Governor Okorocha’s Visit To Orlu Local Govt. Area: What They Did Not Tell Him – By John Mgbe

Our Governor Has Gone "Mad" Again? - By Collins Ughalaa


Governor Okorocha of Imo State has since embarked on what is described as “Verification Visits” to the 27 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Imo State. According to  impeccable  sources, the  visit is  to  enable  the  governor review  his  achievements  in the  various LGAs  in order  to  ascertain the  way  forward, more so, as  the  electioneering  season  approaches. In this viewpoint, I wish to  use Orlu Government Area  as  a  platform to  comment on what  challenges  face  the governor  as  he cruises  through the  various LGAs. We  have  heard  a lot  on what  transpired  during his  visit to Orlu LGA and  indeed in  other LGAs. It  behooves  us  to  make some  input  in order  to  ensure that the  visits are  optimally harnessed in  order to buoy  support to the governor in the  stormy days that  lie ahead. I have  deliberately  targeted  only Orlu LGA because I need  a small sample in order   not  be  labelled  a  meddlesome interloper in the affairs  of  other LGAs. It is hoped that  other  analysts  from other LGAs will also  give us  an insight  into  what transpired  in their LGAs  as this  will avail  our governor a large mass of  information   to enable him  review his  methodology to issues.

The  Orlu  visit  revealed that  the  endemic cankerworm of sycophancy, bootlicking,  and praise singing  have  even  assumed  a larger than life  image in the present dispensation  than  was  ever known  before  now. It is  distressing  that  although Orlu LGA was the engine/war-room   of  Governor Okorocha’s governorship   agenda  in the 2011 election, the  number  of  people who thronged the venue on the  occasion of his  official  tour to Orlu LGA is  a  far  cry from what  would  have  been  ordinarily  expected. I prefer to  paint  the scenario by  lifting  a  comment  made  by  a Lagos-based news magazine, “The Source”  in its edition of  April 7, 2014:33. In a headline entitled “Embarrassing Tour”, The Source wrote:”Governor Rochas  Okorocha’s  recent tour  of local governments in Imo State ends up a disaster in Orlu LGA”. The magazine wrote:”On Saturday, March 24, the government’s tour of Orlu LGA was poorly attended by the people. The  tour was  also  disrupted by  more  than 10,000 youths who  surged into  the  reception ground held at the Ihioma Civic Centre where  the youths staged  rally for  President Goodluck Jonathan…” Those were snippets of the comments from “The Source Magazine”- a Lagos – based news magazine with strong bias to Imo State. The  bottom line  is  that  while  the  governor was  addressing  the  people  in the stadium, the Orlu  youths  ignored  the  governor’s visit  and  were  rather  present in the  inauguration  of the Niger Delta Youth Movement(NDYM) which  held  at Ihioma Civic Centre, Orlu- a walking  distance  from the  venue  where the  governor  was  hosted  by the Orlu LGA on the  same  day and time. It  was  during this  rally that  the youths  under the  leadership of Comrade Precious Nwadike, President of the Orlu Youths Assembly, chose Professor Natharn Uzorma as a  parallel Mayor  of Orlu zone  in disregard  to   Dr Esom Obodo  the  governor’s appointed Mayor of Orlu. Both Professor Uzorma and Comrade Precious Nwadike  confirmed  this  story  when I contacted  them  to  ascertain the  veracity  of  the  story. The  object  lesson  is  that  these  Orluzurumee Youths who are  now  diametrically  opposed  and  hostile  to Governor Okorocha’s policies  are  the selfsame youths who  played  a  critical role to actualize Owelle Okorocha’s victorious  governorship  campaigns  of 2011. So, there  is  a need to  draw  the attention of Governor Okorocha  to  this  development  in order  to  enable him  decide  whether  to  ignore  the  Orluzurumee youths  or  to  provide  a  platform  to  give  them a  hearing in  order  to  seek  a  reconciliation. Delay may be dangerous, more so, since the electioneering period is around the corner. It  is  also  pertinent to  state  that  the  main Orluzurumee Group  which  is  led  by  Barrister  Reuben Okoro has  since  become  factionalized. One group is led by Barrister Reuben Okoro  while  a splinter  group  is  led  by Engineer Chime Nzeribe. The Barrister Okoro  group  point  fingers at Governor Okorocha and Professor  Tony Anwuka  as  the architects  of  the internal  feuding  and  faction in Orluzurumee Group. While  Reuben Okoro  is  the de jure( court-ordered) National  President of Orluzurumee, Engineer Chime  Nzeribe  represents some  political   interests in Orlu  zone .Again, the  youth  wing  of the Orluzurumee Group  is  factionalized as  the Precious Nwadike Group  does  not  take  orders  from the de jure National  Chairman, barrister Reuben Okoro. A cross section of Orlu people is not pleased at the alleged divisive role of Professor Tony Anwuka in the affairs of Orluzurumee. The  Reuben Okoro group  is  very  vehement  in  condemning the   plan by  the  governor  to  interfere  in  the  restructuring  of Orluzurumee Group. According to  them, the Orluzurumee is  a  legal  entity which  has  laws  guiding  the  emergence  of  its  trustees.

