The attention of the Media Directorate of the Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano has been drawn to the gratuitous diatribe by a fellow South Eastern Governor, Rochas Okorocha of Imo State against his person and the government of Anambra State.
It is not in our tradition to respond to such issues but since silence in the face of such grave claims often amount to guilt, we are therefore duty bound to make our position known to properly guide the public.
Okorocha mischievously titled his attack against Chief Obiano “Governor Willie Obiano’s Unwarranted Media Attack On Governor Rochas Okorocha Over His Innocent Claim That 3 Governors In The South-East Would Soon Join APC” and claimed that it was a fallout of a harmless statement he made at the APC Stakeholders Meeting In Owerri that three governors in the South-East would soon join APC.
In the statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary Sam Onwuemeodo, Governor Rochas made a lot of spurious claims against the Person of Chief Obiano, his Office and the Govnment of Anambra State.
He referred to Chief Obiano as a ‘‘clueless governor,’’ one therefore wonders what cluelessness means if Governor Obiano who has dazzled all Nigerians with his superlative style of governance is referred to as clueless.
If a governor that has constructed countless number of roads and bridges, embarked on several rural electrification programmes, constructed uncountable number of schools, and health facilities as well as rid the entire Anambra State of crime and criminalities, is being termed clueless by Okorocha then there must be another meaning for cluelessness.
Okorocha’s claim that there is a general impression that Chief Willie Obiano is “an aggressive governor who should have done better as a militant than as a governor” is laughable and it is clear to Nigerians who really is a “motor park” personality between them.
Obiano has always been known and accorded the respect of a complete gentleman, while Okorocha is widely known for his questionable past which has continued to trail him despite his hogwash attempts to cover it up with a façade of his bogus but empty philanthropic activities. Many people have over time seen through his tricks. What a pity!
Indeed Okorocha “is an example of what a leader should not be”. Who is he to teach the virtues of leadership, ideas and service to Gov Obiano? He talks of ideas when he cannot pay workers salaries and now tries to intimidate Imo retirees to forfeit 60% of their arrears of their sweat. Are those the kind of ideas we need at this critical time? Those are destructive ideas, and a destructive idea cannot bring about constructive ends.
Rochas challenged Obiano to publish his achievements in Anambra state. But the whole world knows of his feat in this regard. From making Anambra to attain a crime-free status, rapid industrialization by rehabilitation of roads and constructing new ones; demolition of a 30-year old mountain of refuse in Okpoko two years ago; putting public facilities in place such as the 47 solar-powered boreholes that now serve 27 communities and increasing Anambra State IGR from the N500m monthly that it inherited to N1.3bn per month, to clearing the arrears of salaries owed the state water corporation staff as well as the approximately N1bn pension that was owed local government retirees inherited by the administration. Obiano has been a superlative performer!
But this cannot be said of Governor Okorocha whose so called popular policies like free education at all levels has been a fluke and at best an over bloated media hype. His other so called programmes have also been discovered to be mere flash in the pan as the people of Imo State have seen through his tricks and treachery as well as other clandestine tendencies.
Okorocha claimed that Obiano has taken Anambra state several kilometers backward, but the records are there to show who has taken his state backward.
When serious Governors like Obiano are talking the likes of Okorocha should keep quiet. This is a Governor who has failed woefully to pay workers salaries. He is also heavily indebted to even pensioners who have spent their youth and strength to labour for the state, in their old age Okorocha's’s government has abandoned them at this most critical time that they need the state. What an abomination!
While claiming a noble antecedent, Governor Okorocha questioned Obiano’s antecedent before he became Governor. What insolence and tomfoolery! The world knows Chief Willie Obiano’s antecedent as an accomplished banker of repute and a great juggernaut in the finance industry.
But the same cannot be said of Okorocha as Nigerians truly know him for the wrong reasons, they know him as a rabble rouser, who claimed to be a politician and flew the tricky kite of contesting for the Presidency just to corner some change into his pockets and the records are there for everyone to see.
As Nigerians ruminate on this matter the question should be asked: What was he before he became governor? What was his visible source of income? May be we should look a little bit at Okorocha’s antecedent. This is a man who managed to wangle his way into the corridors of power through intrigue and deceit.
He was the chairman of the Nigeria Red Cross Society who railroaded gullible politicians and made many individuals and corporate organizations to donate several billions in a bogus scheme.
In other climes, people like Okorocha cannot ascend to the high Office of Governor. This is another indication of a lacuna in our laws that should make room for the scrutiny of the antecedents of individuals who aspire to such sensitive offices. Therefore, that Rochas is a Governor today in Nigeria is indeed an insult on our collective psyche.
This is someone who had no money to contest for governorship and had to run to a billionaire industrialist from Ukpo in Anambra State who graciously assisted him because of his Pan Igbo love for APGA on whose platform Okorocha contested. But soon afterwards Rochas abandoned APGA thereby betraying the Igbo interest, a clear pointer that he can’t be trusted.
On the other hand Obiano was not just a banker but he reached the apogee of his profession and retired as Director of one of the Nation’s leading banks. It was these credentials that the people of Anambra saw that they beckoned on him to serve in a higher capacity and not the so called godfatherism narrative that Okorocha is promoting.
But the same cannot be said of Okorocha whose life has been riddled with all forms of unclear deals. The truth is that those with such virtues in their blood cannot really change.
Okorocha has again shown that he is a very bad leader who should not be looked up to by the Igbos. In his puerile message against governor Obiano he concluded by saying “Finally, in Imo we do not have the record or culture of insulting people, but we do not shy away from undue provocation or undue attacks."
By this statement, he is trying to pitch the entire good people of Imo against the noble Anambra people, a very sad path for a governor who should know the importance of working to unite the entire Igbo nation instead of trying to spark a fire among brothers where it does not exist. He should be man enough to leave both the people of Imo and Anambra out of this issue and face Governor Obiano record for record.
But obviously, the records of Governor Obiano intimidates him and therefore as a weak leader he seeks to drag everyone into a needless war.
Let it be emphasized that Governor Obiano has not only been paying and increasing workers emoluments, he has also introduced credible palliative measures to mitigate the suffering of ndi Anambra from the current economic recession, but for Okorocha, instead of facing the serious task of assisting his people to come out of poverty he specializes in erecting Christmas trees worth over ten million naira during the yuletide. His unguarded utterances have also undermined his position as governor.
What is “analogue” about a Governor who had made it in the banking industry and retired as a Director of fledging bank? Obiano was indeed a career professional and consummate banker whose records both in the private sector cannot be rubbished.
Good enough, Nigerians have descended on Okorocha on the social and traditional media since the insulting statement was published, one of them wrote “What achievements can a governor like Okorocha boast of?” Another one said “Okorocha from day one is an enemy to Igbo Agenda”
And let it be clear that we are not against him as a person but we must differ on the ground of his inability to meet up with the challenges of governance.
Rather than cast aspersion on Governor Obiano, he should borrow a leaf from his success story in good governance and from other performing governors even of APC such as Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos.
Okorocha should key into President Mohammadu Buhari's anti corruption fight and do so sincerely. His governance of Imo State has been a catastrophic and unmitigated disaster and he should therefore be told so.
He should strive to work hard so that the good people of Imo would also love him just as Anambra people are in love with Governor Obiano because of his sincere and people centered style of governance. This is our candid opinion.
Prince Oliver Okpala
Senior Special Assistant to Gov Willie Obiano on Media, Strategic Communication and Legislative Matters