I condemn in absolute terms the dirty politics that Governor Rochas Okorocha played with the 27 LGA’s of Imo State and strongly call for his resignation. The LGA crisis he put Imo State into once again shows his total disregard for the rule of law and clearly corroborate our earlier assertion that the Okorocha’s government in Imo State is nothing short of dictatorship.
It will be recalled that on June 6th 2011, Governor Rochas Okorocha sacked elected Council Chairmen and 10,000 Civil servants of Imo State via radio broadcast. He replaced the elected Chairmen with selected Caretaker Chairmen. The Caretaker Chairmen for more than one year attended the Joint Allocation Sharing Committee meeting of the State and steal our LGA monthly funds with the governor. The dictionary definition of stealing includes taking another person’s property without permission, without legal right and without intending to return it. For more than one year the entire LGA funds of Imo State were looted. The governor helped himself liberally from our LGA purse with his Caretaker Committee Chairmen by exploiting the weaknesses of the Joint Account systems still in use in Nigeria. He knows where every kobo of our LGA is, and has been on looting spree.
The affected officials later went to court to challenge their sack. On August 3, last year, a High Court in Owerri presided by the State Chief Judge, Benjamin Njemanze ruled that Okorocha does not possess the constitutional powers to dissolve the Local Government Council Chairmen before the expiration of their tenure and that the elected Chairmen should resume duties but Rochas got the services of Armed Military men to block the entrances of all the 27 LGA’s in the State. He shut the doors of the various local government secretariats against the Chairmen.Thugs at the instruction of the State government also beat up many of the Council Chairmen. This action is reminiscent of the dark days of military jackboot absolutism.
The Council Chairmen again ran to the Court of Appeal in Owerri presided by Justice Musa Abba Aji. On July 5, Aji ruled in favour of the Chairmen and directed them to go back to work. Still Owelle will not obey court orders .He used Armed Military men to prevent the Chairmen entrance to the Councils. Thugs were drafted by the state government to the Council areas to prevent the Chairmen from re-occupying their offices. I watch them beat up the Council Chairman of Ohaji/Egbema and seized his mobile phone. What a moral collapse in governance in Imo State.
The Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke called on Okorocha to reinstate the sacked local government Chairmen and Councilors, insisting that the judgment of the Court of Appeal must be obeyed. Still Okorocha refused. This is a man who came into power through the rule of law of the land. This is a man the East is looking up to for a possible presidential position. It is, to say the least, an ironic turn of events for a governor who is a lawyer to disobey court orders with impunity. He took an oath to faithfully execute his duties which includes to abide by the Nigerian constitution and to defend it at all time but he has no regards for the Nigerian constitution .The Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Abubakar,had to order the Imo State Police Command to effect the return of the Council Chairmen and Councilors to their duty posts.
On July 18, divisional police officers- accompanied by heavily armed police personnel, led the sacked Council Chairmen and Councilors to their respective local government secretariats, amid jubilation by employees of the various Councils. It was then that Okorocha started calling for negotiations and meetings with the Chairmen. While calling for negotiations he still went ahead to ask the workers of our LGA’s to proceed on a three – day leave and arranged an unscheduled workshop that has no termination date for Director of Administration and General Services, DAGS, Treasures and senior staff of the various councils.
It is sad that despite the struggle of the working and poor masses against dictatorship and for good governance, Owelle Rochas that rode into power via the peoples wish is the one throwing the masses to the gallows. That we are witnessing a clear attack on democratic rights in Imo State, is a sign of bad omen for the poor working masses of the State.
Okorocha is lawless and should resign. Evidence of lawlessness of Okorocha is mounting every day. And the only ones blind to it are his Spin doctors. I still remember when he sponsored an illegal impeachment of Chief Goodluck Nanah Opiah as the Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly with only 10 members of the House of Assembly out of 27 members . This matter is still in court. But his Spin doctors are chanting “Oh, wow, how creative, how wonderful” They encourage his lawlessness .They dance to the tune of naked impunity going on in the State. They applaud it. They laugh. They celebrate it. They love it as one of their own pulls the wool over our eyes.
What we are witnessing today in Imo State is tyranny. This is not acceptable. We reject the corrupt and self-serving capitalist governor. We say NO to this dictatorial Okorocha’s government that is neck-deep in corruption. We say No to the corrupt, anti-poor policies that have made life more miserable for the toiling poor.He has failed to ensure security in the state. Kidnappers, armed robbers and assassins are having a field day in Imo.He has failed on his responsibility as the Chief Security Officer of the state. Security in the State has collapsed.
He destroyed the third tier of government in Imo State and imposed an illegal fourth tier government on the people. Nigeria’s Constitution recognizes local government areas as the third tier of government after the federal and state governments. Their functions are clearly defined. It is abuse of power for him to appoint Caretaker Chairmen for our LGA’s . It is a breach of Imo State local government administration law and a breach of section 7 and 8 of the country’s constitution. It is an impeachable offence. He even posted Civil Servants to LGA’s to serve in the illegal council government.
He sacked 10,000 legally employed workers via radio broadcast. The employment of the 10,000 was approved by the State House of Assembly and the state Civil Service Commission. The recruitment was conducted through due process. Advertisement was placed in national newspapers.There are laid down Civil Service rules to follow in the sack of any Civil Servant.
In Daniel, Chapter 5, we read that the Babylonian King, Belshazzar organized a great feast and commanded that the golden and silver vessels which Nebuchadnezzar, his father had taken out of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem be brought so that his princes, wives and concubines could drink from them. In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand and wrote the inscription: “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin”. When translated it meant God had numbered the kingdom, weighed the King on the balances and found him (the king) wanting. In other words, God had rejected him as King.
Written by: -Kenneth Uwadi
Mmahu-Egbema,Imo State, Nigeria