I am  aware  that Governor  Okorocha’s  aides and party   bigwigs  in Orlu Zone will never tell  him  these  facts; they  will as usual, tell him that  the  people  are  very  happy  and  all correct sir .Most  of them are chameleons and  mercenary carpetbaggers who  will join the  next  bus once  the  present  one breaks  down. Most of them have no conscience in their desperation to grab political power. As a  media  professional and  frontline  activist in Okorocha’s 2011 governorship agenda, I have  decided  to  let  the  cat out of the  bag  so that  politicians will not deceive  him as  they deceived his predecessor, Chief Ikedi Ohakim in 2011. Governor Okorocha should create a forum to reconcile with his brothers in Orlu. Such people like Barrister Reuben Okoro,  Emeka Diwe, Chime Nzeribe, Professor Tony Anwuka, as well as  the  factional  youth leaders must  be  brought  under  one  roof  so that Governor Okorocha  can put  his  house  in order before  seeking presidential or  second term ticket as governor. A house that is divided against itself cannot stand. Governor Okorocha should make haste because many people are at the verge of taking a stand on IMO 2015 Agenda. Let us not lose sight of the maxim:”To be forewarned is to be forearmed”.


As I veer into  discussing  other  areas  that Governor Okorocha should  focus  attention ,I wish to state that  in spite  of real or perceived shortcomings, Governor Okorocha  has  done  more  for Orlu Local Government  than  was  done in the twelve  years  of the PDP rule  in Imo State. This statement also applies to the 27 LGAs in Imo state. However, the  nexus  of  this  viewpoint is  not  to  list or profile  his  achievements  in Orlu LGA or  in the state. I am not  one  of   his numerous  political  aides neither am I a card –carrying politician; I hope  his party men and aides are  in a  better position to  articulate  his  achievements in a  grand style. So, nothing said in this viewpoint diminishes the fact that he has really tried  to  transform Orlu LGA as well as other LGAs to   modern cities. The point being  made  is  that  in comparison to  what  we  saw in the 12 years of PDP rule, Governor Okorocha’s  record is  without  compare ; but  he  can  even excel his  records  if  he  begins to listen to  what  people  like us tell him instead of  swallowing the garbage from his party members and aides in the State. Most of them do not believe in him and they will not give a damn to what happens to him in 2015. Most of them are hypocrites and political chameleons who do not wish him well.

