ohakim and wife

Last Friday, September 2, 2016, Imo State Government led by Governor Rochas Okorocha, after its exco meeting found the muscle to reply ex-Governor Ikedi Ohakim’s private letter.
Dr Ikedi Ohakim had on August 22, 2016, wrote a private letter to the Governor where he raised sundry issues about the state, including the ongoing anti-people demolitions exercise. Of course, the ex-Governor touched on the activities of the Governor at the twin rivers of Nworie and Otamiri. When Ohakim talks about Nworie and Otamiri rivers we should understand the passion with which he does so.
Ohakim’s private letter has become issue of public discourse since the newspapers feasted on it, waiting for government’s reaction.. Yes, the state government replied on Friday but it came short of expectations. Many had expected that going by the content and the candour with which the letter was delivered, the state government would swallow its ego and show some finesse and thank the Ohakim.
Imo State Government did not understand that Ohakim did not only say his mind; he said the mind of the people. Perhaps, having swallowed up every other politician in the state the Okorocha led government does not comprehend why Ohakim should raise his hand in the crowd. But Ohaim is a big stakeholder in Imo State and it should be taken for granted that people should cry to him from time to time. In the face of an insensitive government we have in Imo State today, the citizens are usually afraid to communicate their mind to the government. They look for a true friend to tell truth to power. They found Ohakim as the right channel. Thus, what Ohakim said was the aggregate opinion of the people. And the government did not see that. Instead the government chose to trivialize the issues in some sense, especially with the illustration of “if you want to abuse a beautiful girl and you have nothing to say against her, you tell her to go and have her bath (E lechaa nwa maramma, a si ya gaa saa ahu).”
The government’s reply to Ohakim’s letter onlly provided the proof that the Governor does not take advice. Don’t take my word for it. Take it from the Commissioner for Information, Tourism and Public Utilities, Dr. Vitalis Orikeze Ajumbe. In one of his interviews in 2014, he said:” if you knew Rochas very well, he won’t allow you to advise him because he knows it all.”
In the reply which was signed by Dr. Vitalis Orikeze Ajumbe, Ohakim’s estranged Man Friday, the state government accused Ohakim of hiding “under the cloak of protecting the interest of Imo People (who rejected you in 2011) to engage in furtive politics.”
A big stakeholder as Ohakim need not hide under any cloak to convey his mind to the government. Telling truth to the government is a duty he owes the people of the state whom he once governed and will govern again. Ohakim is not the only person to write letter to top government official, such as Governor, Senate President, President, etc. On January 23, 2016, former President Olusegun Obasanjo wrote a letter to the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, accusing the National Assembly of corruption and insensitivity.
It is rather laughable that Dr. Ajumbe would say that Ohakim was rejected by the people, when he knows differently and had said so. In an interview which was published in Nigeria Moment newspaper in January 2014, Ajumbe said:” I knew that he never lost that election, which is true.”
If Ajumbe knew that Ohakim did not lose the 2011 election, and knowing that what happened in 2011 was a civilian coup, why then is he singing a new song? Is it because he is now under the payroll of the government he once condemned? We should beware of men that change like chameleon. We should beware of men that change their position once cash or position is dangled before them. We should beware of men that sell their conscience. We should trust only men that stand by their words, no matter how inconvenient the situation is. And who says Ajumbe won’t take up arms against Okorocha if a new government comes to power? Going by what has become his antecedent, there is no such guarantee, because he has become like an item in a shop, ready for a willing buyer.
To refer to the 2011 episode which has been termed the mistake of 2011, and to associate it with Ohakim’s letter is really what is “ludicrous”, not Ohakim’s letter. By doing so, the state government was preaching hate and vendetta. The state government could not rationalize why Ohakim could still stand by “the people who rejected him” instead of paying them in their own coins by allowing them face the fate they put on themselves. But a true leaders lets go. Having seen that the people have accepted the responsibility for the mistake of 2011 and are willing to correct it, Ohakim has let go, looking at the future instead.
Ohakim’s letter was unexpected upper cut. Failing to get the import of Ohakim’s letter, the state government in their reply went on to list “the Imo free education policy – from Primary to tertiary level…the New Government House, Odenigbo Guest House, Owerri City School, 305 Storey School Buildings in all the electoral wards of Imo State, Befitting Imo Liaison Office in Abuja, the magnificent Heroes Square, Ikemba Ojukwu Centre, over 800 kilometres of Rural Roads across the 27 LGA and lots more” as achievements of the Rescue Mission Government.
This claim clearly negates what Ajumbe said about Okorocha’s free education programme he now defends. In one of his interviews in 2014 Ajumbe said that  Okorocha was using the free education programme to rob  “Peter to pay Paul or using it as a mean to enrich [himself].”
Ajumbe said if he becomes the Governor of the Imo State he would give a free education that would be impactful. He said: You are doing free education and you took our money and went to China and did whatever you liked and said you bought free school uniforms, forgetting the fact that the money you took to China is not circulating in the state.” He added that that the free education policy does not favour the indigenes as he claimed that only 30% of the indigenes get admission, even as he said that payment of N70,000 subsisted in Imo State University (IMSU). Today the same Ajumbe is singing free education as  achievement of the Rescue Mission. What a man!
As Okorocha’s Commissioner for Information, Ajumbe engages in double speak. In his reply to Ohakim, he said that the Okorocha’s rescue mission government “has helped to boost the investment and tourism industry of the State as Imo State is now the turism hub of the South East.”
But this was not what Ajumbe said about the busisness climate of the state few years ago when he was not Okorocha’s Commissioner. Apart from saying money was not circulating in the state as a result of government’s actions, Ajumbe said that no business in the state has made One Naira Profit.
