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Okorocha Wasted A Golden Opportunity

By Ifeanyi Maduako

Former Governor Rochas Okorocha was a presidential aspirant in 2003, 2007, and 2015. His entrance into the national convention of the defunct  All People  Party (APP) in  2002 was tumultuous and electrifying.

The dull and somber atmosphere of the convention was electrified to the peak when he sauntered in a glistering limousine.  He was contesting for the presidential ticket of APP with the likes of then General Muhammadu Buhari, late Chuba Okadigbo, among others. Even delegates from the north who were there to vote for Buhari were all entertained by his mode of entrance into the convention.

It took a man with Buhari’s popularity to defeat him for the presidential ticket. The same Buhari went ahead to spite him by choosing Dr. Okadigbo as his running mate rather than him.

Okorocha returned to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) after the disappointment to contest again for the presidential ticket of PDP with late president Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in 2007. Of course, he came second position again behind Yar’Adua who was the anointed one by the then party apparatchik. His third attempt at the presidency of Nigeria was in 2015 on the platform of  All Progressives  Congress (APC) where he came a distant fourth position in the primaries – his worst in his presidential quest.

Against the background of his previous presidential ambition to preside over the affairs of Nigeria, the predominant majority of  Imo people nay Nigerians were surprised when he  “stooped low” to contest again for the governorship position of  Imo State in 2011.

When he finally had his  first electoral victory on the platform of  All Progressives  Grand  Alliance (APGA) as governor of Imo State, the world had expected that he would use the “lower” office of a governor to show Nigerians  and the world at large a model of governance he had been aspiring to bequeath to  Nigeria as President. The “small” office of the governorship of Imo State exposed the character and the underbelly of Okorocha.

Many held him in a very high esteem and integrity before he became governor. He had a better esteem before 2011 than now. He deceived Imolites with a sweet or sugar-coated tongue. Majority of Imolites including this writer voted for him in 2011 with the erroneous belief that a messiah had birthed to fix the state. We were all deceived.

Alas, after his stewardship as the governor of Imo State, Rochas failed woefully and abysmally. He may not be the worst governor the state since her creation in 1976,  but  he had  a golden  opportunity  to demonstrate  to Nigerians, particularly  Imolites  why he had wanted to be  the president of  Nigeria even before “condescending” to become a governor.

Late Chief Sam Onunaka Mbakwe still retains the trophy as the best governor of Imo State till date unless incumbent Governor Hope Uzodinma surpasses Mbakwe’s performance after his eight years as governor, God willing. Rochas  had  the golden opportunity of surpassing  Mbakwe’s  achievements,  after all, Mbakwe governed a bigger or larger Imo State which  comprised the present  Imo, Abia and  half of  Ebonyi States.

Sadly, even with a smaller Imo State, Okorocha failed to take the trophy from Mbakwe. Yes, Okorocha opened up or constructed many feeder roads in the state more than his predecessors. But, is there any road that Okorocha constructed that is still in good shape today? Is it a good testament of him that all the roads he built have broken down just one year after he left office?  Many of these roads became dilapidated even while he was still in office. You can never see such kind of roads in other states like Anambra, Akwa-Ibom, Enugu, Cross River, Rivers States and even “common” Ebonyi State of yesterday.

People who attack the incumbent Governor Uzodinma over the present state of Imo roads are unfair and unreasonable. How do they expect him to fix all the roads in less than a year as governor?

Do they expect him to build the kind of roads Okorocha built which breakdown every six months? The  anger and  frustrations of  Imolites over the  sorry  state of  Imo roads  should be  channeled  to  Okorocha.

Students of Imo State University Teaching Hospital, Orlu are utterly frustrated having  spent  about  14 to 15 years as medical  students for a  course  which ordinarily  shouldn’t  go for  more than  six or seven years due to  non-accreditation  of their course. But, Rochas was acquiring licenses for more universities even a day to the end of his tenure. His so- called free education was a charade. A deceit of the worst order.

What  manner of  a  governor  would  erect 27 uncompleted  buildings as general hospitals  instead of just  three  completed  and well  equipped  hospitals, one  for each senatorial district? What  manner of a governor would  owe 48 months pension arrears to pensioners and still  beats  his  chest to boast  that he  performed  well as  governor? How does Okorocha feel whenever he drives through Imo International Convention Centre (IICC) seeing its dilapidation?  Which of Okorocha’s touted projects is still standing strong? In the next ten years, would any of his projects still be in existence unlike Mbakwe’s Concorde Hotel, ADAPALM, Avutu Poultry, etc?

Okorocha is my kinsman because both of us are from the same local government area. But, can Okorocha be proud to visit his community or is there even any road to his community? Is he proud of the state of Ideato-South LGA? Can Okorocha compare the roads in Mbaise where Chief Emeka   Ihedioha comes from with those of Ideato nation as a whole? If Okorocha is the only   man APC can find in the whole of Igbo-land as a presidential candidate, then let northerners  rule  Nigeria forever.

However, he is never the only candidate APC can find in Igbo-land. There is  a lot of  qualified candidates  from both  APC and  PDP to  be the  president  of  Nigeria  from the  South-east.

Maduako, writes from Owerri (08061562735).

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