LIBRARY/ICT CENTRE: I will never  get  tired  of  reminding Governor Okorocha that a big   lapse in his  administration is  the  lack of modern libraries/Information Communications Technology Centres(ICTs) in the  LGAs in the state. This is a major minus for his government. It is a paradox that an administration that is  able to run a free education programme in the  education sector  does  not deem it  wise to include library and ICT parks  in its fiscal budgets since 2012. In fact, in some areas the makeshift libraries are being shut down. I have  perused  the  fiscal budgets of 2012,2013 and 2014 and am unable  to see any  clear-cut  provision for  the  library /ICT infrastructure. I have seen a lot of the so-called legacy projects-5-star hotels,5-star edifices, and  roads of  all kinds and  qualities, international conference centres,  modern markets and even  the ongoing new-look school buildings  which are  planned to  spread  across the 305 INEC   wards but I am yet  to  hear  this  administration  include library/ICT platforms  in any of its fiscal budgets. This is  a  big  deficit  in planning which  must  be redressed  now .A government  that  has  the political will to  deliver free education  must  of  necessity  build modern libraries and ICT parks to boot. In Orlu LGA, 95% of the secondary school   leavers have not operated the computer at all. They do not know the difference between a television screen and a computer monitor; yet, they are supposed to take the same computer-based JAMB examinations which are scheduled to take off soon. So, such students are disadvantaged as they lack the requisite capability to compete effectively with their peers who are almost advanced in computer awareness. Today in Orlu municipality, there are no functional internet cafés where seekers of knowledge can browse in order to gratify their information needs. Here in Orlu, we  need  a library/ICT complex which will  contain about  50 computer systems  that  are  connected to  high speed  servers and a  computer  training  adjunct  to enhance  computer literacy among the  citizenry. It is hoped that the two commissioners   for education (Professor Nnabue and DR Ejiogu) will personally  move  this  agenda forward. It is  not  just in Orlu LGA; in fact, every LGA Chairman  must  be  compelled  to  set  up a modern library /internet  wing  in its  area of jurisdiction.

Lack of potable water: The  last time  residents  of Orlu Municipality  enjoyed  potable water  from the state water board was in the  regime of Colonel Zubairu. Water supply from the State Water Board collapsed  in the second  tenure of Chief Achike’s Administration. Since then-over 10 years ago-, the residents in Orlu Municipality have been sourcing water from all manner of sources. Today, every  family in Orlu  must  own a wheel barrow  in  order to move  to the  nooks and crannies of the municipality  in search of  potable water. During the military era of Colonel Zubairu, those who were  living in high rise  buildings could fetch water  from the  various floors and even bath with showers. If this facility was available in a military regime, why not in a democratic dispensation? A lot   has been said about the Orlu Regional Water Scheme which was to  be executed  in conjunction with the Federal Government .We appeal to Governor Okorocha  to  find out  why this  project is on hold and take necessary action to actualize the  agenda. The indiscriminate sinking of bore holes in this Municipality and IMO State  is not a healthy development. This Administration has not given commensurate impetus to the issue of water delivery in IMO State. Often, the  impression is given that the government does  not even know that  provision of potable water to the  populace as well as the  provision of rural electrification is part of the  social contract  it signed with the electorate. The Ministry of Utilities in Imo State is virtually idle and comatose. This is unacceptable. It is  pathetic  to note that the Owerri-Ebeiri water pumping station  which pumped  water to Orlu municipality  and environs in the past years  has become  a  habitat  for  rodents and  reptiles  as it is now  a wild bush and in a state  of  disuse. Governor Okorocha should set up a crack task force to   regularize this anomaly. The people are suffering as a result of these challenges.

The PRINCE HOTEL, ORLU & Orlu/Umuowa Road:  Government has earmarked the building of Prince Hotel in Orlu municipality. We are told that it will be a big international hotel which purpose is to facilitate tourism and the hospitality industry. It is  my opinion that  the huge budget  for this project should be used to provide the Library/ICT complex in Orlu municipality .In the same vein, the  budget should  be  applied to  expedite  the  completion  of the Amaifeke- Orlu-Umuowa highway. The progress of work on that road is very sluggish and unimpressive. I am sure that a big hotel is not a priority for Orlu residents as of now. The construction work on the Umuowa road is of very low quality; it may not withstand the first rainy season. I suggest that since what is worth doing at all is worth doing well, real contracting groups like Julius Berger  and Arab Contractors should be called in to take over the contract. What is going on there now is very unsatisfactory; it’s making a mess of road construction.

