In a bid to evacuate the government of Mr. Ikedi Ohakim, which within its 3 years plus of leadership, had birthed several hostile comments; the indigenes of the state moved quickly in adopting the Nigerian education philanthropist and billionaire; Mr. Owelle Rochas Anayo Okorocha as her favourite Gubernatorial Candidate; the founder of Rochas Foundation, a charity organisation with expertise in providing free educational services and scholarships to the less privileged children within and outside Nigeria. With such philanthropic gesture, Mr. Owelle was widely loved, by not just his people but across the nation. He was able to secure a favourable vote during the 2011 gubernatorial election of the state, under the aegis of APGA, overtaking the controversial incumbent, Mr. Ikedi Ohakim as governor.
There was great jubilation from the indigenes, mostly from the educational sector of the state as Rochas Okorocha had already carved a niche for himself being an ardent educationist. The educational sector however witnessed a great change more than the previous governments with a discounted tuition fee for both secondary and tertiary institution, incentives like school bags, shoes, writing materials etc. added to this, he saw to the renovation of schools, issuing Head Teachers a palatable fund for same cause.
His first tenure saw a wide growth of the state capital, improved infrastructure within the state. Rochas was seen as the light of liberation, their prayers had been answered. In 2013, he decamped to The All Progressive Congress (APC) running for a second term re-election under the party in 2015, which he won.
Everything seemed fine with this governor till his second tenure, it seemed a wind of chaos breezed through the state as certain mishaps began to occur. The first and most painful being the slash of the worker’s salary by 30 percent, reasons for this till today remains uncertain. Salaries were rarely paid with constant irregularities in cash figures. These and more provoked the indigenes into the hostility towards Mr. Okorocha.
There were subsequent reports of fund misappropriation, whereby funds meant for state workers and/or pensioners were seen being used in irrelevant things like statues and roundabouts. This is where Okorocha’s troubles began, with appointments like Commissioner for Happiness and Couple’s Fulfilment, piqued their bile. It was chaotic like that, Imo state which has seen darkness with the previous regimes was yet again on its path to worse.
With the ideology of godfatherism at play, Okorocha began to make moves in retaining his son in-law Uche Nwosu who was his Commissioner for Lands from 2013 to 2015 and most recent, his Chief of Staff since 2015 as the next governor. This caused an uproar among the five Igbo states whom has never seen such (a sort of absolute monarchy) being played out in any Igbo state. Moves were in return made in making sure this does not happen, with Hope Uzodinma winning the gubernatorial candidate for the APC in the state. This set the party on a wild hue, with division and confusion as to who to follow.
Uche Nwosu was able to win a ticket with the help of Okorocha in Action Alliance which he (Mr. Owelle) formed in 2005. With this he made his support for Mr. Nwosu stronger and this particular action of his was were his recent troubles started.
Okorocha however ran in the recently concluded election, for the post of senator for his Imo West Senatorial District which he won and according to the returning officer Innocent Ibeabuchi, “under duress”.
Mr. Ibeabuchi claimed, while announcing the results of the senatorial election for the zone that he was “detained at the centre for days.”
In his statement before calling out the votes he stated: “I have been held hostage here for days so I’m trying to ease off and take my life home back to my children and for the sake of that I am calling these results under duress,” and with this, INEC has refused to issue him a certificate of return yet.
At a Press conference in Abuja recently, The National Publicity Secretary of APC, Lanre Isa-Onilu says the party cannot help the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, who has been denied a certificate of return as a senator-elect due to his suspension. It will be recalled that the governor’s suspension was issued out when his actions came off as a betrayal to the party.