The admiration for Rochas Okorocha during his 2011 election campaign was tremendous. It was filled with promises of hope and progress. The situation at hand now have the people wondering what actually went wrong with Rochas Okorocha.
One of the priceless natural endowments of man are his senses. These make it possible to receive and process environmental data for information gains with enormous beneficial results. Cognitive import of the eyes, nose, ears, tongue, and skin has more often than not been overestimated. This explains the tendency of most people today, even political analysts and observers alike, to regard the senses–in exclusion of rational critical examination–as the arbiter of truth.
Rochas Okorocha’s reputation, hitherto his emergence as Imo State governor, as a philanthropist par excellence preceded him. His oratory, highly publicized videos of feeding and donating to less-privileged persons made him irresistible to Imolites. Choosing him to be governor in 2011 was easy, a decision most Imolites now regret. Okorocha’s underwhelming outing in Douglas House so far warns us to be wary of appearances.
In Nigeria’s democratic era, Rochas Okorocha is arguably one of the few gubernatorial candidates ever to enjoy overwhelming masses support during an election. In the build-up to Imo State’s 2011 governorship elections, his impressive charitable track record oozed a man sensitive to people’s needs and selflessly summons resources to meet them. His signature, Rochas Foundation schools, which gifted destitutes a chance to be educated at no cost in Imo and beyond, turned him to a golden fish with no hiding place when Imolites zealously sought a leader to captain them.
A good number of Okada riders in the state voluntarily contributed N100 each to assist in his election. INEC’s announcement of him as winner of the 2011 gubernatorial election literally turned Owerri metropolis to a party ground where many cheerily celebrated and couldn’t hide their joy. Reality after Okorocha’s seven years and five months in office says Imolites were beguiled by mere theatrics mistaken for what is.
Presently, Governor Okorocha’s reward for Imolites’ unswerving loyalty and magnanimity are substandard infrastructures that wane barely months after construction, a dirty Owerri capital city, owing of salaries and pensions, phony free education scheme, inconsiderate relocation of the Douglas Market, extreme nepotism, disregard of public opinion, infringing autonomy of 27 local governments in Imo State for seven years, embezzlement of public funds, and most recently, a move to install his son-in-law as governor against the people’s wishes.
His infamous, inconsequential erection of a Jacob Zuma statue reportedly worth half a billion naira that stirred a litany of criticisms and depreciated Imo State’s national image, sheds light on the cluelessness of a man that aspires to preside Nigeria. Owelle’s disastrous reign in Imo makes that desire a fantasy.
Rochas Okorocha is a mistake that must not be repeated in any state in 2019 and lesson to look beyond what candidates seem to be.