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As a citizen of Imo State and as one involved in a job that gives me the opportunity to feel the pulse of the people, I feel obligated and want to express my views and perhaps that of the generality of the people of the state on what has now become the hype in celebrating the performance of the government of Owelle Rochas Okorocha.

As a citizen of Imo State and as one involved in a job that gives me the opportunity to feel the pulse of the people, I feel obligated and want to express my views and perhaps that of the generality of the people of the state on what has now become the hype in celebrating the performance of the government of Owelle Rochas Okorocha.

I think it is very necessary to put the records straight to avoid misleading the gullible ones or some of the praise singers among us. I have heard Okorocha himself boast during the occasion of the swearing in of the Commissioners for Sports and Agriculture, Barr. Dan Iwuorie (now Tertiary Education) and Prof. Edna Njoku sometime in May this year, that 'we have today a brand new Imo'.
Let me abridge some of the excerpts from his comments on that day, ''7years counting as governor, a position very dear to my heart, I have used for the benefit of the poor, agreed there are people who do not like us, a very fair minded person will judge us easily. We have a better and secured Imo State, today we have a city incomparable with any administration. No one has stood to challenge me that no government has done half what the Rescue government has done, must give honour to whom it is due, I mean well for Imo State, have established the foundation for the unborn Imo, no governor will tell us he is building a new school''.
This week in a release made available to media houses the governor in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary indicated that Imo people will miss him, adding that they have more than one thousand verifiable projects to their credit, a claim which according to him they have made at various times and which has gone unchallenged. The statement further noted that what Governor Okorocha has achieved in less than 8 years has exceeded what all those who served before him has done when you put all together.
''And we have equally gone extra-mile to say that anybody who feels that he has a contrary claim to ours should indicate. And  the best way to deal with such claim and counter-claim is for those concerned to itemize their claims, publish them for public consumption, while we also publish ours, for comparative analysis'', the statement went on boldly. The ball is now in the court of Imolites. I have volunteered to take up this challenge if only the government would magnanimously furnish the Imo people certain information courageously the same way they have made this bold challenge.
It would be foolhardy to shower encomiums on a woman for a sweet pot of soup without knowing how prudent she has managed the ingredients or resources made available to her for such dish. In truth while Owelle has become the proverbial lizard that fell from the wall and nodded its head saying if no one will praise me I will praise myself, the people of Imo have not spared him one bit in criticising his administration. They can't wait for it to end. Okorocha himself knows this and confesses his worry as he once did during the occasion of CAN-Christian Association of Nigeria One Day prayer for Imo. He has reeled out justifications why UcheNwosu must succeed him and ended up wondering, 'amaghimihe m mere ndi Imo'' (I don't know how I offended Imo people).
For us to respond to Rochas's assertion it would be nice Imo people is furnished with the costs of these projects, the names of the contractors, the budgetary process, the bidding procedure up to awards or the roles of the tender boards, the incomes (federal allocations) that has accrued to the states from the period of his administration, the debt profile of his government before his administration and now, the states Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) from the beginning of his government till now, the total sum of Paris Club Refund that accrued to the state, the total bailout funds, the accrued income from under payments of workers emoluments, and other sundry incomes.
In the absence of these Okorocha may be regaling us with a sweeping statement deliberately calculated to pull wool over the unsuspecting Imo people. The same manner we can verify the locations of these projects we would also like to verify the above related information linking up the projects. Did the lawyers not teach us that if you must come to equity you must come with clean hands? While we wait for the information it is still necessary to make some comments temporarily on the governments assertion based on what we know or can see. Okorocha and his team are both right and wrong depending on the perspective it is examined.
Performance may have different definitions to different people. There could be woeful, sub-optimal, impressive or excellent performance. First what is the governor's definition of performance and in which areas has he performed. The elements of efficiency and effectiveness are critical here in appraising performance. From what we have seen on ground the governor believes in bricks and mortars as the cornerstone of his administration. While some hold the opinion that he was or is a contractor that is the reason he went focusing on structures while yet many say that is just to deceive Imo people that something is happening when a lot of water has gone under the bridge, whatever that means.
