According to the legendary political scientist, Jeffersons, “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This axiomatic postulation could be said to have conveniently found a sanctuary in the activities of the out-going Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State.
It is instructive to restate that Okorocha ascended the governorship seat of Imo on may 29, 2011, vide the popular mandate of majority of Imo people. His election elicited massive jubilation in the state as people trooped out on the streets in wild jubilation, believing that the messiah to redeem them has finally come.
At that time, there was the erroneous perception that the Ikedi Ohakim’s administration was abusive, callous and mean. The people therefore needed a change. Luckily, Okorocha reaped the juicy fruits of the people’s resentment for Ohakim’s administration. He was overwhelmingly elected to succeed Ohakim as governor.
However, the meanness of Okorocha as a person, soon after inauguration into office, showed its flashes within a week of assumption of office as governor. In one fell swoop, Okorocha dismantled critical institutions of governance. He sacked elected Council Chairmen, dissolved the Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers, relieved 10 thousands civil servants of their job, issued directive to banks ordering the freezing of state government accounts from a non-existent “Office of the Governor- elect of Imo State” etc.
Not done yet, he started raiding people’s residences with thugs under the guise of recovering government vehicles and properties. Touting and thuggery were thus elevated above civility and due process in the conduct of government business.
Like late Field Marshal Idi Amin of Uganda,Okorocha always told the masses that he was fighting their oppressors. That his actions were against the elite who had continually suppressed them. The ignorant masses clapped and cheered him. Little did they know that Okorocha’s style was like the popular tooth ache medicine of Dr Agnes Nwanma, meaning that his style of oppression and suppression was turn by turn as it was meant to go round. People living in Owerri capital city of Imo state can readily testify to the efficacy of Dr. Agnes Nwanma’s Medicine and its import in relation to Okorocha’s two-faced scheming.
Done with the elite whom he claimed to have compulsorily retired, Okorocha now bore his greedy fangs on the middle and lower classes of Imo people. Land grabbing and nepotism in government business became a cherished norm to him and his cronies. His son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, whom he attempted foisting on Imo people became Lord of the flies, a sort of alpha and omega in Imo state. In fact, Imo under Okorocha became like George Orwell’s Animal Farm where “all animals are equal but some are more equal than other”, with Okorocha as the Napoleon.
Touts and miscreants became tax collectors and task force masters. Civility took flight for crude and atavistic mode of doing things. Okorocha and his cohorts never cared as far as money was pouring into his pockets. Business men and women lamented more than Prophet Jeremiah did in the Holy Bible over the destruction of their businesses and the accompanying harassment and intimidation, but the emperor never cared a hoot. Taxi operators kept crying against draconian government policies, Okorocha ignored them. Callousness and wickedness reigned supreme amidst curses from civil servants and pensioners in the state.
At last, 2019 came, the people unlike themselves before, vowed to remove the “Alhaji in Douglas House” this time. To worsen it, Okorocha pushed forward his son-in-law to succeed him since the Nigerian constitution never allowed for third term. He therefore, chose to continue occupying the seat of governance by proxy. What a smart guy!
But God was with the people. Their cries and lamentations have ascended unto him. He pitied Imo people. He even became really infuriated when the Emperor ‘self consecrated’ himself a priest and began to preach sermons, bless people and even cast out imaginary demons from people in Government House Chapel by laying hands upon them. What an affront, Almighty God must have said to Himself!
He therefore, chose the modern day David epitomized in Rt. Hon Emeka Ihedioha to tame the roaring Emperor and his protégés. Okorocha expended Imo’s money heavily in Uche Nwosu’s ill fated governship bid. But who can say No when God has said Yes?
Ihedioha took his campaigns calmly but in a very focused manner. God was with him. While the Emperor was loquacious and throwing dollars about in a concerted effort to sway the same people whom he has held captive by the jugulars for years, to vote for his proxy third term bid, God kept directing Ihedioha’s activities.
Finally, God’s will for Imo people manifested on Saturday, March 9, 2019. God spoke and His wish prevailed in Imo. The self acclaimed emperor and Goliath, together with his Philistine followers fell like a pack of Cards before Ihedioha.
For those who know Rt. Hon Emeka Ihedioha well, he is a man devoted to his words and promises. He is very decent, compassionate and trust worth. Imo people can now heave a sigh of relief that God has indeed answered their prayers for the “Egyptians they see today, they shall see no more”.
The down fall of Okorocha and the hatred Imo people have cultivated for him should be a lesson for every politician aspiring to lead. Chinua Achebe said that “no man however great ever wins judgment or war against his own people”. It is the community that owns a man and not the reverse.
His son in-law, Uche Nwosu is just a victim of association though some people strongly hold that he could have been like the biblical Rohoboam, son of King Solomon, who told Isrealites that “whereas my father chastised with whip, I will chastise you with scorpions”. Imo people bear no grudge for him and honestly, nobody should. It is not his fault that he succumbed to the devilish scheming of his father in-law. Imagine what could have befallen him if he had dared refuse Okorocha’s directive.
Frankly speaking, I wonder how Okorocha will take the gargantuan challenges confronting him now or soonest. There is the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) lurking around him and waiting for his immunity to expire on may 29, 2019. There is also the masses whose lands disappeared under questionable circumstances, ditto for various communities he has thrown into eternal ezeship conflicts and vice versa.
The bottom line is, at the end, either kuje prisons, Abuja or Owerri Federal Prison awaits the presence of the “Emperor Alhaji”. He must choose one.
To Rt. Hon Emeka Ihedioha, we say a big congratulations. His victory was indeed the victory of democracy over tyranny, suppression, intimidation, thuggery, greed, lawlessness and nepotism. Undoubtedly, Imo will once again be firmly placed on the path of socio-economic and political rebirth and prosperity after the emperor must have bowed out in a couple of months time.
To God be the glory.