Okorocha’s Visit And Buhari’s Fight Against Corruption

Charles Okoh

Charles Okoh

For the erstwhile governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, this is not the best of times. He has since laving office been facing battles on many fronts. His reign as Imo governor twirled around controversies, owing to his proclivity for making controversial policy pronouncements and taking actions that sought essentially to attract media blitz to his over-estimated self-worth.

In 2018, a few months to his exit, after over seven years as governor, he unabashedly told the people of the state that acidic rains were responsible for the damage of roads constructed by his regime In Imo State.

He had said, “I am sorry for some of you who say that I have destroyed all the roads. It is because of the unprecedented rainfall. I wonder if the rains are acidic. I assure you that we will put them in order.”

Who would build roads and not think of the rains?

Therefore, rather than the incumbent governor, Hope Uzodimma, building only new roads to boost infrastructure in the state, he is also spending scarce resources re-building roads that were built only a few years ago.

In October 2017, I had in a treatise written that, “…The choice of Rochas Okorocha as governor of Imo State was an error. I have never had any encounter with him; I don’t think I honestly want to, but I have over time assessed him from a distance and concluded that the plague that came upon Imo since after Chief Sam Mbakwe is still in force in that state. m

“My deduction on his person and style of governance was further reinforced after he spent one week celebrating his 55th birthday with 27 giant cakes built to represent all the local governments in the state. I just reassured myself that, indeed, I was not hasty in arriving at a conclusion on his wrong choice by the people of Imo State as their governor.


“So even after his recent faux pas of erecting a statue for South African leader, Jacob Zuma, in Owerri, I just waved it aside, believing that he had only lived up to my estimation of him; so what the heck, do I care?”


The culmination of his misdemeanour in office was his failed attempt to plant his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, as his successor as governor of Imo State. How far can a man really go? Okorocha’s pursuit of vainglory is over-the-top, to say the least.


Recently, the All Progressives Congress chieftain, who has declared his intention of being president of Nigeria, claimed that his time as governor of Imo State made him poorer.


Okorocha, who is now a lawmaker representing Imo West Senatorial District in the Senate, said the state government owes him N8 billion security votes, just as he also described fresh fraud charges against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission as being politically-motivated. The anti-graft agency had filed N2.9 billion fraud charges against him at the Federal High Court, Abuja, hours after he formally declared his presidential ambition for 2023.


“I was richer before I became governor; in fact, (being a) governor made me poorer. If you go to (the Code of) Conduct Bureau before I became governor, my real estate alone in Abuja, I’m sure you can count one, two people who can count on it.


“How much is the Imo State government’s money? Imo State is even owing me because I never collected my security votes; I’m supposed to collect from Imo State N8 billion if I have to make claims for security votes that I did not collect.”


In the eyes of the former governor, the people of Imo must be eternally grateful to have had him as their governor. He sees himself as the best orator the world has ever seen, and he believes that as a first-class brain his foray into governance cannot be equaled in the state. Yet, he is seeking the protection of the president from the EFCC. Pray, if he had served so selflessly and is owed by the state, why run to Buhari to seek cover against the EFCC?


Is his visit to Buhari not a further confirmation of the fact that the EFCC is a lapdog of the presidency aimed at hunting perceived enemies of the presidency?


Okorocha’s public declaration of his presidential ambition may have sounded impressive only to his hangers-on and family members, but truth be told, he is unfit to rule this country. After ruling like a despot and being intoxicated with power as governor of Imo, who else but his family and hangers-on would consider him worthy of being president of Nigeria?


His failure in Imo is there for all to see. His reckless and over-bloated ego makes him think he can make a fortune selling ice-creams to Eskimos but in reality he was a total failure in office. If he doubts my conclusions, he should pay a visit to a lesser endowed state as Ebonyi under Dave Umahi and see what it means to render service to the people.


What really bothers one is the wisdom behind Okorocha’s appeal to President Buhari to order the EFCC off his back. Can the presidency now deny that the president had been exercising such powers and can they really fault those who insist that the APC uses the anti-graft agencies to force opposition politicians into APC?


Is this also a confirmation of the statement of the former loquacious chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, who had said all a politician needs to be forgiven his sins was to join the ruling party? Okorocha speaks like a saint; if he is truly one, then he has nothing to be afraid of and should clear himself first before dreaming to be president of Nigeria.


He was quoted to have told the president, “I came to demand for justice that you should prevail and as the custodian, as the leader of our nation, he should be made to know that such is going on.

“I didn’t come here to say, I don’t want to be investigated by the EFCC. That’s not the issue, that there’s judgment on the ground. There’s judgment and there’s the order of the court that I’m asking Mr. President, who appointed the EFCC to recall that there was the law that established the EFCC.


“And if that law is good to make somebody EFCC that law should be obeyed, too. So, I’m not asking Mr. President to speak on the matter.”


“The President said he would take up the matter, especially when he saw the judgment. He said we’ll take up the matter and find out what is actually happening. And I hope he will do so. And I believe he will do that.”


Okorocha had visited the president because he knows the president can order the EFCC to do what he seeks. Rather than pledging to look into the matter, the president on his part should have asked Okorocha to go and prove his innocence. What the president should do is ensure that the law takes its course and he should not be involved in any way. Okorocha’s smooth-talking mannerism is only a decoy to distract the nation from the main issue.


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Professor Jideofor Adibe


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