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ROCHAS OKOROCHA'S COMFORT ZONE! BY SOC OKENWAOwelle Rochas Okorocha, the executive Governor of Imo State, is one bloody big man of big dreams! He once dreamt risibly of
becoming the President of Nigeria but that tall dream died a natural death much like that of the former Abia State Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu. He once dreamt of becoming a world-renowned philanthropist a la Bill Gates but he did not go far with that because he possessed not the resources required to power through with his dream. He dreamt of governing Imo State and since six years or thereabout he has been 'ruling' the state like an absolute monarch. Today, he still dreams big -- realising some and abandoning others. As a dreamer not all dreams are realisable. And sometimes we allow our sentiments to becloud our sense of what is possible and what exists in the realm of impossibility. 
As Governor the handsome mercurial over-fed man from Orlu has become an "abomination" in Owerri. Among the 36 Governors in Nigeria Owelle Okorocha seems to be the most controversial yet less performing. But Okorocha can, at least, compete successfully in one area with some of his peers: Guber braggadocio. In Ado Ekiti Governor Ayodele Fayose had established the "stomach infrastructure" scheme with which he was wooing the youths and attracting their support. In Port Harcourt, Governor Nyesom Wike has graduated as a studious student of political thuggery and electoral brigandage and now he has become an executive godfather of political thugs and electoral bandits! And in Lokoja Governor Yahaya Bello is always entangled in the web of intrigues and recriminations over Senator Dino Melaye but that did not prevent him from commissioning recently a posh mansion for himself in town worth millions of Dollars!

Rochas has done nothing 'great' worth talking about. Rather, what we have been reading and hearing about him are scandals, obscenity, nepotism and cronyism. If leadership is all about bamboozling the led and fooling them or replicating the clownish tendencies of Mr Ibu or Zebrudaya then Rochas would have come up tops among his peers! Alas it is a serious business involving great ideas and concrete achievements.
Okorocha is a very happy big man indeed! And now the happiness he enjoys knows no bounds. It would seem that he has achieved his paradise here on earth so whosoever is telling him about paradise hereafter is wasting his time. The Governor is 'preaching' happiness to Imolites as if he loves them exceptionally whereas his government is owing senior citizens of the state their pensions and workers their salaries for months running! If this does not amount to hypocritical executive lunacy then one wonders what else would. Okorocha may not be a psychopath but he may still need some medical help as what he is 'achieving' lately in Imo state has surpassed what even a megalomaniac could lay any claim to in any sane clime. But ours is an insane clime where anything goes!
Governor Okorocha loves Christmas like a pampered spoilt child. (And that unique annual season of goodwill is upon us once again!) That was why during the Yuletide of last year he 'dutifully' built a monumental Xmas tree, the tallest and costliest in the world worth millions of Dollars! He celebrated his 55th birthday with pomp as if everyone in Imo State no longer complained of hardship. He invited the randy South African President to Imo State and built a statue for him, conferred a chieftaincy title on him and named a street after him. He equally invited over the out-going Liberian President, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, and commisioned her own statue too in Owerri. The Imo State capital city has suddenly become the capital of statues in Nigeria!

Recently, online reports had it that the Imo Governor had created a novel Ministry of Happiness & Purpose Fulfilment and appointed his blood sister, Mrs. Ogechi Ololo, as the supervising Commissioner of same. In the state, there are about 28 Commissioners, some doing practically nothing and others duplicating the efforts of others. The Governor is known for his generosity in the distribution of posts to his favoured boys and girls -- including the Nollywood 'crying' actress, Nkiru Sylvanus!
Okorocha is said to be working very hard for the emergence of his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, as his successor. Incidentally, Nwosu is the current Chief of Staff to the Governor! On this imposition for the 2019 guber poll in the state the Governor has clashed with a lot of political interests in the state but he is adamant on his plans. Okorocha is smart enough to know that trouble awaits him after his exit if a 'godson' is not made to take over from him. But we have seen this kind of godfatherly role before and how it turned out at last for the godfathers.
Hardly had the national controversy that trailed the recent state visit of the randy South African embattled President, Jacob Zuma, died down than Okorocha drew yet another round of controversy to himself and his government with the new Ministry that brought to the fore his penchant for mundane nonsense. Perhaps in Okorocha's silly world nonsense comes before sense as it were. As an APC Governor, he must be feeling like a local analphabetic king living above the law in his infantile mind. But there ought to be a limit to gubernatorial hubris, nay, bravado.
The fiery Catholic Priest, Rev. Ejike Mbaka, recently fired a salvo towards Okorocha from his Enugu base. Mbaka declared that 99% of Governors in Nigeria are thieves and rogues! He hinted that he never knew which kingdom Rochas emanated from describing him as not a blessing to Imolites. More shockingly, however, the Adoration Ministry man of God denounced a situation where the Imo Governor had issued a bounced cheque of N50 million to Assumpta Catholic Cathedral, Owerri!
Pray, how could a state Chief Executive have given a dud cheque to a Church? Does it mean that he has no respect for God or His servants? By the way, what is the Governor's true faith? Is he a Christian, Muslim, Bhudist or "Christislam"? (That is, a confused belief, due to geography of one's birth, region or paternity, in both Jesus Christ and Prophet Mohammed). Okorocha can afford to go to Mecca with the Alhajis and Alhajas and go for pilgrimage in the Vatican or Jerusalem with the faithful. Yes, he can worship in the Church and pray in the Mosque, no problems!

Before Fr. Mbaka's declaration, some prominent Imo state citizens had risen in unison to condemn Okorocha for his latest 'invention'. For Chief Emeka Ihedioha, the former Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives: “Honestly, I am completely tired of talking about this man and his style of administration. You can be sure that before we finish talking about the creation of Ministry of Happiness, he will come with a more bizarre thing”. And for Chief Ikedi Ohakim, the immediate past Governor of Imo State: “This is a sort of abomination. How can this man continue to insult the sensibilities of Imo citizens? Whose happiness are they looking for when salaries and pensions are not paid? Are we looking for the happiness of the Okorocha family and friends?”
And for the ex-President of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN) and convener of the #Resume- Or-Resign Protest Charles Oputa (better known as Charly Boy): “I am heartbroken at the nonsense going on in Imo State; I am depressed by the monumental rape of our heritage. I am frustrated by the ignominy one man is bringing to the Ibos at this time....How can one man, Rochas Okorocha, an adigboroja(rickety bus without break) hold Imolites to ransom by proliferating weapons of poverty in our land? With impunity, he is destroying many lives and diverted large sums of public funds. The future of Imo State is bleak and one man is busy creating Ministry of Happiness and Couples Fulfillment in Imo State where the dead are better than the living.”
Owelle Rochas Okorochas has effortlessly turned Imo State into his comfort zone; a place where anything bizarre can happen with little mortals crying only foul and doing nothing. But the blissful 'party' would come to an end in 2019. Now is the time for the electorate in Imo State to prepare themselves for a real change, one quite unlike what the ruling APC party at the federal and state levels were promising more and delivering less. 
SOC Okenwa


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