The masses got it wrong; the opposition parties got it wrong; the speaker of Imo State House of Assembly got it wrong; Imo state government got it wrong; even His Excellency Owelle Rochas Okorocha got it all wrong. I have been a keen follower of Governor Rochas Okorocha and can authoritatively say that although he has transmuted from one party to another in his strive to get to power, his drive for success remained steadfast.
My followership of Governor Rochas Okorocha was due to my love for his Rochanomics doctrine as he very so often enunciate in his sermons. When in 2006 Governor Okorocha visited the UK I moderated an interactive session in which he was a participant. He was then a contender for the post of the presidency in Nigeria. He promised transforming Nigeria if given the opportunity. His policy on commercialisation was the winner for me; probably because like him, I am an economist and a lawyer. Because of this policy my good self, Chief Chinedu Nwosu, Mr Emeka Ihemefor (then PA to Rochas in London) and others founded Friends of Rochas UK. Before then I had contemplated joining Action Alliance and becoming a gold member of Rochas Foundation; all for the love of Rochas, Rochanomics and Commercialisation. Friends of Rochas UK was hijacked, Mr Emeka Ihemefor our de facto leader lost the blessings of Rochas but my love for Rochanomics and Commercialisation continued.
I thought like his rigid strive to get to power Governor Okorocha’s policy on my beloved commercialisation will not change as he promised during some of his sermons. He dumped PDP for Action Alliance; Action Alliance, back to PDP; PDP for APGA; some are mooting that he will dump APGA back to PDP; in all this the man Rochas Anayo Okorocha did not change and I thought will not change. I was wrong. He changed. Rochanomics has failed, commercialisation collapsed and the reason I followed Governor Okorocha in the first instant has faded.
We gave Governor Okorocha a simpler job; than he thinks he is qualified for, by asking him to govern Imo state for 4 years. I trust we all remember his campaign speeches in which he constantly reminded us that he is a presidential material and only stooping low to rescue Imo state. I love the pride in the man Rochas. Has he rescued Imo state? That’s a question for another time. As I said, Governor Okorocha changed. My beloved commercialisation failed.
Commercialisation I still believe is the best legacy Governor Okorocha can leave in Imo state and if well implemented it can be exported to other states of Nigeria and maybe the Federal Government. The failure of commercialisation in Imo state is not because it is a bad policy but because Governor Okorocha, his SA on commercialisation and the implementers all got it wrong. Although Governor Okorocha understands the benefits of the Commercialisation policy he got its implementation totally wrong. His SA on Commercialisation should be sacked.
Commercialisation as presented by the Imo State Government and as the Imolites know it means each government department, parastatal, ministry etc should generate revenue for itself from whatever source possible. I agree that generating revenue is key to commercialisation but the question is by what means and from which source. Governor Okorocha got the generating of revenue part right but for the means and source he failed woefully.
Commercialisation means I cannot pay you more than your billable output. It applies to all departments; to the commissioners; to the workforce and even to the political appointees. Unlike in the private sector, the end result is not to make profit but to pay workers less or equal to their actual billable output. His Excellency Owelle Rochas Okorocha therefore got it wrong when he wanted all government bodies to generate revenue from whatever source and by whatever means possible.
I reiterate commercialisation is the best legacy His Excellency Owelle Rochas Okorocha can leave in Imo state. Construction of roads, paying of salaries, building phantom hotels and projects are things most governors do and are expected to do. Some state governors have even done better in these areas. Our ex-governor Ikedi Ohakim built many phantom projects; he created a phantom Wonderlake and dredged a phantom
stream sorry river. To excel and leave a lasting legacy in Imo State and Nigeria in general, Governor Okorocha must not only be seen parading himself as the messiah but must correctly implement well thought-out programmes like commercialisation.
Commercialisation is not all about revenue generation, it is firstly about costing. Let’s take the ministry of justice for example: How much does it cost to prosecute a case of stealing; how much does it cost to bring a defendant from prison to court? How much does it cost defend a chieftaincy case or a land matter? I bet you the Attorney General of Imo State does not know and the Governor does not also know. How do the commissioners quantify salaries paid? How many billable hours does a worker put into work a month? How much does it cost the ministry to attend court hearing a day?
Commercialisation entails paying workers for actual work done. Using economies of scale to get the cheapest and most efficient workforce. The Government is the biggest buyer of services; be it legal services from the Ministry of Justice or utility repair services from the Ministry of Utilities. As the biggest buyer, the Government can drive down the cost of the provision of these services from these Ministries. This is what commercialisation is all about. The Executive Government as the biggest buyer of services pays for services provided to it by the various department, parastatal and ministries at breakeven prices. The Ministries must therefore earn their budget.
This brings us back to the popular believe that commercialisation is all about revenue generation by government bodies. This is partially true in that the Government bodies generate revenue from both the Government and private citizens. The service providers generate its revenue by billing for all its services.
The Ministry of Land will pay the Ministry of Justice for legal services offered to it while the Ministry of Justice will pay the Ministry of Land for use of its land if applicable. Budgets are prepared bearing this in mind. No arbitrary submission of budget. Salaries are paid for work actually done. Commissioners will only pay its department based on their billable output. The resultant effect of this is that even the office cleaner must have a billable output greater than his salary to justify remaining in his current employment.