Season of Letters: Governor Okorocha as a Case Study

As the 2015 general election draws near, we have seen and read series of open letters written by Journalists, critics, analysts, party faithfuls, friends and associates giving words of advice, admonition and rebuke to Nigerian politicians in preparation for next year’s general election and the way forward.

It became necessary to write my own open letter and express my heartfelt grievances to my own State Governor, Imo State, Owelle Anayo Rochas Okorocha.

Posterity may not forgive me if I remain dumb.

Rochas OkorochaBefore I proceed, let me ask you these pertinent questions. Now you have tested your popularity at the national level and failed to clinch the ticket of All Progressive Congress, (APC) as its presidential flag bearer in the forth coming general elections, what has Imo state gained from that jamboree? How much of Imo tax payer’s money did you waste in this white goose chase?

After series of investigations and with a heavy heart and deep regret I write this letter.

On Saturday 7th May 2011 around 10.36 am, you were announced over all winner of the gubernatorial poll in Owerri, Imo State capital by the INEC Returning Officer for the State governor ship election by Prof. Hilary Edeoga. You polled a total of 336, 859 votes to defeat the former incumbent governor, Ikedi Ohakim of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP who came a distant second with 290, 496 votes, the Returning Officer therefore declared you duly elected governor of Imo State having satisfied all requirements of law for election as governor.

That day history was made, the wild jubilation that engulfed Owerri the State capital won’t be forgotten in decades as children, youths, old men and women all came out in their thousands to celebrate your victory. I was among the crowd, we all later gathered at Okigwe Road round about to wait for you. I had never seen such celebration in my entire life prior to that day.

Traders and market women, closed their shops and came out to celebrate your victory, Keke NAPEP riders and other artisans were not left out, it was better experienced than told.

President Jonathan in his congratulatory message said “the people of Imo State had spoken through the ballot box”.

Its been three years and seven months since you assumed office as Imo State governor, and since then a lot of things have gone wrong.
At the inception of your administration, you declared free education and rehabilitation of all public schools in Imo State. It’s been three years since you promised rehabilitation of public schools, but apart from the Township Primary School located at the popular Wetheral road, directly opposite the Dan Anyam Stadium, we have not seen any other rehabilitation of public schools in the State capital.

The free school uniforms and books is a hoax, it only exists on TV, the much publicised schools all over the media belongs to your Foundation, Rochas Foundation.

Our health system has been neglected, most of the general hospitals are in comatose courtesy of the planned construction of 27 general hospitals in the 27 Local Government by your government which is becoming a wild goose chase.

Even if construction is completed before May, 2015, which would only amount to 40% completion of the project as until the buildings are furnished with modern medical facilities and personnel are recruited, you can’t boast of a general hospital. To do all that in each general hospital, may gulp more than One Hundred Million Naira. Please Ask yourself, is that realisable?

Transforming the existing general hospitals and making them operate more efficiently by employing more doctors and nurses and equipping them with modern facilities you proposed to run your pipedream 27 general hospitals would have been a better option.

You erected several buildings like Ikemba Ojukwu Centre, Bongo Square, Freedom Square, Legislative Quarters, Judiciary Quarters, Imo International Conference Centre, the Centenary Towers and round abouts in almost all the junctions as well as constructed city gates etc. All these are good but what are their economic benefits to the people of Imo State?

You were a Federal road contractor but I marvel at the kind of contractors you award contracts to. They construct roads without drainages and whenever it rains the roads are flooded. Inter street roads are collapsing less than two years after they were constructed. Go to the inter streets roads in Owerri and environs and see for yourself, am yet to see a 20 stretch kilometre road that was perfectly constructed under your administration.

Imo State has a high unemployment rate; the youths are not engaged in meaningful jobs and that have led to an increase in violent crimes. We don’t even need your job, what we need in Imo State is an Industrial friendly State and many things will go well with us.

Your politics of deceit might have worked for you in the media and made you popular outside the shores of Imo State. However, the non-residents of the state that watch all your magic on television do not live in Imo State and will not cast their votes in Imo State.

Let me take you back to Ekiti State, the ex-governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi was very popular, he performed wonderfully well to deserve a second term in Office but the Ekiti masses thought differently. His loss to the controversial Ayodele Fayose of PDP, left everybody shocked. Why did he lose? That was the question non-residents of Ekiti State asked one another. Only the people of Ekiti knew better. The Ekiti people said there was a disconnect between Fayemi and the ordinary man on the street and that cost him a second term.

You betrayed Owerri people by controversially impeaching their son, your ex-deputy governor Sir Jude Agbaso, over a contrived and baseless N458 Million contract scam. You betrayed the Imo state electorates and your party the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) by jumping ship into APC.

The Ohaji Egbema people have been complaining of neglect since the inception of your administration, the Ugwuta people are complaining of political marginalization. The Mbaise people also have countless grudges against your government.

Politicians, stake holders and elder statesmen of Imo State that stood by you in 2011 are not happy with the way you run your administration, some left you long ago and you are losing your strongest supporters on a daily basis.

Uche Ogbuagu, your former Special Assistant on entertainment who voluntarily resigned from your government has revealed he made more enemies serving in your government than friends and that was the major reason he resigned to save his career as an entertainer which he laboured for years to build.

The revered Archbishop of the Owerri Catholic Diocese AJV Obinna once publicly described your Rescue Mission as an “Impressionist Government” and has since dissociated himself from your government.

Imo State is going through an era of impressionistic development that is very shallow and deceptive. Though non-residents of Imo state will find it very difficult to believe the level of rot in the system, those of us on ground know better.

Due to your staying power, you tenaciously held on to two sloths, (presidential and governorship) as if there were no eligible candidates in Imo APC that can replace you as governor, when people began to ask questions why APC has not produced a governorship candidate in Imo state, you hurriedly anointed your son in-law Uche Nwosu as consensus candidate of the APC, we are not fools, we are watching all your drama.

Now the script you wrote has been delivered the way you wanted and you are back to re contest for a second tenure as governor of Imo State after failing to clinch the APC presidential ticket, I want you to ponder on these questions; do I deserve a second term as Imo State governor? Have I done well with the confidence placed in me in 2011? Can I gather as much support as I did in 2011?

You are fast losing popularity in Imo State and if you don’t wake up and face reality, am afraid what happened to Ohakim in 2011 will visit you in 2015.

Your popularity as a philanthropist may have gotten you into office in 2011 but that may not play out to secure you a second tenure. Don’t be deceived by the crowds that welcome you where ever you go in Imo State, we experienced the same during Ikedi Ohakim’s regime. Sycophantic and hired crowds don’t win elections, performance does.

Your performance will convince same people to vote for you again.

A Word Is Enough For The Wise!



Written by
Joe Onwukeme
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