I have listened with shock, trepidation and even petrifaction Governor Okorocha’s denial that he did not at any time make a promise, or a pledge of serving just a term of four years, if elected governor in 2011. Those who are religious will also describe it as a vow. I have decided to use the word “VOW” so that the reader can understand the seriousness of the issue under discussion. The Wikipedia Online dictionary defines “vow” as(1)a solemn promise, pledge or personal commitment: a vow of secrecy “(2) a solemn promise made to a deity, or saint committing oneself to an act, service or condition;(3) a solemn or earnest declaration to God or a saint; ………” In order to understand the enormity of the issue at stake, let us take a trip to the BOOK of LIFE in order to hear from the Supreme Immanent Triune Deity(God) on the issue of the consequences and implications of getting involved in a vow which one does not intend to fulfil. The Book of James 5-12 states thus: “But above all my brothers do not swear either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your yes be yes and your no be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation. “Again, The Book of Deutronomy23:21-23 states thus: “If you make a vow to the Lord your God, you shall not delay fulfilling it, for the Lord your God will surely require it of you and you will be guilty of sin. You shall be careful to do what has passed your lips, for you have voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God what you have promised with your mouth.” The Book of Numbers 30:1-16 says :”Moses says to the head of the tribes of the people of Israel saying: “This is what the Lord has commanded. If a man vows a vow to the Lord or swears on oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break it, he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.” In the same vein, the Bible is replete with several passages that talk about the consequences of breaking a vow. Since I am not in a catechism or Theology class coupled with the constraints/paucity of space, I do not wish to veer into that realm in this discussion. We have a glut of evangelists in the Journalism profession who may wish to expand that area of discussion-i.e. the consequences of treating our vows with levity, contempt , and disdain.
In his recent broadcast which was tagged as “Governor Okorocha’s broadcast or address on the State of Imo, “I was disorientated when Governor Okorocha said that there was no time he said he would serve just one term of four years. Accordiung to Governor Okorocha ,all he said was that his government, if voted into power, would be “ a 90 – minutes in Entebbe”-(whatever that means). I am totally disappointed that a governor who gives the impression of being a Charismatic Christian of Catholic Church extraction could exhibit such barefaced affront/denial on a statement which he made in the midst of a sea of humanity who thronged Rosy Arts Theatre, Owerri on Friday 7th January, 2011 to celebrate his reconciliation with Chief Martin Agbaso(Ochudo) who was the then Czar/the big Cock in the All Peoples Grand Alliance(Owerri)Owerri. It is deplorable that a governor who has made so much show about religiosity should be found so remiss and empty on such a simple issue as owing up to a statement he voluntarily made before a global audience. This is very tragic indeed. In this State of Imo, we have a governor who has built an exotic Government House Chapel; those who have entered there say it’s a great place; he has decreed that the Catholic Prayer -The Angelus- must be prayed for 10 minutes by the workers on Imo State Government Pay roll on each working day and he will hardly end a sentence without alluding to the need to walk in the ways of the Lord. It rankles that such a politician does not have any qualms in denying a vow which he made in our very eyes -a vow which actually facilitated the massive support we extended to him in the 2011 governorship poll. Our God is a jealous God who will not share his honour; those who make it through God’s intervention and want to donate it to demi – gods or shrines will fail.
My grouse is that I was very deeply embedded in the APGA/Okorocha’s governorship agenda of 2011.Above all, as a media professional(volunteer) who was working with the Media Coordinator, the Late Lolo Ogoke, I personally covered the event where Owelle Okorocha announced to the humanity who thronged ROSY ARTS Theater, Ikenegbu that :”I will serve only a term of four years and hand over to Owerri zone”. I am writing this viewpoint to expose the abysmal hypocrisy of some politicians who masquerade as men of God in the political landscape of Imo State even when they are the face of Judas Iscariot. It is very deplorable that in Imo State , we have a genre of journalists who after covering events do not uncover what transpired in such events. In a normal situation, journalists who cover events should uncover what transpired so that society can know what is happening. This is why the Press is described as the Fourth Estate; it’s a mirror through which society can take a look at itself in order to know where it stands .But today in Imo State, our journalists have abandoned their roles as watch dogs of society on the grounds of a mess of pottage or porridge. God Forbid! I do not believe that I was the only media professional who covered that event. So, why are other journalists, especially those who are supposed to be advising Governor Okorocha debunking this simple vow of their principal, Governor Okorocha. May God help the Fourth Estate in Imo State. Henceforth, we shall no longer keep silent or mum while our politicians make mockery of integrity in office. We shall carry the people along in order to enable them have useful information so that they can take informed decisions.
