemeka observed APGA as a party is finished in Imo state.
Every Imolite is saying that that Rochas has allowed greed to destroy him and that if the election is conducted freely that even the Senate seat might be a hard one for the Governor to win. 2019 is close by and so let’s see what will happen. In politics a month is a long time and al the bets on the table can be rearranged.