WE have heard that the Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha has named new commissioners, and therefore the state Executive Council, Exco, is on the verge of returning fully as known to law.
This set should be a thinking and doing group which the governor allows space to bring forward and contribute new ideas that help the government take a systematic and holistic approach.
Obvious challenges confronting the ImoState government now include identifying her current project exposure, aligning that to available resources, embarking on strategic planning and realistically implementing, with a critical target delivery date of June 2014.
The government must change style otherwise election 2015 will be a shocker. The government is fast losing the middle class in ImoState. The class is lost slowly, but also slow to gain. Who are government contractors? Zonal and other discrimination charges are simmering.
Flagship education, roads, infrastructure, and other projects have become some of the areas considered areas of weaknesses. Planning is no longer optional as tikitaka style has to change. Spanish tikitaka approach to football requires effective strikers, something obviously lacking in team Rochas. There is neither Ronaldo nor Messi in the team.
Strong in the mid-field where captain/trainer/coach/technical adviser Rochas plays, very few goals have been scored compared to high percentage ball possession. Higher ball possession does not win matches.
Two German teams in UEFA championship final both emerged by beating Spanish flagship teams, and Brazil beating Spain in the Confederation cup shows that tikitaka is vulnerable with planning, and comparable fans-cheering skills.
The Rochas government has had the rare luck of a clueless opposition, especially the PDP. The Governor has had a rare total control of the Imo polity, deciding what, how, and when to do what he chooses. That luck increasingly needs rigorous thinking, planning, and work, as the PDP congress next year will bring change to the political environment in ImoState.
Even ahead of that, the Anambra election of November 16, which has been cast locally as a Rochas project, may be wrong strategy, as the indicators are pointing elsewhere, most probably in the direction of APGA, and may alter the political temperament in ImoState. These are related political challenges.
Among the Imo middle class in which government is losing support fastest are worries of poverty, and declining wellbeing. They raise questions about how Imo money is spent, who gets contracts for school buildings, uniforms, etc.
Shouldn’t these be people in Imo, they ask. People associate this to electing persons not resident in Imo, and are saying we have to elect Imo residents next time. Is the tertiary level scholarship only for one year? they also ask. Also 27 new hospitals suffer poor funding, even when not needed in the first instance.
Road projects show evidence of over-trading, with many contractors disillusioned. Wastes in earthworks, bitumen, MC1, etc., are mentioned, with worsened conditions of many roads abandoned at various stages.
The completed ones are failing. Location of the roads and school buildings are subject to sundry anti-government interpretations. Government seem not conscious of the voting trend in a highly competitive election as in 2011 and most likely in 2015.
The silence of critical opinion leaders in Imo State, including the clergy, academia, journalists, et al., should no longer be taken for granted as this attitude was informed by a ‘let’s give him a chance’ resolve, especially against the background of the particularly difficult preceding four years.
This concession to Rochas was informed by a belief of his good intention. But good intention is not enough. Every political office holder running for re-election, as Rochas will in 2015 despite what he says about seeking the Presidency, will be assessed by his performance.
Election 2015 in ImoState will be based on Rochas performance. Rochas cabinet must therefore help him. No one knows it all.
Positive about the new cabinet is wisdom in reappointing some of those perceived to have suffered for the Governor. If that was not done would have convinced his appointees that he is not worth sticking out your neck for. Bravo. The people Rochas has chosen to work with him, especially those who were not unemployed, therefore owe him the duty of sincerity and boldness, and tell him the truth.
They should listen to Imo people and work for Imo people, and not wring their fingers in helplessness, and resignation that he seems to know everything, and wouldn’t listen to them, and not let Exco meetings degenerate to instruction classes with a teacher who brooks no questions, or a Maradona and ten nameless others. This was the case with the gang of 2007 to 2011.
We know where that left them and ImoState. This set needs to learn from the Mbakwe Exco, peopled by informed and confident persons, most of whom were capable of being Governor. Anyone of the present set on request can have a free copy of my book The Glorious Mbakwe Era. Ta bu gbuo.
Prof. CHINEDUM NWAJIUBA, a commentator on national issues, wrote from Owerri, Imo State