There may be a thousand projects or more as claimed by the governor. We can't take that away from him. The question to ask by all concerned citizens are what are the value additions of these projects to the life of the people. What are the qualities and durability of these projects? Are their costs tolerable and efficiently executed? The answers to these questions are never far-fetched and can be captured from a shouting distance or even as you peep out of the windows. Just one or two examples will suffice. About May or June this year a stubborn windstorm provided some answers to one of this question when it made a mess of one of the signature projects of the Rescue administration at the City School Owerri along Wetheral and close to the Dan Anyiam Stadium.
We thank God that it did not occur during school hours because the casualty figure would have been monumental. Take a walk to the Imo International Convention Centre now and watch the upper part of the structure. How old is that building? The much celebrated road projects remains the funny parts. Under two years or so the major roads of Bank roads starting from Owerri Girls, the Amakohia Orlu Roads, are already experiencing potholes with heavy flooding around the Akwakuma ends of the road. Besides, outside this stretch where are the roads?In the hinterlands some state commissioners say that they are superintending over government projects in their respective local government areas.
The one from my local government including some Rescue Missionaries (whatever they are rescuing) have been receiving serious bashing from the locals including the legislator because abandoned attempts at fixing the road got it worse than it was. This 9km road that connects two local governments has been promised since the inception of this government and was indeed a campaign promise which we got with a toothy smile. We were excited then. I have heard people complain that it is not better in their own areas including the governors LGA. The popular Douglas road, a gate way to other states currently lying prostrate after one year is an eye sore to behold. Only God knows when it will be rehabilitated. As you read this I can see you visualizing what it is like in your own area. Honestly tell us.
In a chat with your sincerely the Imo guber candidate of the Young Progressives Party (YPP)Mr. Linus Okorie when asked to assess the government he wants to take over from had this to say:'The government that we are seeing today in my own words specifically is a government that wants to do too many things at the same time. Again the planning system I can say is not integrated. Consequently, at the end of the day it looks like nothing really major has been done. There is nothing tangible you can point at even though certain roads have been opened up. People have concerns about the quality of those projects. I wish it was much more'.
So if Okorocha is talking about performance in terms of substandard delivery because his roads if any wherever you can find them are dubbed 'China roads', then he is right to claim outperforming all the other governments put together. No government in the past even the military can match this woeful outing. The only good portion on the 9km road referred to earlier was done by Ikedi Ohakim and has remained very solid as it was done since 2011, no scratch. You can check it out from Ama Nwaozuzu to Eke Oha near Ekwerazu at Ogwa where the work stopped.
There is so much hype about free education in Imo. Imo people are also disputing the claim because according to some primary education is freely funded by the federal government. Secondary and tertiary education is limited to a handful of Imo indigenes studying only in Imo schools. Imo indigenes studying outside the state are not inclusive in the arrangement. What is the explanation if it is not a gimmick to win attention? Besides at the end of graduation you are compelled to pay sums running into some hundreds of thousands under the guise of clearance fees or under one label. What is the quality of the so called free education you would ask? We have since the arrival of free education lost our prime place in academic performance to Anambra and Abia?
Why would we not lose our position when teachers are not hired and those hired are not paid? What will be their motivation to impact knowledge? Ask the teachers in our schools or the lecturers at Umuagwo when last they received salaries. Owelle's performance are noisily recorded on bill boards which impacts are not felt by the people and if this is the performance he is talking about no one grudges him that. He has really won a gold medal because Mbakwe never ventured into this praise singing rubbish.
Indeed Okorocha is unrivalled in many respects as shown by his performance in certain areas. Other administration truly can never challenge him, all of them put together. Okorocha is never a due process person. He believes in cut and nail, robbing Peter to pay Paul. Some guys describe him as unrivalled in street smartness. Take a look at our Civil Service and how he has 'developed' them. When he found them so 'useful' he sent them to the farms for two days because he doesn't understand what they are doing. The job of the civil service he appropriated to himself.
Lamenting the destruction of the civil service the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) Chairman Imo State, Austin Chilakpu commented thus ''you look at the activities and concentration of responsibilities at the government house is another challenge we are having today. In those days the when civil service is reckoned as the hub or engine room of bureaucracy that revolves the government, the civil service making the policies that are executed, those people who could do this have now been moved  to the government house. In other words the bureaucracy or engine room you are talking about are at the government house''. Did any of the past government contemplate this?