He said: “We have tailors in the state. How do you now empower our people? How will they pay their taxes if they don’t make their money here? I want to tell you that since this government came on board no single business has made one naira profit. Is that the way government is run?” When did Ajumbe change his perspective of the government, and which one do we believe?
Writing about Okorocha’s achievements, Louis Odion, former Commissioner for Information in Edo State said: “It’s shamefully unfortunate how the current government in Imo State claims to have built 27 General Hospitals, built 305 school buildings in the 305 wards of the State as well as building halls called Odenigbo, Ojukwu and Freedom Square without any decency … on their economic importance. It’s claimed that the government is building multi – lane Highways and streets without recourse to funding and budgetary approval.”
If the state government has yet seen the uselessness of its 305 school buildings and the 27 general hospitals, it means the state is in for more trouble. Seeing the fact that the 27 general hospitals would have no impact on the people, Ohakim advised the government to transform them to cottage industries. This sound advice should be well appreciated by the government and its officials. But the officials of the government will not see the real import of the advice from Ohakim because they are only those who don’t have their own opinion, because they are people who clap for the Governor during exco meetings. Again, don’t take my word for it. Take it from Dr. Ajumbe, who said that Okorocha’s appointees cannot have their own opinion because they are people who clap for the Governor.
“Tell me how they will have their own opinion before him. Since some of them were his former drivers, cleaners, and he upgraded them to the level of commissioners, what do you expect from them? And in that exco the governor comes in to address them and they clap for him and he leaves”, Ajumbe said.
Saying that Okorocha’s “government has achieved milestones” and that Ohakim is “jealous of the feat achieved by the Rescue Mission government” shows a man that finds sweetness in eating his own words. It was also pure mischief for Ajumbe to say that Ohakim achieved “little while in office” Ajumbe knows better than what he wants Okorocha to believe. He had described Ohakim as the Governor with verifiable projects in the state, saying that based on those verifiable projects Ohakim would win Okorocha in 2015 governorship election.
He said: But when the most qualified candidate, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, came out to run for the governorship election for the second term, I withdrew my ambition as Ohakim is the only candidate who has structure, verified projects, contacts and support of the serving governors to win the incumbent Governor [Rochas].” Now I ask again, put side by side what Ajumbe said in 2014 and now that he is Okorocha’s Commissioner, which one do you believe? Maybe he has joined the appointees that clap for the Governor.
When also Ajumbe said that “the Rescue Mission Government…draws its strength from the masses”, he was giving himself the nickname of Eater of Words, because he knows better. He said in an interview in 2014 that the masses which support Okorocha do so because they are not well informed. He said only the elite are informed and that they don’t support Okorocha.
He said: “When you say that the less privileged are clapping for him, it is because they are not informed. It is the elite that are informed, and unfortunately Imo State has a quantity of the elite. So he already has a big problem.” At what point did Ajumbe see that the masses now become a source of strength to the Governor?
As far as Ajumbe tried to sell us a dummy, Imo people know the truth. Of course, Ajumbe knows better than many Imo people. This is the summation of Ajumbe’s opinion of the policies of the state government, well captured in his famous interviews of 2014: I am against [Okorocha’s] policies that are not to the best interest of the people, especially his observance of the rule of law. You saw the way he sacked board members whose tenures are statutory. See the way he treated Eze Ilomuanya. See the way he sacked the members of the Judicial Service Commission, the House of Assembly Service Commission and other commissions, and the way he sacked elected town union presidents in the state. And I want to tell you that if I become governor in 2015 I are going to bring back sanity.
“We will bring them back to complete their tenures. Also, those committees sacked by the government, those whose appointments have tenure, we will bring them back to complete their tenures. We will even apologise to them because government is a continuum. We will do this because the development of the state needs the concerted effort everybody.”
Ajumbe also said that Okorocha was not patronizing local contractors and thus killing investments and the economy. He said: “The contracts so far given were given to those whose address you cannot trace in any book in the state. They just fly in and out. Where is Roche Group? Where is JPROSS?  These are companies you cannot even trace. How does the money [given to them for contracts] help in the growth of the state?”
Ajumbe so much believed in Ohakim that he was so willing to bury his governorship ambition and collapse all his structures so that Ohakim could become Governor. He didn’t do that for Okorocha. And would you think Ajumbe would do so for a non-achiever? No.
“When [Ohakim] finally declared to run [for governorship in 2015] I closed my camp and resigned my position as the National Publicity Secretary of the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), to come back to the PDP to support him and be part of this success story. Not only that I have rejoined the PDP, over two million members of the defunct ANPP which I chaired for 9 years, my associates, admirers, have all joined the PDP so as to deliver Ikedi Ohakim.”
But no matter the sophistry Ajumbe might put forward in the defence of the indefensible, we can see clearly that he did not address the major issues raised by Ohakim in his letter. He tried to pull a wool over our eyes. He did not address the issue of the rule of law. What of the issue of Nworie and Otamiri rivers, which Ohakim said had bridges, not culverts, we’re provided for in the Owerri Master Plan? Ohakim also said that the ongoing demolitions and road expansion projects were never captured in any budget since Okorocha became Governor. Where then is the rule of law and due process? Ohakim said the demolitions and road expansion is rather a distortion of the Master Plan. True or false? Whinge should answer.
Therefore, next time when Ajumbe engaes in double speak, don’t forget he has made himself the Eater of Words. It is only an insensitive and unholy government that can count squares and roundabouts as achievements.
Meanwhile, we may console ourselves with Mahatma Gandhi’s wise saying that “politics without principle” is one of the “seven blunders of the world that lead to violence”  Yes, what Ajumbe has engaged in is “politics without principle.”