BY Ogu Bundu Nwadike
While promenading along a street at New Owerri the other day I saw a 20 feet billboard which had the now burdensome faces of Governor Rochas Okorocha and his infamous son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, who he has slated as his successor-in-office in 2019. And with a sharp statement printed on font size of over 72; it urged the reader to, “Let Our Legacies Be Preserved”. As usual I mused over that statement all through that day.
The question to ask about that desperate advertorial is, “What legacies does Rochas want to preserve?” Of course, Gov. Okorocha cannot be a two-term and eighty year governor and not have a legacy. But what are the legacies? By the way, there could be good and bad legacy. If anybody says Rochas has bad legacies, I will agree, but that he has good legacies is an absolute fallacy.
The basic indicators of government by sector include education, health, agriculture, works, power, housing, transport, commerce and industry, local government and chieftaincy affairs, Youths and sports. An audit of the attitude of Gov. Okorocha to each of those sectors will show that he did not have any coordinated programme for any sector. Hence, if there is any talk of Okorocha’s legacy, it begins from asking, “Does Rochas want Uche Nwosu to preserve the legacy of uncoordinated programmes and projects?”
Specifically, education sector, which should have earned the Rochas administration its only legacy was neglected at all levels in critical terms by the governor. In 2011 free education was hyped as a flagship programme of Gov. Okorocha’s. This expectedly earned him tremendous applause. But midway into that tenure, that was by 2013, the free education has turned to a mere jingle like the defunct “ikuola nkwu” jingle. There were all sorts of monies collected from pupils and students at all levels. School children were seen logging their desk and chairs to school as ordered by the same free education schools system. Above all products of the free education schools were half baked. And as we say in education parlance, half education is worse than illiteracy.
Still on the much mouthed free education programme of the rescue mission administration of the Okorocha administration, it was soon discovered that there was a paucity of teachers at all levels in the Imo State schools system. And sadly, most of the teachers that were available lacked appropriate teacher training. It is such that at the tertiary level most academic programmes at the Imo State University (IMSU) and the Imo State University Teaching Hospital (IMSUTH) lost vital accreditation rendering the academic programmes of the institutions inconsequential.
It is such that medical students at IMSUTH have remained medical students since 2011 with graduation time not anywhere in view. IMSU remains a glorified secondary school both in form and content, with cultism reigning supreme in the university and its environs in Owerri.
Looking at the health sector, it is difficult to see what Rochas wants Uche to sustain and preserve. Is it the elephant project called 27 General Hospitals? Is it the neglect of Schools of Nursing? Is it the abandonment of primary health centres across Imo State? Is it shortage or outright lack of medical consultants, resident doctors, nurses, medical, laboratory scientists, radiologists and various other categories of medical personnel required for a proper running of the health sector of Imo State? Much thanks to Federal Medical centre (FMC), Owerri and few private hospitals and clinics that have been of immense help in the management of healthcare needs of Imo people.
In local government and chieftaincy sector, we do not know whether Gov. Okorocha wants Uche to sustain and preserve the inability of Rochas to conduct a local government election since 2011. Probably, the governor wants his son-in-law to preserve the system of confusion where a weird and wild fourth tier of government was unconstitutionally created leading to invocation of such absurdities as Community Government Council (CGC) and State Development Council (SDC). In the chieftaincy affairs sub-sector, Gov. Okorocha instituted a regime of terror and horror upon the traditional institution, turning ndieze Imo into waterleaf of a sort. Does Rochas want Uche Nwosu to preserve and continue all of that?
The entire period of since 2011 when Gov. Okroocha assumed office till now, there has been a cold war raging between the state and the church. Rochas has steadily engaged the church, particularly the Catholic Church in a verbal war, pouring abuse and insults at the person of Archbishop Anthony Obinna of Owerri Archdiocese. There were even incidents of open physical confrontation by agents of the governor against the revered archbishop. Could it mean Rochas wants Uche Nwosu to continue rubbishing Archbishop Obinna and the church? What does the governor mean by “Let’s Preserve Our Legacies”? The things Gov. Okorocha did wrongly are a long litany that I can’t express in this short essay.
Nwadike is a public affairs commentator