In the same vein, I am publishing under a separate report my news analysis on the ceremony where Governor Okorocha vowed to serve just one tenure of four years. The viewpoint entitled: “APGA CRISES: Agbaso and Rochas Reconcile” was published on page 9 of the MIDWEEK NIGERIAN HORN newspaper of January 12-13, 2011. It can also be read online by GOOGLING the headline of the viewpoint .There is something fundamentally dangerous in a situation where a state governor does not feel any qualm of conscience in disseminating falsehood to the populace. It is a gratuitous insult on those of us who stayed by him as volunteers in the struggle to actualize his governorship agenda. Perhaps, for the umpteenth time, I must state vehemently that Governor Okorocha’s denial that he did not promise or undertake to serve just one term and hand over to Owerri zone is a falsehood of gargantuan proportion; I don’t remember when last I heard this magnitude of lies and fabricated mendacity from a person in his social class. It rankles that very often Governor Okorocha talks before he thinks; he often prides himself as the only cock that crows in Imo State, nay, in Igbo land. This is a very dangerous character flaw which bodes no good for the populace in Imo State.
One of my friends asked this question: ”How about President Goodluck Jonathan who is alleged to have made the same promise of serving one tenure in the meeting of some political chieftains in 2011? My response is that there is no correlation between the two events. There is no basis for that comparison. In fact, it’s a case of comparing unlike terms- a case of comparing incomparables. In the case of President Jonathan, the vow to serve one tenure was allegedly made in a caucus of political demagogues and desperadoes of PDP or so. We do not know the context in which the promise was snatched .We do not know if the prevailing environment gave President Goodluck the compos mentis to take informed decision that was devoid of duress or intimidation. By the way, it is lamentable and deplorable that a handful of political chieftains would enter into an unholy business of snatching a one tenure pact from President Jonathan in the wee hours of the night when Nigerians were asleep. Such accord, if it ever exists, is illegitimate and thus not justiceable.It’s, in fact, a palace coup against the country. The allegation is not helped by the fact that President Jonathan has severally asked his traducers to present the “Document of the One Tenure Accord” to the public domain, but none is forthcoming. There is no cogent and verifiable reason to conclude that President Jonathan ever made such vow. So, President Jonathan is discharged and acquitted. But in the case of Owelle Okorocha, his promise or vow to serve one tenure and hand over to Owerri zone was voluntarily made in a public forum where the populace or what may be better put as “We the People” gathered to celebrate his reconciliation with Chief Martin Agbaso who Owelle Okorocha on that occasion described as “ the General of the Army who would not let me pass.” So, the vow is sacrosanct and ought to be actualized. It is my opinion that a leader who cannot stand by his vow is a danger to society, more so, in a democracy. I cannot in conscience join the maddening crowd who have joined the choir of praise singers who have seared conscience as they pretend that all is well with Okorocha’s style of governance. I see such sycophants as belonging to the family of goats who must always follow the man that is carrying the palm frond. It’s unfortunate; It’s a shame to the various social clusters in Imo State whose members keep mum in the face of the dictatorship of the rule of law which Okorocha’s Administration represents. In fact , Governor Okorocha even went further to tell us that:” only dunces repeat classes; as a brilliant student, I cannot repeat the governorship class. I will serve one tenure and hand over to Owerri zone and move to Abuja where I belong”. So, it is deplorable that a politician who said all these in public is today very desperate to do a second tenure. Is there no conscience in politics?
In the same vein, Governor Okorocha has kept silent in the ongoing allegations and innuendoes that Chief Martin Agbaso sold the APGA governorship ticket to him for N5 Billion or thereabout. But on that day of the reconciliation at Rosy Arts Theatre, Ikenegbu, Owelle Okorocha clarified the issue when he said: ”I am still uncomfortable because Agbaso accepted me without any conditions. I did not even pay one kobo…..” This unsolicited confession which elicited a thunderous applause was captured in my aforementioned viewpoint .Please Goggle and read or forward your email address for a free copy. Yet, this is the same Chief Martin( Ochudo ) who Governor Okorocha presided over the illegitimate impeachment of his younger brother cum deputy governor for no just cause. Even when the anti-graft Agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC), exonerated Sir Jude Agbaso, of any complicity in any infraction that would justify his impeachment, Governor Okorocha remains recalcitrant and does not have the grace of mind to embrace his wrongly impeached former Deputy Governor, Sir Jude Agbaso, for reconciliation.
