The Clown-in-Charge at the Douglas House – By Prof.Edward Oparaoji

In August 2011, while assessing Gov. Rochas Okorocha administration’s first 100 days in office, I wrote a widely published article titled “Rescue Mission for Rochas” in which I stated that “The euphoria that greeted the expulsion of Ikedi Ohakim from and the election of Rochas Okorocha to the Douglas House Owerri, Imo State, on May 29, 2011, has quickly fizzled out. Replaced with bewilderment, astonishment and disbelief, as Imolites watch Rochas self-destruct.

I was unable to find any record of any leader that has sunk so precipitously in popularity, in so short a time – Not even by the standards of the dictatorships he appears to mimic!” Most defenders of Gov. Okorocha cried foul saying it was too soon to judge him, even with the very early obvious blinding clueless neon-signs showing him headed in the wrong direction. Some of my observations then included, his wrong decisions to rescind those 10,000 jobs created by his predecessor intended to refresh the State’s aging civil service with young graduates; firing of those “elected” local government chairmen; brazen interference with management of educational, town unions and traditional rulers’ institutions; creation of unconstitutional administrative structures and appointing his minions “otimkpus” (Praise Singers) as advisers for everything that exists; and the daily drumbeat and unending campaign against his predecessor Gov. Ikedi Ohakim’s legacy, at a time critical for him to firmly establish a governing doctrine. I, also, described his performance then as “visible with little substance”.

Fast forward to today, has anything changed? Yes. They have not only gotten worse, but we now also know he is sadly a clown! A clueless clown! How else would you characterize a governor who governs by weekly paid advertorial on AIT television, of totally irrelevant and obscenely wasteful events, such as birthday, daughter’s wedding, social events that add no value to the quality of life of Imolites?  How else would you characterize a governor whose idea of development is the nonstrategic proliferation of hotels and brothels, pronouncement of policy initiatives without follow up, such as his hollow free education, haphazard  construction of roads, hospitals, and schools?

 How else would you characterize a governor who fraudulently recruited contractors without mobilization and payment, in violation of the Procurement Act thus financially incapacitating the contractors, and the commuters who find plying the roads now worse than ever? How else would you characterize a governor of Imo State who secretly concessioned out public hospitals in Imo State to a Kaduna based company (Lantech Solutions Ltd., reportedly run by a friend of his Dr. Ibrahim)? How else would you characterize a governor who is lawless, who despite several court verdicts directing him to allow “elected” (although flawed) local government council chairmen to run the affairs of the councils, Gov. Okorocha refused to cooperate, he continued cornering and appropriating their resources thus crippling activities of the 27 LGAs?

How else would you characterize a governor of Imo State who thinks it is a great idea to introduce a non Igbo culture of doling out free money, not earned, such as the doling out of free One Hundred Naira (N100.00) monthly to primary school pupils rather than make them earn it through various forms of competition, creative projects or other productive endeavors? How else would you characterize a governor who within one year, has changed the Vice-Chancellor of Imo State University three times, thereby impeding scholarship, academic freedom and discipline? How else would you characterize a governor whose news worthiness are when he is fraudulently grabbing lands, selfishly relocating commercial and public facilities and creating confusion at local levels with his ill-advised so called 4th tier of government?

How else would you characterize a governor who comingles affairs of his questionable Rochas Foundation with Imo State Affairs? How else would you characterize a governor who unilaterally declared a 2 week paid Christmas holidays for civil servants with the consequential impact on productivity? How else would you characterize a governor whose glaring accomplishments, halfway through his first term, are lack of governing vision, chaos, planlessness, bogus projects and converting the State into Rochas Inc.?

Finally, how else would you characterize a governor who recently made a circus show out of a legitimate effort to probe his predecessor, by prejudicing his investigation by politically declaring his target guilty before constituting the panel of inquiry? Well you know my generous opinion already- a Clown is in charge at the Douglas House, but no one seems to be laughing.


God help us!

Prof. Edward Oparaoji



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