During the just concluded governorship election in Imo State on April and May, 2011, respectively, Imolites were presented with two options: to continue with the status quo of embezzlement, intimidation of citizens, harassment of political opponents, negligence of infrastructural decay, glorification of avalanche of bribery, destruction of moral psyche of the people, usurpation of public funds for personal aggrandizement, chronic refusal to pay state workers and pensioners, introduction of Mickey Mouse programs specifically designed to siphon state treasury for personal investment overseas and sordid/sorry administration, or to pursue their dreams by electing their heart desires.Obviously, the latter was chosen.Like many Imolites, I never doubted the charisma and people-oriented and action-driven personality of Governor Rochas Okorocha.
During the electioneering campaign, and in one of my many write-ups in support of the governor, I compared and contrasted the then candidates of Chief Okorocha and former incumbent Governor Ikedi Ohakim, the analytical comparison was like an apple and a dried cashew nut. So far so good for Governor Okorocha!
Since he came to power, he has methodically and assiduously identifying one program after another, the immediate needs of Imo people. After his swearing in ceremony, he swiftly introduced Imo State employees that the era of loitering, non-production by coming to work at 10 am and leaving at 2 pm is now belong to the past. On that very morning, the governor locked up the Secretariat against late comers and heralded that a new sheriff is in town.It was a rude awakening for state employees under Governor Ohakim for which many rested at home and showed up at the end of the month to pick up their salaries if any existed.
Just few days ago, he paid another surprise visit to the Secretariat and found many permanent secretaries had not reported to work, and announced that the permanent secretaries would forfeit 50% of their pays at the end of the month. In as much as Governor Rochas is symbolically taking a position, it is important to examine their absences individually in order to determine cause. On a general term, I am in full support of governor’s programs and have no qualms toward its methodology.
Just few days ago, Governor Rochas introduced ambitious and much needed programs to ameliorate the decadence of years of neglect in the lives of Imo people by announcing the immediate release of N2.47 billion for the rehabilitation and renovation of primary and high schools in the state. He did not stop to solicit for applause, but proceeded further to announce that his government shall release the sum of one hundred million Naira each to the 27 Local Government Councils for immediate disbursement, and called for consolidation of rural schools with population less than 300 students, and 500 students in urban schools.
Still the action governor did not return to the Governor’s Mansion to crack up bottles of Champagne for a job well done, instead, his government announced that he would equip three general hospitals in Owerri, Okigwe and Orlu with the state of art equipments to improve the heath care delivery system to the Imolites. In equipping the hospitals, I advise the governor to ensure that all medical personnel are scrutinized properly to determine its credentials.It becomes prudent and relevant that medical doctors practice in their areas of specializations.
Dear Governor, please Sir, ensure that any doctor that touches a pregnant woman is specialized to do so to minimize the incidences of butchering of these expectant women by quack doctors. (I sent to you a letter to this effect.)
Dear Governor, so far, you are doing what the Imolites wanted you to be doing when they risked intimidations of their lives, by trouping out in masse to cast their votes for you. The dividends of true democracy are on its way to stardom in Imo State. It becomes relevant to state without fear of contradiction that you have to keep your eyes wide open to devise a mechanism in project monitoring to ensure that these bold projects are executed flawlessly without any atom of hindrance.
Always remember that the bureaucrats that worked for Governor Ohakim are still intact and could torpedo your efforts at the slightest opportunity. Imo indigenes in Diasporas are wishing you well, and pray for your good health everyday. Personally, I deeply believe that the resources are there to effect real changes that matter for the people. Remember to construct water treatment facilities in the State in order to combat epidemic of water borne diseases that are devastating the Imolites.
Thank you, Governor for your programs, and I wish you well.
written by Mazi Henry Otulle Eke
Mazi Henry Otulle Eke is a journalist and social critic. He is the editor and publisher of Town Crier Newsletter, a bi-monthly newsletter serving African community living in Austin, Texas, metropolis and its surrounding cities.