Furthermore, during the Owelle electioneering or campaign rally in Emekuku in Owerri North in March 2011, this is what Owelle Okorocha said: ”I will not change any council chairman or councilor; they have a tenure. At the end of their tenure , there will be election. I will be too busy to start thinking of a new election. I intend to pay Council chairmen their full money as it comes from the Federal Government so that they can start developing the local areas”. Please read the report on page 6 of the White Paper newspaper of Friday, March 25-27th 2011.This is why I get agitated and disorientated each time I read the White Lies of the White Paper newspaper(a quasi-Government House tabloid in Imo State) in its frantic effort and desperation to package Governor Okorocha as the Messiah NDIMO are looking for. But did Governor Okorocha observe his vow not to sack or disband the LGAs- a vow he made in the presence of an overflowing crowd that thronged the campaign ground?He took the oath of office and oath of allegiance on May, 29th, 2011. A week after his inauguration as Governor –precisely on the 6th day of June, 2011- he made his maiden broadcast to the populace. In that provocative broadcast, he dissolved the 27 LGAs, sacked the 10,000 youths who were employed by his predecessor, Chief Ikedi Ohakim; he dissolved the Imo Traditional Rulers’ Council and announced other draconian orders which was a big shock to me as well as other men of conscience. I have never seen this level of executive recklessness before. When reminded of his campaign promises of not dissolving the Local Councils, Governor Okorocha replied with an imperial bravado: ”I don’t believe in the rule of law; I don’t believe in due process; it slows me down”. It is my opinion that a politician who does not see anything wrong in announcing with glee his contempt for rule of law and due process is not worthy of being given the levers of power in any political ambience. It does not matter that such a leader is mounting air conditioners in the streets of Owerri municipality or tarring the roads with gold and diamonds or even throwing money about to praise singers as if money was going out of use. Such a leader is a danger to democracy and I cannot be part of those who pour encomiums on such a person. It is on the grounds of Governor Okorocha’s contempt for the rule of law and due process that I have persistently maintained that we are not practising democracy in Imo State. We seem to be practising Ochlocracy or Mobocracy or even a government of Plutocracy in Imo State. Ochlocracy may be defined as “mob rule” and a mob could be defined as a group without a leader or any social group that is bereft of any organized rules of engagement. In the same vein, Mobocracy has been defined by the Wikipedia online dictionary as “Political control by a mob or the mass of common people as the source of political power.” Plutocracy is a government by the rich/wealthy.
Again, during the governorship electioneering of 2011, hear what Owelle Okorocha told us: “I condescended to be governor in order to partner with my brother, President Jonathan, who is in ASO ROCK as President. When he(i.e. Goodluck Jonathan) was selected as Vice Presidential candidate to Alhaji Musa Yar’Ardua, he called me to complain that he would rather run for a second tenure as governor instead of going for the Vice Presidency. He appealed to me to use my connections to become the VP candidate since I took the second position to Alhaji Musa Yar’Adua in the presidential primaries. I told him to accept the VP position because there is a hand of God in his political career……”At this point, Owelle Okorocha screamed in high decibel: “May we not be an obstacle to the hand of God in anybody’s political career”. This prayer from Owelle Okorocha was greeted with a deafening applause of AMEeeeeen. by the crowd that thronged the venue. Today, it shocks me that the selfsame Owelle Okorocha who benefitted immensely from President Jonathan in the actualization of his 2011 governorship agenda has today become a pathological political enemy of President Jonathan. The pertinent poser that follows is:” Has God told Governor Okorocha that He, God, has withdrawn His anointing and support for President Jonathan?” It rankles that Governor Okorocha whose 2011 governorship victory was buoyed by the actions and inactions of President Jonathan is today the only governor in the South East who is hostile to President Jonathan’s second tenure bid.
In conclusion, I lose nothing if Governor Okorocha wins or loses, after all, I am not a member of any political party now . I am merely doing my work as a media professional who must present the mirror through which society can see itself and take informed decisions.Journalists do not create news ; they merely journalize the events in the society and present space to publish them for the populace to know the state of the polity. It was the revered scholar/philosopher, ROUSSEAU, who warned that: ” As soon as any man says of the affairs of state, “what does it matter to me?” the state may be given up for lost”. Furthermore, It was Edmund Burke who once posited that “all that is necessary for the forces of evil to triumph is for enough good men to nothing”. It is on this account that we ,media professionals, take the burden of holding our leaders to account. Again, while denouncing leaders who are not loyal to their promises ,the great zik said in his poem entitled: ”Unfulfilled Promises “held: ”The worst of sins committed by our friends are promises disguised to gain their ends”. He said that such leaders were dangerous in a political environment.
In conclusion, it is my opinion that our governor ,Owelle Okorocha, has tried a lot within his abilities in order to transform Imo State. We are grateful to him for condescending to serve us as governor. In any case, it is time for him to leave in faithful compliance with his vow before God and man, more so, now that the ovation is tumultuous and thunderous. It was just one act of disobedience that caused Moses of the Bible not to see the Promised Land yes, one act of disobedience that caused Lot, the wife of Abraham to turn to a bag of salt. Again, the revered poet, George Santayana, once posited that “ Those who don’t learn from history repeat their mistakes”