Owelle Rochas Okorocha Rescue Mission Agenda: One Year Assessment

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By Ebere Uzoukwa


He is a familiar face in the political terrain of Nigeria since 1994

when he served as a member National Constitutional Conference. Also,

he was a formidable factor in the 1999 gubernatorial race in lmo State

under the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and 2003 and 2007

presidential contest. But in 2011, he invaded the campaign turf like

Tsunami and crushed all opponents flat to the ground.

Even after the massive electoral votes garnered for him by his people,

held spell bound by his charisma and electric disposition, his

traducers sought to truncate the people’s mandate. Three times at the

Election Tribunal, Appeal Court and Supreme Court, he trounced them,

once again. They couldn’t halt a moving rain. That is the big Rochas

Machine. His Excellency, Owelle Rochas Okorocha appeared on the

gubernatorial campaign trail in April, 2011 at a time the people of

Imo were held hostage in their own state and homes.

They were caught in a web of intrigues and deceits. They had a

government that said it was working but they did not see it. They saw

it on billboards, internet and heard about it on radio. But they did

not see it on ground. They did not see it in their pockets and on

their dining tables. Not on the streets and definitely not in their

lives and standards of living. They were fleeced by a government that

turned them into spectators in a magical comedy. The more they heard

and looked, the less they saw and believed. Until Owelle arrived, Imo

State and its people were rotting by the day. Ordinary citizens were

swooning in abject poverty, want and deprivation. There was hunger and

anger in the land.

Public savants who were working did not fair better. They were owed

months of salary arrears. Their office complexes were dilapidating and

unkept. Their morale was at its lowest ebb.

Pensioners and old men and women were starving and dying for an unpaid

several years of pensions. They had no hope to live tomorrow. Their

past had become nightmare.

Public infrastructures were collapsing. Many homes that had pipes

connected to water reservoirs did not see that water flow to them.

They were as dry as Oasis in the desert.

The road networks, built during Sam Mbakwe administration, more than

33 years ago became death traps. Potholes, gullies and dishes competed

for space on highways. Flood over-ran several areas that lacked proper

drainage system. The gutters were full with debris and over flowing.

Especially at the School Road, Tetlow Road and Royce Road axis in the

capital city, the gutters became water tanks, stale and for mosquitoes

that have turned human beings into milk-cows.

The people and citizens of lmo State were confused and very disturbed.

They spleen and vented for a redeemer to come forth to save them from

hell on earth in their own land.

Gov. Okorocha’s decision to contest the 2011 governorship election

even when his zone, Orlu not favoured going by the zoning system was

providence. It was prophesy fulfilled as the cry of the people of Imo

State reached Heaven. Their supplications received a nod and divine

intervention was imminent. A messiah was forth-coming.

At various fora, Gov. Okorocha has made it known that his ambition has

always been to lead Nigeria as its president. But having considered

the suffering of the people of Imo State, in the mist of plenty, he

felt challenged and compassionate to do something worthwhile for his

people. He resolved to stop over and give the governorship race

another chance. To achieve that purpose, he needed an efficient

platform.

As a former PDP member, he saw the shenanigans going on in the party

at the national and state levels. As a true anointed leader, he felt

that such vehicle will be inappropriate for his vision. He tossed the

crystal ball and saw like a prophet, that PDP will not be ideal to

accomplish his mission.

Then he found All Progressives Grand Alliance APGA; a mass movement,

no longer a Political Party and the waiting arms of its numerous and

enthusiastic members, who were delighted to welcome this great man of

the people into its fold. He finally settled for APGA. Having secured

a platform, to achieve his objectives, he now ruminated on the proper

message and slogan to drive home his points.

During his campaign to become the President of the United State of

America, Senator Obama needed a catchy phrase to deliver his message.

He chose the slogan. ‘Yes We Can”. That did the magic and broke the

formidable racial barrier in America. He was elected the first black

man in the history of America, to become President.

Gov. Rochas Okorocha believed and knew that he can deliver his people

from the bondage of penury and underdevelopment. But that was not

enough. He needed to do more, before he began the process of the

development of the state. First of all, he had to rescue his people

from the stranglehold of usurpers, poverty and deprivation. So he

chose with wisdom, the campaign slogan “The Rescue Mission Agenda”.

That was all he needed.

Since he was inaugurated as the executive Governor of lmo State on May

29, 2011, precisely one year ago, Gov. Okorocha has remained on Rescue

Mission. He has done that with speed and passion that he has become

the miracle worker of Africa and indeed the world, considering his

achievements, within one year.

Where some state governors come to office to plunder the state

treasury and add to their private till, Rochas donated his salary as

state governor to the Rescue Mission Agenda. A rare political

philanthropy, you will call that.

He also slashed his security vote, where other governors make a kill,

from N6.5 billion to N4 billion.

