There have been a lot of occurrences in the Nigerian political landscape in the recent time. Most of these are so funny that one hardly finds the right adjectives to qualify them. And even though they have been captured under the above headline, it remained a difficult task to provide an appropriate content for the subject until the governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha started releasing in batches what appears to be his political model which is neither capitalism nor socialism.
This Imo State-made leadership style can also be described as a movement. The movement, though has so far sparked off debates in the media is yet to offer a clue on its direction. It is not directed to the North. And cannot be said to be directed to the South, East or West. One of the best possible adjectives to qualify the Okorocha political leadership model and those of many Nigerian politicians, including Buhari is therefore “Zigzagsm”. They lack character and focus.
Rochas was once a presidential aspirant in PDP. He lost his nomination fee and went for the governorship of Imo under the same party. Still he failed until he defected to Ojukwu’s APGA. With the support of the Ikemba’s political structure, he won the Imo State governorship election in 2011. Shortly after his swearing-in, the governor defected again to Timubu’s ACN which had no ideological relationship with APGA except the thirst for power. He later “dissolved” into APC with men like Rotimi Amaechi who governed Rivers State for close to two years without the judiciary – the third arm of government under a democratic government.
In the last two years, Rochas has been so busy with his Rochas Okorocha foundation that one begins to wonder whether the governorship of Imo State is not enough for him or that the organization is one of the ministries in the State.
The people of Imo voted in Rochas for him to reciprocate the gesture by offering them quality leadership. But the man now runs his government far beyond the territories of Imo and Nigeria. Is now as if Imo is a country with himself as the president while Buhari is a governor of a “State” called Nigeria. This may perhaps be the reason why the governor deemed it fit to honour Jacob Zuma of South Africa who is presently facing impeachment charges in his country by building his Statute and mounting it at a strategic “roundabout” in Owerri with the people’s tax. He acted as if he was rewarding South Africa for their gruesome massacre of many Nigerians in that country for no just course. Of course, the statute has since been pulled down by angry Imo youths. The governor did not consider prominent leaders of State extraction like the late Sam Mbakwe who often resorted to weeping in public in order to attract development to the state of Imo as a governor.
Another funny action by Rochas was the recent honour bestowed on the outgoing president of Liberia, Mrs.Searlif Johnson who was bathing to give credibility to the election of her successor in office at the time. The woman was invited to Owerri for the award within the period Nigeria lost one of her finest military officers, General Victor Malu who led the ECOMOG troop in West Africa to restore peace to Liberia in the 90s.Liberia as a country was not even represented at the burial of Malu.
With the final confirmation of George Wear as the elected president of Liberia to take over from Mrs. Johnson, it is hoped that, that country will deem it fit one day to appreciate and honour our soldiers who placed their lives on the line for the sake of peace in Liberia.
Imo State is the first political entity in the world to have a ministry with the sole responsibility of keeping her people happy. When Okorocha created the Imo State ministry of Happiness and couples fulfillment in November 2017, he did not waste time in appointing his biological younger sister as the commissioner in charge of the ministry. This presupposes that Okorocha is from a happy home, for no one can give what he does not have. But whether Rochas himself is a happy man is another matter entirely except if being perpetually controversial and non-conformist has become a form of happiness. This is why many Nigerians are today very happy for not being happy. And the greatest tragedy is that many are not aware of this fact. Hence they go to any length struggling to acquire things they may never need.
In a recent interview with the Vanguard Newspaper, Okorocha attempted to explain which he appears to be a misunderstood Nigerian. His explanations took his perceived misunderstanding to the next level when he told the reporter that “Okorocha is bigger than Imo State and Nigeria” When asked to correct himself, the man further stated that what he meant was that he has become an African leader.
Much as one agrees that the Imo State governor has the right to hold any opinion he likes about himself, he should equally know that when men like late M.K.O Abiola and Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe became the Pillar of Sports in African and Zik of Africa respectively, it was the opinion of Africans and not that of the men themselves.
In trying to justify the appointment of his younger sister as the commissioner for happiness, Rochas fell short of saying that Imo people should be grateful that the young lady accepted to serve them in that capacity. According to him, the position of commissioner is less than that of Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor which she also presently occupies. If this is true, then the Chief of Staff to the governor must be more powerful than the Deputy Governor of Imo State!
Again, when Rochas was asked to prove that he was really Okorocha of Igbo origin and not Okorohausa (an Hausa man) he merely said “everybody know that I am from this place”. He never mentioned his family, kindred, village or town in Imo.
Shortly after creating the ministry of Happiness, the number one citizen of Imo State attempted to make Buhari and APC happy by renaming Asumpta road, Owerri, “Muhamadu Buhari Way”. His people became unhappy and protested. Okorocha has since reversed himself on this matter.
As a matter of fact, Nigerian political leaders must understand that leadership is like an infectious disease that is transferable from one generation to another. This is why those of us who are yet to be “infested”by Okorochas Zigzag leadership model must be urgently quarantined against Zigzagsm. The only people who can do this are Nigerians of voting age and with the interest of the next generation Nigerians at heart.