At the height of the conflicts between erstwhile Gov Rochas Okorocha and Gov. Hope Uzodimma, the former had declared to the whole world that he is richer than government in a manner of boasting.
Nobody grudges him this feat which now sounds a mockery. In life people are free to aspire to whatever ambition of their choice. It gives some sense of fulfillment when a targeted objective is realized. Okorocha may have risen from crass poverty to stupendous wealth and has every reason to be happy and flaunt that.
My worries about his claim is how he did he make his money, how our society now sees wealthy people, and if he spares a thought about how people see him and his wealth. Again, is there any moral justification trampling on people to make wealth if that was the case in his own situation?
The banes of development in this country as at moment are politicians. They have taken the country back through their selfishness and corrupt practices. The economy is bleeding seriously courtesy of their light fingers. Okorocha is one of those politicians whose leadership impacted people Imo people negatively.
After his exit as Imo governor for 8 years the general view is that he shortchanged the masses terribly leaving them worst than he met them. Perhaps, whatever amount of resources for which the people were shortchanged is what has ballooned his stock of wealth, making him grin from ear to ear as wealthier than the government he served.
Today Okorocha is engrossed in many corruption cases and a panel of inquiry by the government on contract awards has found him guilty and demanding that he returns to the coffers of the government 106 billion naira wrongly converted. Perhaps, this is one of the processes through which he got richer than the government, who knows.
While the inquiry lasted, Okorocha snubbed the panel and never honoured any invitation using the court processes to evade responding to the charges. This is another height of impunity and insult to the people of Imo. The interpretation among certain quarters is that he is playing God and does not see himself accountable to anyone including the people that he served.
People are watching with keen interest how the matter will end. Beyond the committee making the pronouncement that refund be made nothing has been heard or nor has any concrete action been taken towards enforcement. Like many government probes this may also settle in the archives like the ones before it.
Okorocha ran this state aground building substandard infrastructure which is putting people’s lives at risk. Many of his primary school structures are still collapsing, the tunnel pulled down, the bridges abandoned as great risks, the roads long collapsed even months after completion, he littered the state with substandard uncompleted structures.
Imo resources were buried in humongous uncompleted projects that are not value adding to the people. Talk about the 27 general hospitals, the King and Queens hotel in Owerri and Okigwe, the Car park at Ama JK, the now abandoned prison and police quarters etc. The 27 hospitals able were said to cost 30 billion. The cost of erecting police and prison quarters which the federal government may have rejected because of its substandard construction and procedural error ran into hundreds of millions.
Okorocha appropriated some state assets some of which has not been recovered from him. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have assisted the government to recover some properties from Okorocha such as 5.7bn, 2.7bn etc. The Alvan quarters belonging to the institution which he confiscated and appropriated to himself and his lackeys were also recovered through a court action.
Okorocha built his school on IBC land, a huge acreage of land belonging to the state. I guess he was governing the state with all amount of recklessness perhaps with the belief that he has a magic wand in his pocket which will make no one to ask questions. He got so intoxicated with power that he wanted to foist his son-in-law on Imo people so he would continue to rape the state by proxy. Sadly, for him it never paid off.
While he was leaving office he carted away many public assets some of which were recovered from his family members. That speaks volumes about the insatiability and moral health of the man. Recently, in January, it was reported that some equipment for the Nsu Tiles and Ceramic industry were recovered in a warehouse belonging to the former governor. There is still so much to recover from him.
And just last week the government finally recovered the Eastern Palm University which Okorocha appropriated to himself after building it with public funds. How Okorocha became governor is still an issue the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is still challenging in the court because of the wrong precedence it may have set. People may opt to use violence to coerce electoral officials write election results.
It is very shameful that with these kinds of records Okorocha still shamelessly parades himself a leader warming up to lead ndigbo. It is painful that characters like this still get cheers from the same people they have trampled on their fortune because we have no more values in our society. Time was when people were honoured not by their wealth but by their character nut today they are worshipped because of their wealth irrespective of how it was acquired.
If people like Okorocha could do all of these and be walking free and on top of which he is boasting that he is richer than the government why would corruption not fester. It is people like him as negative role models that encourages youths to indulge in all manner of crimes because at the end of the day the same society they destroyed and rendered useless will still hail them because of the pittance they would make available to them. It is sad.
It amounts to great insult to Imolites that Okorocha is still making noise instead of cooling off in prison walls, he goes about boasting that he is richer than the government. Truly, we have degenerated to a point of no return. How sad.