Political opponents said that free education is impossible in Imo

State but Gov. Okorocha insisted that it is possible.

Today, every Imo State child of school age goes to school from Primary

to University absolutely free!

Political contractors and merchants said that N18,000 minimum wage for

Imo public and civil servants is impossible. Indeed, they claimed that

lmo State will go bankrupt if it pays that minimum wage. Gov. Okorocha

has also decoded that puzzle and lie. Today, courtesy of the visionary

and patriotic governor of lmo State, public servants, not only earn

minimum wage, but they earn N20,000 which is N2,000 above the national

minimum wage.

He has set the pace for other state governments to follow. Pensioners,

who have been starving and waiting for non-payment of their pensions,

now smile as they are regularly paid after clearing a back-log of

about 2.5 billion naira.

In Imo state, a plethora of networks of roads, gutters, sidewalks and

culverts springing all over the three zones of the state are being

constructed simultaneously.

Several moribund industries are being reactivated and brought to life.

Workers are getting their salaries as at when due. Today, Imo people

wonder where Gov. Okorocha gets the funds to embark on these economic

and socio-political development projects in a state that people said

was poor without borrowing from any bank.

The answer is very simple. As a successful man in the private sector,

Gov. Okorocha carved a niche for himself as prudent manager of

resources. As a Disciplined Prudent manager, the governor simply

brought his wealth of experience in the management of human and

material resources to bear in handling the affairs of the state. That

translated to the blockage of revenue leakages and total abolishment

of frivolous recurrent expenditures to cut down the cost of governance

in the state. The reversal of the budgetary pattern in the state to

73% capital Expenditure and 27% Recurrent completes the rest of the

story.

A summary of Gov. Okorocha’ Rescue Mission:

1. Road Construction

As at today, over 600km of roads are under construction across the

urban and rural areas in the three zones of the state. In Owerri

capital city, the entire roads and streets in Prefab, Aladinma, World

Bank, Trans-Egbu and Works-Layout are under construction with

drainages. Okigwe and Orlu cities are transformed to modern cities

with massive road and infrastructural ongoing projects. At least, 25

kilometer of roads are being constructed in each of the 27 Local

Government Areas in the state. In fact, it is massive road

construction project in Imo which is too numerous to be captured in

this piece.

In addition to these massive road construction projects going on

simultaneously across the nooks and crannies of the state, the

following public buildings and facilities have either been completed

or are nearing completion:

I. New Executive Council (EXCO) Chambers

2. Expanded Exco chambers

3. A new Banquet Hall

4. First ever Government House Chapel

5. An Ultra-Modern office building for the First Lady

6. An Ultra modern office building for Deputy Governor

7. Odenigbo Government Guest Houses

8. Mbari Amphi Theatre

9. A new Musical Arcade christened “Bongo Square”

10. Remodeling of abandoned Imo Hotel

II. Construction of the Freedom Square/People’s Embassy

12. The Heros Square with 5,000 seats

13. Construction of the Heros Gate

14. Heros Guest House

I5. Renovation of the Concorde Hotel

l6. Renovation of the Oguta Motel

I7. Construction Oguta Lake Conference Centre

l8. The Ikemba Ojukwu Centre

I1. Reconstruction of abandoned Imo Parliamentary Ouarters now known

as Concorde Hotel Extension

20. Renovation of the customary Court of Appeal headquarters

21. Renovation of the commissioners quarters, deputy governor’s

and Speakers’ Lodges.

22. Renovation of the State Secretariat complex along Port Harcourt Road.

23. Completion of the Abandoned Imo House at Abuja

24. Construction of Imo International Conference center

The government also plans within its tenure to construct a five-star

hotel in Orlu to be known as The prince, another five-star in Okigwe

that will be also known as The Queen. In Owerri, the capital city,

monumental projects including a 23-floor hotel that will be christened

Crystal Hotel, 110-metre tall Tower known as Akachi and Ecumenical

center also known as Amarachi will be constructed and completed before

the life of the administration.

3. Education

i. Free Education

It is no longer news that lmo Sate has become the first in Nigeria

where children of school age go to school from Primary to University

free. Pupils/students will be provided with writing materials (biro,

pencils, notebooks, textbooks etc). They will also get free school

uniforms, bags and sandal.

Government has approved the payment of N60,000 for National Diploma

(ND) and N80,000 for higher National Diploma (HND) students of Imo

State origin studying in lmo State Polytechnic, Umuagwo . Also,

students of Imo State origin studying in Imo State University shall be

entitled to scholarship of NlO0,000.

Meanwhile, the state government has ordered the release of the sum of

N450 million promised by the previous administration as grant to

mission schools returned to their owners.

