EMMANUEL MGBEAHURUIKE, writes on the impact of the political tussle between Governor Emeka Ihedioha and his predecessor, Sen Rochas Okorocha on governance in Imo State
The expression that what goes around, comes around, comes to mind as the ex-governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha least expected that most of his last minute appointments and policies would be upturned by the new governor of the state, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha.
Okorocha did same his predecessor, Chief Ikedi Ohakim on assumption of office in 2011.
He upturned the 10,000 jobs given to citizens and dissolved the elected council Chairmen and their Councilors and also pursued all appointees and retrieved their official vehicles.
As if this was not enough, most of the monumental structures put in place by other governors who governed the state in the past were all erased by Okorocha’s regime.
The present scenario is an interesting time in Imo, as this could be likened to pay back time.
Okorocha least expected that a day like this will come, when he will be called to question in respect of some of his appointments and policies put in place by himself. He least expected that someday this will be erased and cancelled completely by the present administration.
Little wonder, the ex-governor fought tooth and nail to install his son in-law, Uche Nwosu as the governor of the state, which was met with strong resistance by Imo political stalwarts and Imo citizens.
Interestingly, Ihedioha seems to be taking his own pound of flesh from Okorocha.
Okorocha who dissolved Ohakim’s policies through a state broadcast and attracted wide condemnation then, as commissioners, special Assistants and all appointees were either forcefully deprived of their official cars or impounded in their various homes.
The action by Okorocha drew much opposition such that the 27 Local Government Chairmen are still in court fighting for their rights through legislation.
The Ihedioha-led administration has cried out to all that the immediate past governor did not handover any document to the present administration.
According to him, the absence of these documents will make it difficult, if not impossible to take off effectively.
As take off point, all the 27 Local Government Chairmen and Councilors have all been placed on indefinite suspension by the State House of Assembly, coupled with the suspension of all appointments made from March 2019 to 29th May, 2019.
This of course has led to altercation, between Okorocha and Ihedioha. According to Okorocha, Ihedioha has no programme for the state. The immediate past Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha failed to effect a formal handover to the new governor, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha it was revealed.
Speaking to newsmen, chairman of the Inauguration Planning and Handover Committee, Barr. Chris Okewulonu said, no official handover had been effected so far.
“We are literally in the dark so to speak, of course the out-gone governor gave us no cooperation whatsoever. Unlike what we have had in the past during previous transitions here in Imo State and as was performed in other states, not one document has been handed over to the new administration.
“Yet he makes fantabulous claims about the amount in the treasury but as at today, no single paper to back up those claims.
“Formal handover, traditionally is performed before the official
inauguration of the incoming administration, therefore I will be right to conclude that this aberration is another deliberate ploy to derail the rebuilding process”.
Okewulonu also said that there was never a meeting between the two principals since after the election, noting that the former governor may have left town.
“What we have in Imo now can only be described as a void. But Governor Ihedioha is undeterred and indeed poised to forging ahead in his mission to rebuild the broken state.”
Speaking Okorocha pointed out that Ihedioha claimed his predecessor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha operated from a bush bar in Government House, which he said was an eyesore and that is the reason he has decided to operate from outside at the moment. He had earlier described the entire Government House as a decayed place.
“From all indications, Chief Ihedioha has no programme for Imo people. He appears stranded since May 29, 2019 when he took over. That is why, he has never made any policy statement or any comment associated with governance. He has been threatening fire and brimstone and trying to incite Imo people against Okorocha but has met brick wall.
“In fact, his constant negative remarks about the brand new Government House Owelle Okorocha handed over to him was just to find a way of squandering the N42.5billion the former governor left behind for him. He has come with the known PDP style of giving flimsy excuses as prelude to wasteful expenditures.
“The Government House Chief Ihedioha is laboring in vain to run down is the same Government House Nigerians of note including front row media practitioners in the Country had visited at one time or the other and made their complimentary remarks. It is the same Government House most Imo people have also been to.
“We want to say again that the Government House Okorocha handed over to Governor Ihedioha was brand new with Ultra-modern structures, unlike the ghetto the PDP administrations for twelve years had operated from.
“Chief Ihedioha should commend Rochas Okorocha for handing over such a befitting Government House to him, instead of resorting to cheap propaganda. Imo people have already lost interest in his administration because of the way he has taken off.
“Chief Ihedioha should also appreciate the fact that he is a civilian governor and not a military administrator. He should minimize his rate of giving ultimatums and issuing threats. He is also fond of saying “I” will do this. “I” will do that. The government is not his private property. He should be advised on certain democratic ethos.
There is also the growing fear that the body language of Ihedioha is giving room for concern to Imo people. The State may go back to the old PDP days when politically related killings, kidnappings and attacks were rampant. It is up to him to allay this fear.
Once again, Okorocha’s achievements have obviously given the new governor sleepless nights but he should bear with the situation with high sense of patriotism and responsibility, instead of embarking on microphone attacks against the man who handed over to him.
Against the backdrop of the staccato administration prevalent in the state for almost eight years, Imo citizens are expecting a paradigm shift.
The outgoing administration is noted for not following due process in administering the state and there were no clear court policy formulation, no focus, no ideology and lack of administrative acumen, almost marred the administration. There were no square pegs in square holes.
The expectations for now are high as the incoming administration of Hon. Emeka Ihedioha is expected to do things differently, having served in the top echelon of the nation’s legislative body.
Imo citizens do not expect anything less than clear cut administrative prowess coupled with diligence in administrating projects that have direct impact on the people and not “white elephant projects.”
According to Chief Fidel Onyeneke, to whom much is given, much is expected. Imo by now is tired of ‘cut and Nail’ administration. The era of what the citizens termed ‘familocracy’ and one man show, should be jettisoned by the incoming administration.
Speaking in this direction, Dr. Harold Onumo, a political pundit, charged the governor elect, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha to remember all his campaign promises, commitments and campaign mantra, which is “My word is my bond”. He also urged him to remember to run an all inclusive government and not government of exclusion.
According to Ihedioha “Ours will be a government that will promote the unity of the state, rather than accentuate the fissures that have characterized our relationship with each other in recent times”.
Dr. Onumo advised the new administration that it should adhere strictly to open, transparent and accountable administration with due process as its hall mark. He encouraged Hon. Ihedioha to display accountability and end the era of brazenness. Dr. Onumo, a Medical Doctor by profession and leader of Okigwe Youths, urged the governor elect not to waste any time in translating his campaign promises into tangible goods and services to the populace.
He called on Hon. Ihedioha to remember his social contract with the people and remain focused in implementing same. Dr Onumo submitted that the contracts which seeks substantially to improve the welfare, security, property rights, economic and social advancement of the citizens should be implemented to the letter. Health care and quality education according to Dr. Onumo must be given a pride of place.
He explained that the decay in the last eight years makes it imperative that the redemptive operation kick starts now. While encouraging the incoming administration to run away from Adhoc approach to governance.
Dr Onumo challenged Hon. Ihedioha to create jobs, build quality infrastructure and revitalize ailing industries in the state.
On security he charged the new governor to reorganize the Imo security network, restructure governance, create enabling environment for private sector driven economy and pay attention to human capital development, while providing quality infrastructure. While admonishing Hon. Ihedioha to do away with the mediocre and employ the services of technocrats to occupy sensitive positions in his administration.
As it stands there is not likely to be an end to the brickbat between Ihedioha and Okorocha over the state of affairs in the state. But analysts are concerned that the expectation of quality governance seems to be taking a back seat over the back and forth between the incumbent governor and his predecessor, which according to them, will not augur well for the state in the long run.
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