NEXT month,Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo, will mark his first birth day in life, because life begins at 50. It will perhaps be a good time for him to assess the situation, make sober reflections, seek the face and will of God, to plot the way for the years ahead, knowing that it is only his actions now, that will determine whether he remains relevant or not in the political scheme of things, in Imo, Nigeria, and the whole world, in the future.
The purpose here is to point out to His Excellency, that any wrong step now, will sink this special boat of hope of the many Imolites who firmly believe that he is the opportunity the State has, to launch a solid foundation for a proper take off in agriculture, industrialisation, health, education, security and infrastructure provision for the state.
I am writing because, first, that is my state; second, he is Pentecostal and lives according to the Biblical standards of life, and I am a pastor; third, he is from Orlu my LGA, voted into power by our people’s protest of his predecessor’s style and methods. I will, therefore, speak, and whether he listens or not, remains a different matter.
When democracy was restored in 1999, Owelle Okorocha competed in the primaries to be PDP governorship candidate for Imo State, but lost to Chief Achike Udenwa. He moved to the ANPP, and was an unsuccessful candidate for President on the ANPP platform in 2003.He returned to the PDP, and President Olusegun Obasanjo appointed him as Special Adviser on Inter-Party affairs. In 2005, he formed the Action Alliance with the intention of becoming the party’s presidential candidate for the 2007 election.
But, again, he returned to the PDP, and in September 2007, he showed interest to become the PDP National Chairman. He later, like his predecessor who dumped the PPA for PDP, decamped from the PDP to APGA, ran as APGA candidate for Imo State governorship in April 2011. He subsequently defeated the incumbent, Chief Ikedi Ohakim. It should always be remembered therefore, that an incumbent Governor can always be defeated, especially if he decamped from the party through which he got into the State House.
In two years at the saddle of power in Imo State, Owelle Okorocha, has introduced many new policies and initiated several programmes and projects, most of which are yet to be completed, to effect the full delivery of electoral promises. God, our creator, who elevates one into an office, and brings down another, is a finisher of all He starts. He completes everything, and His work is always marvelous in the eyes of the righteous.
To start a thing without completing it, therefore, is not godly, especially if it is within our powers to do so. Imo has many things yet uncompleted, and Owelle Okorocha cannot afford to leave them now. In the 27 local government areas, there are health centre buildings or hospitals under construction, and from the sizes of these structures, they will offer very big relief to the people if well equipped, staffed, and operated.
These require time, and money to be completed. Building structures and not making them fully functional will leave the state in worse condition because of the attendant waste and such projects subjected to party politics, individual and zonal idiosyncrasies that may cause them to be abandoned.
There are demolitions for expansion of roads in Orlu, Owerri and Okigwe senatorial zones. These roads are at different stages of construction; being a weather-dependent activity, construction of roads take a long time. These demolitions attract and will attract compensation claims, all types of disputes concerning landed property which should be resolved in order to keep government’s integrity and ensure peace.
The completion of these huge road projects cannot possibly be achieved in just four years, they require time and consistently focused actions. To leave them at any stage, or hand them over to another, carries the risk of needless and avoidable chaos for the people of Imo because people change.
Imo is experiencing an experiment in community centered government which people call the fourth tier of governance. This is a novelty that needs to be properly bedded in the State to bring governance closer to the people and operated by the people. As good as the new community government may be, time is required for Imolites to clearly understand this concept.
The free education programme, the first of its kind in our state, needs to be acculturated to stay. If he leaves now, in pursuit of any unsure office at the center, the programme may overwhelm his successors-in-office, and would jeopardize the entire thing.
The agricultural and industrial programmes are at various stages of rooting, and it will be counter-productive to leave these at this stage to gamble for any posts at the centre.
The opposition party, the PDP, and the politically unfriendly friends are not resting, and his failure will be their laughter.
We just want the best for Imo State, and for now, he is the best that we have. If he will listen and consolidate in the next six years, Imo will be better for it, while his chances at the centre will be greatly enhanced. It is no longer like it was in the beginning, when he could move in and out of the PDP.
Now, any wrong move will have dire consequences, especially as there is no properly entrenched platform yet. With the works on ground, embedding principles and concepts, and agape love for our state, Owelle Okorocha, will easily win the 2015 election, no matter the political party he may join, be it APC or APGA.
One important fact is that he must consolidate Imo to be able to move upwards, so that his works will speak for him, and that cannot be achieved in just one term as Governor. We have spoken.
Mr. CLEMENT UDEGBE, a lawyer, wrote from Lagos.