By Ugoji Egbujo
The Akachi tower may have been a useless monument. But it was a government’s white elephant. It was built with public funds. It could have been a poor imagination of what could attract tourists and excite residents. But those who did not like it should have simply built a better one. After all , Imo still has a lot of unkempt virgin lands.
A state governor has a constitutional duty to protect government property. Akachi tower was destroyed the very day the new Imo governor resumed. The timing was criminal. Any such wanton destruction of government property will shock people. That shock was met by a carefully crafted story that the land on which the tower sat had been ceded to a private individual by a court judgment.
The learned and the lay wondered how a state enabled by the land use act could lose a piece of land it had put to public use to any individual. And lose it without being given an option to compensate. Before they could suffer from indigestion, the state government released a statement.
That statement was written in a hurry. It lacked direction. And left the discerning even more worried. The statement denied the governor’s knowledge of and involvement in the destruction of the monument. Then the statement blamed the destruction on the unpopularity of the previous governor. Then it justified the destruction by saying it was done by a mammoth crowd that didn’t want to have anything that would remind them of the former governor standing anywhere. It ended by mischievously reminding the citizenry to be law abiding
That statement didn’t bother to explain how a newly elected governor watched 10-15 thugs and their bulldozer bring down a government monument in the presence of policemen, on his first day at work. It is easy to give flimsy excuses. But it’s difficult to conceal thoughtless pettiness. If Akachi tower was unsightly, the new governor should have built his and shown us how to do beautiful monuments. But if the governor believed it was evil, then Imo people may have contend with further disruptive superstitions and paranoid delusions coming from their government house.
The new governor’s seeming preoccupation with pettiness didn’t stop on the first day.
On the second day he strolled into the government house with his entourage. They sniffed at the governor’s lodge. Then they circulated pictures of places they found “inhabitable.” They deemed the governor’s lodge too shabby. We were shown some bad roads within the government house complex. The pictures evidently were supposed to excite our sympathy or make us angry.
Let some one speak to the new governor. There are many schools that are in worse conditions than the governor’s lodge. Let him bottle his indignation. We all saw him in the gleaming exco chamber. Pictures don’t lie. Many of us have been to that governor’s lodge. And we wouldn’t mind living there, as it is. It’s not the temple of a secret society. We know it’s in fairly good shape, generally. There is a mountain of outstanding pensions. There are many roads used by millions that require urgent attention in the state. Let the governor spare us further irritation. He was elected to serve us and not to lord himself over us.
What petulance! Some one should speak to Gov Ihedioha. Let him try and fool us a little, for a little while. And give us some chewing gum and biscuits to occupy ourselves with before asking us to roll-over. Yes, he has to do some wooing first.
Let some one speak to the governor. It’s just too soon. Let him not grate our sensibilities. Let him start by fixing one or two schools and one or two roads before telling us he wants to rebuild any governor’s lodge. If the governor has no where to stay, let him go to the Imo state presidential lodge commissioned by Vice President Osinbajo a few days ago.
I know the governor will discover and exhume skeletons. Rochas worked in the dark. But the governor should not allow lust for vengeance and aimless demagoguery deny him sobriety. The state will benefit from the accountability that a probe of the Rochas government will establish. Let Ihedioha probe Okorocha. That’s accountability. That would mean that the current governor and his men will be available for probe after their tenure. But the governor should give credit to the Rochas Okorocha and his government whenever it meets a worthy deed left by them. That’s the only way to bestow credibility on an exercise that can easily be labeled a witch hunt.
I know it’s early days. But Igbos say, that the flavour of faeces can be foretold from the scent of the fart heralding it. Gov Ihedioha could have started better. He is frittering away public support. I hope he understands the enormity of the task ahead of him.