Kelechi Eme is a Political Analyst and Engineer by training. For many months, Mr.Eme and I have shared political views as it relates to the governance in Imo State. I refer to him as one of the brilliant minds of the South East. In this write up, he throws his weight behind Governor Rochas Okorocha as the Igbo nation prepares to present a candidate in the 2015 Presidential elections.
In the midst of hunger, elastic corruption, security challenges, poor infrastructure, comatose social services, poor education, ill equipped hospitals, lack of electricity and unacceptable insecurity, the people of Nigeria need a patriot, a unifier, a man with proven record of achievement in public governance and private benevolence to step out and rescue the citizens of Nigeria. The teeming masses are desirous of a detribalized and unbigoted leader to shepherd them to the aliment center where the elusive dividend of democracy is cooked and thoroughly enjoyed. This is a center where kings, princes and ordinary Nigerians are assured of a sense of belonging and equal share of the democratic gravy. What is required is a leader with the nationalism of Macauly and Azikiwe, philanthropic, religious,ethnic and humanitarian disposition of MKO Abiola, social services orientation of Awolowo, astuteness of Ahmadu Bello, charisma of Ikemba Ojukwu and the stern and commitment to duty of Buhari. Most importantly, we need a leader without a godfather.
That leader is OWELLE ROCHAS ANAYO OKOROCHA (RAO). The executive governor of Imo state has demonstrated first class appreciation of our problems as a nation and implemented laudable programmes aimed at ameliorating the burdens on citizens within his political jurisdiction. Prior to the commencement of his political sojourn, he committed himself to the human resource development of Nigerians, especially the indigent members of the society. His ROCHAS FOUNDATION located at Ibadan, Kano, Jos, Owerri among others has educated tens of thousands of Nigerians free of charge. This private sponsorship of free education all over the country devoid of tribe and creed undertaken by RAO is unprecedented in the history of Nigeria.
Part of the bane of our democratic development has been the imposition of unprepared leaders on our fatherland. At independence in 1960, Azikiwe, Awolowo and Bello were more prepared for leadership. Balewa was foisted on a young nation due to the unwillingness of Bello to take charge at the federal level. President Shagari only had senatorial ambition in 1979, yet he was catapulted to the presidency while prepared and ready candidates like Maitama Sule, Adamu Ciroma and Olusola Saraki were shunted aside. The same scenario played out in 1999 when Ekwueme was shoved aside for Obasanjo. The combination of Presidents Umaru Yar’Adua and Ebelemi Goodluck Jonathan completed the list of unprepared leaders. Rochas who came second in 2007 PDP primaries was ready because he ran on his own steam. Recall that he also was part of the ANPP presidential primaries in 2003.
I dare say without fear of contradiction that no Nigerian leader at the federal or state government level has matched the glittering achievements of Rochas within his first year in office. This man promised free education for basic and secondary school pupils during his governorship campaign. He has not only delivered on the free education commitment but extended it to university and other forms of tertiary education in the state. In a country where leaders are crying day and night about lack of resources, this is not an achievement any one can belittle. Considering the fact that Imo state has recorded the highest number of university intakes in the past three years, the governor deserves an Oscar for his boldness in executing this agenda.
I challenge anybody to mention a Nigeria leader that delivered over 1,500km of roads in less than one year in office. It is awesome to behold the construction of these roads simultaneously. He did not abandon the construction of the circular road started by the Ohakim’s administration which is a huge plus to him and a testimony of the lack of recklessness in his approach to public administration. The new Owerri section of the capital city is witnessing unprecedented expansion through construction of dual carriage urban roads.
His promise to turn Orlu and Okigwe townships into urban cities is on course. Massive road infrastructures are being constructed to achieve this objective. His vision for a decongested Owerri started with the expansion of the capital city to neighbouring local government areas like Mbaitoli, Ikeduru and Ngor Okpala. With the massive road constructions going on in these areas, the Owerri municipality will be decongested. This will reduce the cost of renting accommodation facilities in Owerri.
The brazen speed he constructed the Heroes Square arena and the Ikemba Ojukwu Center is a further testimony to his appetite for prompt delivery of dividends of democracy. The square is a modern durbar ground that could be used for a whole lot of events. Presently, the construction of an amusement park is taking place within the premises of Ikemba Ojukwu Center.
One area he chucked exemplary success is in the area of agriculture and food production. Apart from turning around ADAPALM from a government funded institution to a revenue generator, he has mandated every local government area in the state to plant 20,000 palm trees during the 2012 fiscal year. Access roads to major food crop belts have been adequately constructed to ensure that the haulage of agricultural produce becomes less cumbersome. Anybody in doubt is free to carry-out a market survey of the food basket and make appropriate comparison with prevailing conditions in other neighbouring climes. Investors are trooping in on daily basis to build cottage industries in the agricultural sector.
He has almost liquidated the outstanding debt owed pensioners in the state. Prior to his swearing in, the government of Imo state owed pensioners over twelve (12) years arrears. He eliminated the fraud prone pension administration through physical summoning of pensioners and conducted a head count. He further scheduled their payment in batches and that has been a remarkable success. His large heart and service orientation to the people was first brought to light when he slashed the Imo state security votes from N6.5billion to N2.5billion. It takes a corruption free governor to slash security votes which he is not accountable to anybody going by the Nigerian governance context.
I laugh each time I read that Rochas appointed numerous aides to assist him in governing the state. What these folks failed to tell Nigerians is that Imo state has one of the lowest overhead on political appointees. In fact the governor has made government appointment unattractive that even commissionership is no longer juicy.These are not hidden facts by the way.
It is unimaginable for anybody to criticize a governor because he disguised himself on a visit to Federal Medical Center (FMC) to ascertain what ordinary Imolites go through on daily basis. It is strange that people who indulge in such criticisms are journalistically blind to the corruption going on in so many states and other levels of government. They in fact dine and praise them as messiahs while the people they are supposed to lead are suffering. I really wonder how an over enthusiasm to serve and execution of numerous developmental projects at the same time could be categorized as politically incorrect. As a friend of mine aptly pointed out, “you can only finish a commenced project but will never finish a non-commenced project.”
Rochas Anayo Okorocha (RAO) has shown that redeeming Nigeria is possible. He will unite Nigerians, ensure security of lives and properties, exorcise religious bigotry from our governance structures and above all ensure a sense of belonging to all and sundry.
JOIN ME IN ENDORSING THIS WONDERFUL NIGERIAN FOR THE PRESIDENCY OF NIGERIA IN 2015. WE CANNOT CONTINUOUSLY WEEP WHEN WE HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE A CHANGE. The power of our thumbs will do the magic in 2015 and party affiliation is extremely irrelevant in this matter. The song should be LET US RESCUE NIGERIA. Nigeria can indeed work again.