Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State has once again shown that he is not only bereft of ideas on how to be a leader, he also has a poverty of intelligence.
In the last few days, the Governor of Imo State,Owelle Rochas Okorochahas been in the news for the very wrong reason of using an estimated N520 million to erect a statue in honour of visiting South African President,Mr. Jacob Zumain Owerri, the state capital.
Apart from the statue which has pitted Nigerians against the Governor, Okorocha also named a street after Zuma and mandated the the Eze Imo,His Royal Highness Samuel Ohiri,to confer the South African leader with the title of Ochiagha di oha mma of Igbo Land [The head of Imo Warriors] , the highest such honour in Imo State.
While Governor Okorocha was dolling out the money on this frivolous gesture to the visiting President Zuma who is facing serious corruption and rape charges in his country, many Nigerians living in South African by their police and citizens in Xenophobic attacks.
While Okorocha was wasting the people’s money on a venture that has no commercial and economic use to his people, the roads in Imo State are in an appalling state.
Sewage has taken over the roads, giving out a stench only perceived in a badly kept cemetery while many civil servants have lost their jobs with the regular excuses that there is no money to pay them yet Okorocha somehow, managed to find the money to go on this senseless venture.
While Okorocha was indulging a man seen as the bastion of corruption by his people in South Africa, civil servants are owed several months of unpaid salaries while pensioners are dying by the day because they cannot get their stipends.
One is tempted to see Okorocha’s behaviour as a clear case of poverty of emotional intelligence or how can one describe a situation where such humongous amount would be used to erect the statue of a man who has brought nothing to the state.
In the last five years, thousands of Nigerians living in South Africa have been victims of Xenophobia attacks said to be sponsored by the state while many Nigerian businesses have been lost due to the suspicion that Nigerians are the ones smuggling drugs into their country as well as taking their jobs and women.
Zuma has done practically nothing to protect Nigerians and stem the tide of the attacks and yet this is a man a Governor would use state funds to erect his statue.
Right on the streets of Owerri, one can see stark poverty looming large in the faces of residents while their Governor goes about wasting their scarce resources and the APC led Federal Government has done nothing to bring him to order.
A public affairs commentator,Erasmus Ikhide, captured the feelings of Nigerians on the Okorocha debacle in the following words:
“It is embarrassing that a state government controlled by the All Progressives Congress which is fighting corruption could play host to Zuma, allegedly a corrupt leader in the current assembly of heads of state in the African Union and portray him as a hero before a group of African youth.
Is Governor Okorocha not aware that Zuma has been found guilty of corruption by the courts in South Africa and has been ordered to refund the $500,000 stolen from the public treasury to expand his private house to accommodate his many wives?
Is Okorocha not aware that Zuma has also been indicted for allowing an Indian family to influence the appointment of his cabinet members?
In asking President Zuma to address officials of Imo State government, is Governor Okorocha not aware that the people of South Africa are currently demanding the resignation of a leader who has brought shame and dishonor to the country of Nelson Mandela?”
However, one is not totally surprised because Governor Rochas Okorocha has always been the eccentric one and has in the past, done things that not only embarrass but bewilder Nigerians.
During his first term, Governor declared a two-week Christmas holiday in Imo while in 2016, he shocked Nigerians when he declared a three-week public holiday for a state that needs all the productive hours it can manage, like the rest of the country.
In December of 2015, Governor Okorocha erected a Christmas tree in Owerri which cost some N600 million, at a time civil servants hadn’t been paid backlog in salaries and emoluments. It was later revealed that his younger sister was the person in charge of the Christmas tree.
And this was at a time when civil servants cried out over their inability to buy things for the Christmas as their salaries had not been paid for many months.
Also in 2015, the enigmatic Governor Okorocha did the unthinkable when he created a billboard running into millions of Naira to post a picture of himself shaking the hands of the then American President,Barack Obamawhen he accompaniedPresident Muhammadu Buharito the USA, alongside other political leaders.
This same Governor shocked Nigerians that his wife is in charge of five ministries in the state while he has single-handedly combined the functions of the legislature with that of executive since 2015.
Governor Okorocha has shown yet again that he is not only bereft of ideas on how to be a leader but a power-hungry and attention seeking man who has no business in the corridors of power.
Okorocha has not only disappointed the people of Imo State but has also brought shame to Nigeria and Nigerians with his ostentatious display of crass insensibility in the face of the abject poverty ravaging the people.
We wait to see what the APC government which prides itself fighting corruption and bringing change to the people will do in this savage display.