The government has also increased the monthly subvention to Imo State

University (IMSU) from N57 million to about N250 million. In

accordance with its electioneering campaign promise, of free education

at all levels, the government has embarked on the upgrading of

infrastructure in all government owned schools.

One of them is the ongoing construction of 305 model schools to

replace the dilapidated structures in each electoral ward in the

state. The sum of N135 million has been released to Imo State

Polytechnic, Umuagwo Ohaji-Egbema for projects development.

The lmo College of Advanced Professional Studies (ICAPS) and Young

Scientist College have been established to give graduates and young

people the opportunities to acquire skills that will make them

employable in the various sectors of the economy.

4. Health

Over the years, the health sector has suffered a drastic neglect in

potency and facilities. To check this drift, the Rescue Mission

Government has initiated several measures. These include the

following;

i. Construction of new General Hospitals in the 27 LGAs in

the state

ii. Upgrading of Umuguma General Hospital to a Specialist hospital and

reconstruction of Aboh Mbaise and Awo-Omamma General Hospitals

iii. Completion of projects abandoned at the Imo State University

Teaching Hospital Orlu and the upgrade of Diagnostic facilities at the

hospital, including the installing of MRI equipment

iv. Increase of monthly subvention of lmo State University Teaching

Hospital Orlu from N66 million to N95.4 million.

v. Signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Apollo

Hospital Group in India to equip and manage some of the new hospitals

upon completion

vi. Introduction of Heath Insurance Scheme to provide Health care

coverage for Imo State citizens

8. Provision of 24/7 emergency Medicare to the citizen through the

Health — At — Your — Door- Step programme

5. REHABILITATION OF ABANDONED INDUSTRIES

To create jobs and wealth and boost the economic potentials and

revenue generation capacity of the state, the government has embarked

on several measures to rehabilitate and reactivate some ailing and

abandoned industries.

These are:

1. Rehabilitation of the Standard Shoe Company in Owerri

2. Construction of a modern Tile Factory at Nsu Ehime Mbano LGA

The Standard Shoe Factory will receive Italian Technical Partners as

majority share-holders under the public/private partnership

arrangement.

In a bid to boost the operations of the company, the state government

has awarded a contract of the sum of N440 million to the Standard Shoe

Factory to produce and supply school shoes to pupils in the school

system.

It is expected that the contract will be a lifeline for the company to

return to full commercial operations. The Nsu Tiles (Now Imo Tiles)

will be lucky as well. It will receive an Italian company Fratelli

Lerose as its technical partner. The project will attract foreign

direct investment of 130 million Euros and create over 2000 jobs and

other ancillary businesses.

6. AGRICULTURE

As the fulcrum of the Rescue Mission Agenda and mainstay of the

economy, the agricultural sector, shall receive adequate attention for

economic prosperity and to create jobs for the teeming population of

Imo State citizens.

To achieve this objective, the government has embarked on the

following proactive measures:

I. N400 Million has been approved for disbursement to local farmers to

enable them enhance the productivity of their farms in pursuit of the

goal of self sufficiency

2. The Imo Palm Plantation (ADAPALM) has been taken over by new

investors and it will generate at least 4,000 jobs upon full

rehabilitation. The deal earned the state government the sum of N3.2

billion naira.

3. The Imo Modern Poultry Farm, Avutu Obowo, is undergoing

rehabilitation. During the year, poultry farms will be set up in

partnership with the private sector.

 

4. The Ministry of Agriculture will partner with private investors to

establish rice farms at Arondizuogu, Ohaji Egbema, Obowo and Ngor

Okpala LGAs. Oil Palm Plantation will be established at Ohaji-Egbema

and Oru West LGAs. These projects will create I5,000 jobs in the next

eighteen (18) months.

 

7. SECURITY

Government is aware of the importance of security of life and property

of its citizens. To achieve this objective, the government has

launched Community Policing programme in the state with 100 new

security vans equipped with modern communication gadgets. To curb

kidnapping in the state, the state government has announced a ransom

of N1 million naira to whoever that volunteers useful information that

will lead to arrest of suspected kidnappers and N100, 000 for an armed

robber. This has contributed immensely in reducing the spate of

kidnapping as many suspected kidnappers in the state.

 

 

 

8. IMO MULTI – CITY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME

In order to tackle the town planning and development challenges facing

the state, the government has embarked on developing Umuaka (Njaba

LGA), Nworieubi (Mbaitolu LGA), Anara (lsiala Mbano LGA), Okpala (Ngor

Okpala LGA), Mgbidi (Oru West LGA) and Akokwa (Ideato North LGA)

 

In the first phase of the projects, a minimum of I00 hectres of land

shall be provided and each location shall have facilities such as

General Hospital, Housing Estate and Guest Houses. Road networks will

be constructed to connect these cities. In the long term, Imo State

will be transformed into a modern one-city state.

