A New Song For Rochas, Ohakim

By: Ugochukwu Favour-Mayor

The system of politics in Imo today seems to be changing, following recent happenings in the state. People are beginning to assess the immediate past administration of Ex-governor Ikedi Ohakim and that of his successor and present governor of the state, Governor Anayo Rochas Okorocha. From the recent reactions from the people, it seems to be that history is vindicating Ohakim.

And such reaction from different zones of the state is making me to ask about the kind of politics and government we are experiencing in Imo. I would like to counter emphasis from the recent national problem that Nigeria in a whole is experiencing, the flood issue. For example, Imo state is never an exception, as we already know that the Federal government has released the sum of N400 million to flood victims. And that has made me to ask myself how a reasonable person could set up a committee to receive the said amount of money for Federal Government’s intervention fund to assist flood disaster victims in Imo State, while the victims are distressed? Even at that, it is now perceived that the money might lead to political crisis in the state as some top politicians and stakeholders are already kicking against the committee set up by the state government to disburse the funds and relief materials to the affected communities.

Also, it was learnt that the relief materials donated by Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and those donated by Imo State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (ISOPADEC) were allegedly shared based on party affiliations. What party affiliation?

However, it was based on this premise that some people faulted the composition of the state government’s committee set up to oversee the distribution of the materials and funds to the flood victims. They observed with dismay that the committee headed by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Anthony Anwukah, has proved incompetent in managing the post disaster crisis, alleging that the relief materials brought for the victims by the NDDC was shared to party loyalists instead of the victims. What a world? Should we not be rescuing Imolites from the rescuer?

Now, the victims of the flood disaster in the two council areas of Ohaji-Egbema and Oguta are yet to be provided a camp by the state government and are still exposed to health and security risks. In a state governed by a rescuer!

Meanwhile, without counting loses over the outcome of the 2011 general election, Ohakim still went further to visit the affected communities where he donated food items and cows to the communities. As been accompanied by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and his running mate during the 2011 general election, Prof. Viola Onwuliri, and by a number of top politicians in the state including the former speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Goodluck Opiah, state Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Sir George Eguh, the member representing Oguta State Constituency, Hon. Eugene Dibiagwu, the former commissioner for Information and Strategy, Hon. Kelechi Okpaleke and Ohakim’s personal friend and brand consultant, Prof. Chinedu Asinu-Anosike of Cona Anosike Support Foundation Incorporated. However, Ohakim assured the people that he would do everything within his power to ensure that they were given what was due to them.

According to him, “I want to assure all of you that I would do everything within my power to ensure that whatever has been given to you must come to you because you are my people and you have always listened to me”, he said. Also as Prof. Onwuliri assured the people that the Federal Government would never abandon any of the victims affected by the flood disaster.

In Ohakim, I have found a man with a large heart. A man when it was time to fight, he gave himself as the scapegoat. For example, let’s look at the declaration of present Governor Rochas Okorocha as winner on May 7, 2011, his party supporters besieged the vicinities of the Government House, Owerri, chanting war songs and, curiously, raining abuses on the then governor. Their mission: To visit mayhem on the state should Ikedi Ohakim reject the declared results. Ohakim read through that and walked away. It took him so much effort to restrain another army of youths, which was heading towards the same Government House, similarly chanting war songs in his support. Had Ohakim allowed them to have their way, Imo would have witnessed a cataclysm of an unprecedented dimension. As an incumbent governor, Ikedi Ohakim was in the position to bring in his own version of military personnel and the consequences would have been too grave to contemplate.

The reaction and faces of people in Oguta when Ohakim visited the flood victims made me to reflect back on the last general election in Imo state. When Ohakim was the governor, he suffered much persistent vilifications. During the just concluded general election in Imo, many sorts of propaganda were set up. Oppositions set out their arsenals towards Ohakim, with the acclimation that, “the voice of the people is the voice of God”.

Ex-Governor Ikedi Ohakim was accused of every bad thing on earth: He pocketed N100 billion bond money; pocketed N8 billion meant for the dredging of Nworie River; personally assaulted a Catholic priest; did not create 10,000 jobs, that the ring roads and flyover bridges were NDDC projects, not his, and that there was no Wonder Lake project, etc. Today, the people know better. Those who deliberately leveled those false accusations against the former governor are the ones now asking themselves whether they were actually guided by their conscience. I see nothing that could be said Ohakim did against the people, what you hear is: “Ohakim worked but he is arrogant.” Don’t you think that in Nigeria today when someone is courageous to approach issues it will then be noted as being arrogant? I still ask, has the song not changed for Ohakim, whereby making history to vindicate him?