But again let's ask if Okorocha has done wonders like he claims does he need to struggle to prove the point? Are we not told that a good market sells itself? The mere fact that he is struggling to convince whoever that cares to listen shows that the people are not in tandem with those claims. It is not a matter of detractors or political enemies as politicians would usually chose to lay their errors on the door step of their perceived or imaginary enemies. Today Dee Sam Mbakwe remains a reference point in good administration in this state. His land mark achievements speak for themselves and the people still root for him even in death. ORO cannot even maintain the prestigious Concord hotel built by Mbakwe. Take a walk there and compare notes.
He was a man who saw far? On assumption of office Rochas boasted that he will surpass Mbakwe's record. I though he was going to use his template. Mbakwe was a man who I can say pioneered independent power projects for lack of exaggeration I would limit to the South East with his Amaraku power station. It provided rural electricity up to some coverage areas. But today, speaking at the swearing in ceremonies of the functionaries referred to above, Okorocha claimed that the reason he could not provide the factory, factory factory, Industry, Industry, Industry, is lack of power. At the same time he is telling us that he has outperformed all governments before him and annoying all of them put together.
The IPP project is what Rotimi Amaechi made champion of in his administration in Rivers State and begging the federal government to give him authority to distribute the powers because his IPP was generating more than enough. Having subdued the opposition some through intimidation, some through compromise and yet others through divide and rule while others chose to ignore him to have his way and patiently waiting for time to run pass. This perhaps may have informed his desire to challenge anybody to dispute his purported claim of unassailable performance.
If no Imo man has risen to dispute Okorocha's claim of surpassing all other administration it is possible they chose to remain silent which some say is golden. Others I hear too say that silence is the best answer to what I cannot now remember. Please do complete it if you remember. It is also possible some may chose not to dignify an untruthful statement which is clear to everybody. It is also possible that the critical stakeholders who should express disgust over Owelle's maladministration are not talking because they may have been compromised one way or another. When I complained that Imolites are suffering and smiling and not complaining a professional colleague quipped, how do you think the leadership of NLC, CAN, NUJ-Press, Ndi Eze talk when the governor has built them each a structure. Do you bite the finger that feeds you he fired back? Could that really be the issue?
The reality of that statement only dawned on me when I was interviewing the Chairman of a popular trade Union in the State who the governor regularly owes its members. In an answer to a question about the government he had made some comments which he said is off record but instead tried to persuade me to rub in some praise singing statements about the governor. When I got down to go I discovered that the vehicle he is using was donated by the government. For trying to guide me I deleted that aspect of the chat and it was clear he was not for his members but a government stooge.
On why Imo people are not reacting or talking Okey Ikoro, the Campaign Director General of Araraume Campaign Organization had this to say: ''you know that Imo people are peaceful, educated and believe in the power of the ballot. They will make their statement through the ballot. What you see is graveyard peace. You remember the Otokoto saga. The reaction that came was quite unprecedented in the South East. That is similar to the peace we have now, It is because election is close they feel no need for noise making again preferring to speak through the ballot. They abhor violence and I don't even support any form of violence''
These perhaps must have been misinterpreted by the government to mean acquiescence of its wonderful performance. If the government sincerely want to know if it has actually performed they should probe deep down into what would have precipitated the argument compelling them to make a sing song of their exaggerated achievements. To help them further, the governor should commission an independent organization, perhaps consultants, from outside the state to survey the opinion of Imolites across all strata. But I don't want to believe that the government does not know that it has failed 'my people my people' otherwise it is not in touch with the subjects.
But it is also pertinent to ask why the government would launch itself into this self-praise?Those who seek praises in government are noise makers who don't know what it means to be used to minister to the needs of the people, so declared a spiritual mentor. The people served know those who have performed creditably. If the government is still living in the delusion of its wonderful performance we shall going forward begin to give a sectorial appraisal of its performance for it to see.
The people who sponsored the governor to power have vowed to stop him ruling again through the backdoor, the people who voted him are crying that this is the worst of governance in their life time while the governor is saying that there is no messiah like me. Where then lies the truth. It is not in doubt that things have indeed since fallen apart. If governance is one based on promise and fail, Owelle is right to have breasted the tape before all others. If you want to see a government that has failed its people I think ORO's government will not miss a gold medal.
If it is a government that thrives on impunity and has no respect for the rule of law and yet hypocritically mouthing rule of law, Owelle has won a diamond. We trust they will keep faith to avail us the needed information as requested earlier. Imo people over to you.Overall Rescue Mission government may have outperformed in reverse order. This is what I understand they mean. I stand to be corrected.

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