9. DEVELOPMENT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREAS

Over the years, Local Government Areas in Imo State have been

neglected as a result of misappropriation of funds and squandering of

resources at this level of government by government officials and

godfathers. Government intends to achieve a turn-around of the

fortunes of LGAs. To accomplish this objective, government has

released over N1.BilIion naira to each of the 27 LGAs for capital

projects. This is even as government plans to spend at least N4

Billion for projects in each LGA during the tenure of this

administration. Some of the target projects are; Construction of at

least l5kms of road in each LGA,

establishment of a modern poultry farm in each LGA, construction of a

mini sports centre/stadium, modern abattoir, modern market or

rehabilitation of an existing one,Guest House official residence for

Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Magistrate, Local Government INEC

Officer and Head of SSS.

10. IMO STATE CIVIL SERVICE AND COMMERCIALISATION PROGRAMME

For the purpose of re-positioning the civil service to make it

proactive and resulted oriented, a number of measures have been

initiated to reform the activities of the Ministries, Departments and

Agencies MDAs, to become commercially viable and to cater for

themselves with minimum government subventions. They should be able to

generate enough revenues in the near future through commercialization

programmes to enable the state pay salaries and overheads of the civil

servants. This will enable the state government access enough funds

for capital projects. To achieve this purpose, the government has

embarked on comprehensive capacity building (retraining) programme for

civil servants as well as computer literacy/appreciation courses that

are meant to enhance their skills.

11. COMMUNITY GOVERNMENT COUNCIL

To achieve the objective of carrying the citizens along, give them a

sense of belonging and bring the government nearer to the people at

the grassroots, the Rescue Mission Government has decided to introduce

developmental councils anchored on communities within the Local

government system.

Each Community Government shall be run by a Governing Council made up

of the following persons:

I. The Traditional Ruler

2. The President General

3. The Woman Leader

4. The Youth Leader

5. Community Liaison Officer

The Community Government Council (CGC) will also have administrative

staff made up of civil servants that will be deployed on secondment to

run the affairs, implement and supervise development projects for the

benefit of the citizens and residents of that community.

 

Ebere Uzoukwa is the Special Assistant to the Governor of Imo State on

Print Media

1 COMMENT

  1. WHY ARE CIVIL SERVANTS IN COURT WITH THE GOVT?
    WHY IS NULGE IN COURT WITH YOUR OGA?
    WHO RENOVATED CONCORDE HOTEL BY DIRECT LABOUR AND LATER PUBLISHED THE TENDER?
    WHAT ARE THEY COVERING?
    WHAT IS THE MEANING OF 4TH TIER GOVT?
    WHO IS HANDLING IMO GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEM?
    IS IT NOT ROCHAS PRINTER BROTHER HANDLING IT AND WHAT DOES HE KNOW ABOUT IGIS?
    DOES THIS GOVERNOR BELIEVE IN THE RULE OF LAW?
    WHY ARE OWERRI PEOPLE ON WAR PART WITH HIM?
    IS IMO THE GOVERNOR’S PRIVATE ESTATE?
    DO YOU KNOW THAT GOVTS WORLD OVER ARE DIVESTING FROM BUSINESSES?DOES GOV OKOROCHA WORK WITH BUDGET?
    HOW MUCH HAS HE BORROWED FROM BANKS SINCE HE CAME?
    IS HE NOT WORKING AS THOUGH HE IS BEING ADVISED BY ELVIS AGUKWE,OWURU IZUOGU,SOKOM,STEEVE ASIMOBI,WILLIE AMADI ETC?
    HOW MUCH OF THE BOND TAKEN BY OHAKIM HAS HE SPENT?
    NOW LISTEN CAREFULLY.
    I HEAR HE HAS SPENT THE BOND MONEY TAKEN BY OHAKIN WORTH 35 BILLION WITH INTEREST AT UBA PLC.
    I HEAR HE HAS BORROWED OVER 100 BILLION BORROWED FROM BANKS.
    HE IS PUTTING IMO IN PERPETUAL BOND FROM HIS RECKLESS SPENDING,NO WONDER THE IMO ELDERS IN 1999 DENIED HIM TICKET BECAUSE OF HIS GREED AND PENCHANT FOR SPENDING MONEY
    DOES YPOUR MAN DESIGN THE ROADS BEING BUILT?
    ARE THE ROADS BEING SUPERVISED?
    ARE THERE BILLS OF QUANTITIES FOR THE WORKS BEING DONE?
    WHAT A PRAISE SINGER YOU ARE.
    ROCHAS WILL BE RUN OUT OF GOVT FASTER THAN HE CAME.
    WHY IS HE VERY UNPOPULAR THIS FAST.
    PACK YOUR BAGGAGE BECAUSE WE SHALL RUN BOTH OF YOU OUT,MUMU.

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