This article was published early this year with the title, “Okorocha, Why the Demolitions in Owerri? For the reason of refreshing the minds of my readers, i have decided to republish it to authenticate my position before now. As the part two of last week article is awaited, my reader is advised to enjoy this for now.
For quite some weeks now, Imolites living in the Owerri Municipal Council have been subdued to unimaginable hardships because of the demolitions of houses, shops, public arenas and some mobile make-shift business corners, by the Governor of Imo State, His Excellency Owelle Rochas Okorocha.
These demolitions touch Imolites in varied forms- Land owners who generate living by lease of their properties built for ages, people who have such as only habitations for life, people on rent-accommodations who have paid for the year or more and are barely surviving- grace to their fair-breathing till the next payment time, people in either of these who loosed their jobs in recent times due to one economic crunch or the other at their work sectors, or those who are still working with their salaries sliced down by 30% and the rest being owed.
Some others at the extreme suffering-state are retirees who for ages have neither seen their gratuities nor pensions, or those who are on pensions but being owed for more than 10 months and are badly famished, surviving grace by the fruits of their properties being at twine light crushed by a man they acidulously worked for and wished the best of luck in his political career.
It behoves to ask, given these realities, what is the rationale behind the mass crush and demolitions of structures in Owerri, especially along Orlu Road down to Akwakuma, Egbu and Orji roads? Is it for beautification of the capital city? Is it for decongestion of traffic in the capital city? Is it for vindication, as malevolent spirits and elementals do in the parallel world and etheric space, destroying a generation because of one person who is their target, or better, like Herod that destroyed all first born because of the Emmanuel that the Magi told him of?
Certainly, the economy is too bad and even at that, the Governor of a State as Rochas is doing, has the express right to embark on such venture but with reasons. In the light of this exception, it behooves to ask again, why the demolitions in the length and width of the Orlu, Egbu and Orji Roads inside Owerri? Is it to dualise the already dualised roads, making it four lanes leading to paradise? Certainly not; I believe it is for vendetta mission. There must be someone or persons at the dark memoires of Governor Okorocha that has led to the ‘genocide’ of all first born in these demolitions.
To this effect, it glares enough to even the blind that a real man on mission supposed to take the bull by the horn or call a dog its name. Let him go for him/her or them- If the law permits him or he has such guts, and leave the innocent insignificant others alone, and spare them the anxiety. Sometime past, similar event has happened at the World Bank side of the new Owerri, where buildings were massively demolished just for the search of a single significant other whom the “my people, my people” Governor preferred hiding under the pretence of road expansion and the like to raze down the structures owed by some political opponents, especially after the 2015 general elections in the State. Similar matter also occurred with the Athan Ogoh, elsewhere by same Governor with no justification than greed, selfishness and vendetta. We can’t forget in a hurry how Gov. Rochas demolished Chief Athan Ogoh’s fast food at Orlu and also acquired the property en guise of road construction. Hon. Athan is still in court till date.
Bob Marley is popular with the saying that “The greatness of a man is not how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively”. In same vein, the influence a State Governor exerted during his regime, the deference he commandeered, the domineering sways he flagellated and the overbearing unleashed, etc., at the end of the historic rule, are not the actual measurement of his greatness. His greatness rests on the integrity he bore all through the historic and how he positively affected the lives of his subjects. These are the features of his possible immortalization, commemoration as legend, patriarch, hero and elder statesman.
No Governor or President has been immortalized after a historic replete with victimizations and oppressions. No patriarch, legend or hero ever lived as a sadist and even after such is commemorated. They rather lived in the light of altruism and patriotism, impacting positively on the lives of the people under their cares. Driving from Onitsha to Owerri, at Ogbaku-Oguta junction stands a bill board paralleling Rochas and Nelson Mandela. The parallelism is good, but it behooves too to ask if the international legend that is being paralleled ever treated his people of South Africa as the simulated icon, Rochas is today doing in Imo State?
Nelson Mandela of South Africa, led his people out of slavery and all forms of social demolition, today, the man who equates himself with Mandela, is busy leading a vicious crusade of sundry demolitions against his people. In proper application of the principles democracy, do these acts qualify him as parallel to Mandela a high class altruist and democrat?
Democracy is what we are in. It is not only “the rule of the people, by the people and of the people” as Abraham Lincoln said, but also of tilting towards the cries of those people to whom the rule belonged. According to Aristotle, “democracy is when the indigent, and not the men of property, are the rulers”. Judging from the speech arts and deeds of these world-class excellent democrats, has Rochas ruled democratically?
What is happening to Imolites living along the Orlu-Akwakuma-Amakohia, Egbu and Orji roads is a pay of spit for love. This confirms the prophetic declaration of the aesthetic legend, Leonardo da Vinci that, “People talk to people who perceive nothing, who have open eyes and see nothing; they shall talk to them and receive no answer; they shall adore those who have ears and hear nothing; they shall burn lamps for those who do not see.” Certainly, it has dawn to all Imolites that all that glitters is not gold. The oratorio and sweet speeches of a power-monger do not make him the excellent leader or political icon, but the latter actions, achievements and administrative impacts made on the lives of the led.
It is also common for a man or one that has been clamoured for, to later turn to what was never expected of him. Or as the revolutionary Pope, John XXIII, once said, “Men are like wine- Some turn to vinegar, but the best improve with age”. In the same vein, the worst improve in viciousness at the natural unfolding of time, giving out their real colour and compositions.
It was the Athenian Philosopher, Aristotle, who nearly 2500 years ago said, “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit”. The Owerri born literary icon, Mrs. Ann Nlemadim, rightly remarked that “Seeing is believing”. The taste of the food is in the eating, not in the aroma it emits, which may be complicit of premeditated pranks and stage-managed fragrance.
Imolites are now at the fuller awareness and understanding of the man at the hem of affairs in the State. It was Lord Arthon that said “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Prof Wole Soyinka adds, “Power corrupts; precarious power corrupts precariously.” Abraham Lincoln, the 16th American President, on power-men-character once said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
The Governor of a State in essence, is the Father of the State, to both his allied sons and his political opponents. There is no way they will be chased out of the State for having exercised their franchise. A father of a house has obedient and disobedient children, as well as the well, fair, and badly behaved children, but none has ever burnt or crushed the properties of such children that erred than in Imo State. The Roman Catholic Pontiff, Pope John XXIII, rightly noted that “It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father”. To this again, it behooves to ask who is a real father of a State or when is the State Governor said to be in the status of the real father of the State? Is it in the demolitions of the children’s last hopes for survival or by devising and embarking on socio-economic life-transforming projects that impact positively on both the lives of the individuals as persons and communal body?
Oh well, like Martin Luther King, Jnr said, “Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.” The demolitions going on sporadically in the State, having no other rationale than sadism and vendetta, are pure destructive selfishness than creative altruisms that aim at transforming the lives of the populace. At least in the mantra and beautiful song aired daily, compelling Imo to be musically better, wonting on the end of corruption and sundry ruins in the State, etc., the demolitions must stop or else the God that has ever been known for vindication, retributive justice or what the Judaists call El Goel- The God of Vengeance, will rise at the defence of his people, for their cries have inundated the heavens from the first to the seventh realm.