Who owns the hotel on OWUS Avenue?: Owus avenue is a prominent avenue in Orlu municipality. A big hotel is springing up on that avenue now and tongues are wagging as to who really owns the hotel. Some people say the hotel belongs to   Ichie Mbanaso, the  Commissioner for Works; others allege that  it  belongs to the Lebanese contractor, Mr Gary; yet,  some  say  it  belongs to the state governor. My interest  in this  issue  is anchored on the  fact that the hotel is  on a  land which was  recently  acquired  or recovered  from alleged  squatters for  overriding  public  interest. Those who built houses on that land were ejected and their houses demolished. If the land was acquired for  overriding public interest, is  it fair  to allocate the  land to   businessmen to   set up private   businesses? The government should throw more light on the ownership of this hotel so that people can argue from an informed mind. I have  no personal interest  on the land ;I merely  deem it  necessary to  apprise the State Governor  that  a section of  the people are  murmuring and making snide  remarks on this  hotel. People are  also  wondering why a  hotel of that size  does not  have a contractor’s  bill board  which will show the  name  of the  contractor, the name  of the project and the client. I am just passing information to enable the government to be properly guided in the way it handles this project. So, the question is: Who owns this project? Is it a hotel or what? Is the project a public business i.e. for overriding public interest or a private one? There is a need for the Chairman of Orlu Local Government Council and the Mayor of Orlu to wade into this matter in order to ascertain what is happening and render clarifications to the populace.

Imo International Market UMUNA-ORLU: It rankles that this market has been forgotten in the scheme of things. This market was started in the regime of Chief Achike Udenwa. It was about 60% completed at the time Chief Udenwa left office. Since then, subsequent governments abandoned the master plan of the market. Even now, the utilities in the market are operating below marginal efficiency. Most of the facilities slated in the master plan of the market  are yet to  be actualized. They include facilities like a motor park, a fire service station, a police station, warehouses, an incinerator for burning garbage, a modern abattoir and others. This administration has built over a dozen new markets in various parts of Imo State without paying any attention to restoring the master plan of this market. The need to redress this anomaly cannot be overstressed.

BUILDING MATERIALS MARKET OKPORO: This market is dangerously  close to the HIGH COURT Complex in Orlu. It is  not reasonable  for  a market to  enjoy a proximity with a  court. This is poor planning. In the next few years, the market will extend to the High Court area. So, whoever planned this location of a court and a market as neighbors has no vision. In order to obviate avoidable lapses, environmental impact assessment must be performed before projects are sited and government must seek advice from urban development professionals and town planners.

The arrest of contractors at visit venues:  We have heard that some so-called non- performing contractors were arrested by the police on the orders of the state governor on the grounds that they failed to execute the contracts awarded to them. The story is still unfolding and it  may be too early  to  make in-depth  comment on this  aberration. However, one  must  advice  against the use  of self help and extra-judicial  means to  settle scores  in a  democratic  dispensation. The  revelation  is  more  worrisome  because the  contractors who  were  arrested were  mere  petty contractors who were  acting as  fronts  for  the  big  contractors  in the executive and  legislative  arms of  the government. It  is  sad  that while  these  hapless and  helpless petty business men were  handed over to the police in the full glare of a global audience, the  big politicians  who they  were  actually working  for  were drinking  red wine and  enjoying their  loot in their various  hideouts. Did the Attorney-General of the State give approval to this apparently arbitrary arrest? It is instructive to state  that  the   law allows any person who perceives that his  fundamental human rights have been  trampled  upon to sue for relief because for  every infraction,  the  victim is entitled to a relief. Recall that  a few days ago, an Abuja Federal High Court  awarded  exemplary  damages in the  sum of N50 million against  the  federal government  for  the  unlawful   arrest, detention, and  harassment of the  former governor of the Central Bank  of Nigeria, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. There is a dire  need for  Governor Okorocha to  exercise  restraint  in the  persisting  action of ordering  the  police to arbitrarily   arrest  contractors at  visit  venues, more so, since  the  politicians/big men  who the petty contractors  are  working for are allowed  to  go  unscathed. To most people, this action borders on showmanship and grandstanding and  may  make  the  state  government  vulnerable  to  litigation  on the  grounds  of   trampling  on some one’s  human  rights. There is a need to ascertain if what is at stake is a criminal or a civil action and,  above all, provisions of section 251 of the Constitution  vests  jurisdiction on the  federal high court to entertain matters touching on enforcement of  fundamental human rights and such  cases  are  accorded  accelerated and expeditious  hearing. In keeping with the twin pillars of natural justice, Governor Okorocha cannot be a judge in his own case more so, when the harassed contractors have not been given a fair hearing. Where a  contractor  has  breached the terms of the  contract, there  are  more  decent ways to bring him to  the  Temple of Justice; the use  of self help to  settle  issues  is  not an option in a  democratic dispensation.