Already, from when power was handed over to civilian government, we have been experiencing this very group who are into labeling of name on our ex-governors. When Late Sam Mbakwe was the governor, actually and sincerely he developed the master plan of what we call Owerri, the capital city of Imo state. Of course I don’t need to discuss how he was pursued out of office, but today history vindicates. Then on Late Evan Enwerem, he gave Imo a stand on the political map of Nigeria, later he was labeled of being a tyrant. Now, Achike Udenwa came in and alleviated poverty away from the state, no matter he is today seen as a man who abused power and state resources.

For Ikedi Ohakim, he made Imo a total digital state, branded governance while attracting investors, but those particular people also ended up labeling him as an arrogant man. Of course, Anayo Rochas Okorocha would not go free; already they have begun to give him a page in their book as a lawless leader, and of course that’s what he is, already due process is gone in Imo; rarely you see a contractor to award letter of the job he is doing. Due process in governance is zero, as long as Imo is concerned. But if I ask in respect to Ohakim’s issue, does Jesus Christ need to govern Imo state without that very group labeling him with one title or the other?

Ex-governor Ikedi Ohakim till this moment is a big issue, at his absence as the governor of the state. While as the governor, everything that happened in Imo state was all leveled on him. Even when some men’s inability to have their wives conceived, blames will be thrown on Ohakim. The commercial aspect of it is even more interesting. For example, about eighteen getting to twenty two Owerri-based newspapers worth its salt would go to town without a front page story with banner headline on Ikedi Ohakim. Beyond Owerri, some newspaper columnists would not write without a mention of Ikedi Ohakim even if the topic were to be outside politics. But today, the song has changed. All those who sang: “Ikiri wu anuohia” are all singing “Ikiri ka onye oshi nma.” In fact, what I saw at Oguta recently, was a total change of song and intention. If I must say, if INEC conducts a fresh election in Imo, Owelle Rochas Anayo Ethelbert Okorocha is gone. Ladies and gentlemen, indeed, the song has changed for Rochas and Ohakim.

You need to see how the people laid complaints on how the present government in Imo turned its back on them. Why? Because they voted against the wish of Okorocha in the last election that brought Hon. Eugene Dibiagwu, as their representative at the State House of Assembly. And that’s exactly the rejection the people of Mbaise are getting from the present government in Imo. It is quite unfortunate that the people at their last Iri Ji festival described his act as an unforgivable spirit, following his shun to their annual festival. And if I may ask, if Oguta and Mbaise are turned back at by the government, has the entire Imo not been turned down? A new song indeed!

Ex-governor Ikedi Ohakim is a man I see as being so multi-faceted; it is practically impossible for me to even capture his essence in such a limited space. Being multi-faceted, he can simply be distinguished as an achiever who helped to re-chart the developmental course of Imo State, re-directing it to success, and raising the standard of governance and public accountability in Imo State and Nigeria at large. But within a short period of time, the people who sent for the killing and crucifying of Ohakim forgot his intimidating profile, background and humble beginning. Ohakim is a man who not only shunned godfatherism, but described them as analogue politicians who are aimed at moving the state backward.

Of course, he has set the pace for Rochas to follow. A pace he set, waiting for his second tenure vision to be consolidated, but never worked, now Rochas is enjoying it without knowing the worth and value. Yes, he Rochas confirmed it when he openly said at 80th birthday ceremony of the mother of the Deputy Speaker, Federal House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, that: “Ohakim is my predecessor, the footprints Ohakim instituted are what I am following. I cannot have problems with Ohakim. We are brothers and cannot quarrel”.

Tell me why he will have problem with a man who has instituted quality governance in the State, and today he is the one reaping it? Everything is in great mess, not even his free education is effectively working, no matter the review on that will be for another time when we will discuss on how the policy is been used to gamble on people. Meanwhile, the prime mover of Adoration Ministry Enugu Nigeria, (AMEN) and Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka has also confirmed it when in one of his programmes he said: “Even in Imo, the free education format they came with to win the 2011 election is no longer effective and working, as none Imo child is genuinely benefiting from it.” May God have mercy, dika ekwe n’ adaari!

Ugochukwu Favour-Mayor, writes from Owerri, cenamayor@yahoo.com, 08164980379

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  1. am originated from imo state and i know how things have been going on in my state.it’s a pity that ex governo ikedi ohakim is stil coming out to talk against rochas,was he not the one that promised rochas that he wo’nt charge him to court?obviously ohakim is doing all this things in other to poison the mind of people,those people that where singing ”ikiri ka onye oshi nma”are ohakim’s supporters.all this are happing because ohakim wants to see if he can aspire to hold a political power in nigeria which is impossible for him,let him stop criticizing rochas even when ohakim was in power this was how he was fraustrating rochas so that he wil quit the election even ohakim went to mtn and arranged with them to send evry body that rochas has quit the election,it’s unfair, if he say he is a transparent governor.this is to prove that ohakim knows that he is uhe one wrong. besides rochas stop the way the PDP people in govermemt extort money that’s why PDp hate him!talk about the education sectos it!s going accordingly students are ejoying school than before.before senior students pay up to N6000 but now nothing .


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