When Chief Ikedi Ohakim was governor of Imo State, people talked, people cried and complained but it seemed he was not listening. Towards the re-election period, he opened an email address asking people to feel free in writing him and telling him where he went right and wrong among other things.
I for one wrote him several times and in my customary fearless manner laid out his flaws and proffered solutions. On one occasion after receiving auto-response, he replied personally confirming that my point had been noted by him. Unfortunately for him, he never got the chance to make amends. He lost to Owelle Rochas Okorocha. Is it that there is something in that seat that blocks the ears of anyone that takes over the reins of power? Are there unseen forces controlling them that turn the cries and suffering of the people to music in their ears?
Our leaders find it more comfortable to surround themselves with praise-singer, puppets, hungry men and sycophants who for fear of losing their jobs will not tell the governors the truth. Probably, Chief Ohakim thought he was loved. Maybe his advisers and commissioners felt safer telling him that Imo people were in support of him rather than tell him the truth. Rather than point out where he has gone wrong, they would tell him he is doing the right thing for fear of losing their cherished positioned. Ohakim confirmed as much when he visited mechanic village during the election but alas, it was too late.
If he had good advisers who will fearlessly tell him where he was going wrong or right, the case that nailed his political coffin (the alleged Catholic Priest case) would have been effectively managed. Were I the one advising him, I would have told him to invite all the big state, national and private TV stations in infront of live audience beg for forgiveness from the priest and Arch-bishop Obinna. Had he done just that, I assure you, Ohakim would still be seated at Douglas House rather he was ill-advised and let the matter drag so long before he made a reluctant apology by then the main damage had been done – he lost the Catholic vote.
That same drama is replaying itself again. Sometimes I wonder, what are all these special advisers hired by Governor Okorocha doing? What are they even advising and the state capital is in disarray? Weren’t they the ones who ill-advised Gov. Okorocha on the badly handled 10,000 job episode as well as the controversial L.G councilmen sack? Why can’t they bring the bad state of affairs of Owerri to the notice of the governor? Are they afraid to lose their jobs for saying the truth?
Truth be told, apart from the schools Gov. Okorocha is building, I haven’t seen anything to commend him for. Somebody might say Hero Square. How many jobs have the construction of Hero Square created for Imo citizens. The Hero luxury apartment being constructed by the government you and I know are not meant for us but for the money-bags who can afford it. Even if Gov. Okorocha is a good man at heart, as demonstrated by his Rochas Foundation, and even if he has the best interest of the entire people of Imo at heart (not just Ideato people as is becoming obvious), he clearly isn’t an administrator. He is a successful businessman and that is what he is, Ohakim is a better administrator than him. Seeing as it is that he doesn’t know much about running public office, his advisers who are “supposed” to be vast in the areas they are advising should be guiding him from making mistakes that can smear his political future. His advisers should have cautioned him on making promises he cannot fulfil.
His advisers would have cautioned him about jumping into projects he cannot execute properly (such as the abandoned gates, roads etc littered around Owerri). His advisers would have cautioned him about making remarks he might be forced to take back and be be-littled by (the proposed removal of IMSU which he was forced to take back etc). There are so many things happening in Imo State that his advisers should have advised against but they seem very quiet and the running of Imo State now seems like a one-man show with Gov. Rochas bringing up all the ideas and everybody agreeing to it without debating the matter.
This trend, unfortunately is prevelant in every state in Nigeria and that is why this country isn’t growing. A governor should hire someone who will lay down the facts without sugar-coating it for fear of losing their jobs. The advisers should be experts who merit the job and not political and personal favors as is the case today.Our leaders should learn to be more of listeners and should hire people who will stand by the truth without fear or favor if Imo State will grow.
In previous postings I have made, some regard me as an Ohakim-man, I am a man that stands by the truth and if we start reasoning objectively and contructively-critically and tone down the praise-singing, we will be doing more good to both the governor and Imo State as a whole. God bless you all.