ORLU HIGH COURT COMPLEX:    Government should expedite action on the completion of work on the Orlu High Court complex which has been abandoned since Chief Achike Udenwa left office.

ORLU NEW STADIUM: Work on the new  ORLU stadium should be pursued with vigour and tenacity of purpose.

(ICAPS) and the Young Scientists College (YSC): In the same vein, the Imo College of Advanced Studies (ICAPS) and the Young Scientists College (YSC) which are in Owerri should be replicated in Orlu and Okigwe zones. Imo state does not begin and end with Owerri municipality and environs. Similarly, Orlu and Okigwe senatorial headquarters should have the ultra modern school building – the type that is built for the City School, Wetheral Road, Okigwe. There should be no dichotomy in spreading democracy dividends.

THE FIRE SERVICE STATION, ORLU: Government should as a matter of emergency rehabilitate the Fire Service station at Orlu. The  station lacks  functional  fire engines  to respond to emergencies, more so,  as  it appears to be the  only  one  in the  whole of Orlu zone. The Fire Service station should be moved to a permanent site with an own bore-hole facilities and related logistics to enable the fire fighters to be more proactive and result –oriented. It is  calamitous  that  a  municipality  as  critical as  ORLU does  not have  a  functional fire service platform. Property and  merchandise  worth millions  of Naira  have  been lost  to fire  as  a result  of inability of  the staff of the  Fire Station to  respond promptly to  distress calls,  in cases of  inferno/fire disasters in Orlu  Municipality and  environs.

Refuse DUMP: Orlu municipality has no refuse dump. As a result of this lacuna, Orlu municipality is about the dirtiest city in Nigeria. Everywhere is exuding a putrid stench with the concomitant health hazards. This anomaly should be redressed in order to guard against possible epidemic in the city.

Ministry of Works:  Finally, I wish to advise Governor Okorocha to make a swift change in the leadership of the Ministry of Works. A technocrat in Engineering should be appointed Commissioner for Works now, if Governor Okorocha is genuinely interested in due process, accountability and quality in the Ministry. It  is sad that  in a state where every kindred has a graduate, the  Commissioner for Works is  a person who does not  have  the  benefit  of  a tertiary education,  not  to talk  of being an engineer. It rankles that a governor who talks of spending staggering amount in executing civil/structural engineering works does not have the political will to appoint an engineer to manage the Ministry of Works. In order to redress the very poor quality of roads and engineering works in the state, we need an engineer who can read engineering drawings and designs and make useful input in the tasks facing the Ministry. We need an engineer who  can brainstorm  with his  colleagues  on issues such as  the ways  to reinforce  a  concrete design to  carry the  dead weights  on beams, columns/cantilever beams, an engineer who  can resolve mathematical equations on Young Modulus of Elasticity, linear programming, tensile and shear strengths and the  others. Even, if the office is zoned to the present Commissioner for Works, he should be asked to nominate his candidate for the job. We don’t give  a damn if his  candidate occupies the  office as long he is a qualified and rugged engineer .Yes, Owelle is working but he will achieve more if he listens  to some of us  and pay less attention to those  sycophants who  give him a  standing ovation in spite  of his  perceived shortcomings, inadequacies and deficit in decision  making. The era of the choir:”Rochas ihe nile imere di mma…” was yesterday.






  1. Thanks John, your write up makes me happy for it is for the interest of IMO people and not politically motivated. Kudos to you. Please write more of this balanced report and IMO people will always remember you. Once again thanks.

  2. With a governor that is attributed to Orlu in power, does anybody have to remind the governor about all these salient issues raised here?

    The present Imo state library Owerri was established by East Central state govt based in Enugu. But 37 years after Imo was created state, no state library exists in Orlu. Does one need to remind a governor who boasts of education that this is absurd?

    How about having a public university in Orlu? I hope the governor would not say if Udenwa or Ohakim did not establish a university in Orlu, why expect Okorocha to do that? Emerging statics on education facilities availability in Imo state underscores the necessity for a new university in Imo state – in Orlu.


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