By Emmanuel Onwubiko
Imois a state in the South East of Nigeria.
Inthe traffic parlance, Imo is known as the heartland of the East. The
State hasconsistently produced the highest percentage of students
enlisting for both theSecondary school certificate qualifying examinations
and the University’smatriculation examinations known as JAMB. In the last
decade, Imo statestudents have performed as some of the finest brains in
the last qualifyingexaminations. The State is one of those whose mainstay
is virtually theeducational sector to an extent that it has a state owned
university that canboast of attracting students from as far as Ghana;
Bemin Republic and Sokotostate just as it houses the most highly rated
tertiary institutions such as theFederal Polytechnics; the Federal
University of Technology and one of thefinest colleges of education that
is degree awarding and with first classaffiliation with one of Nigeria’s
best rated University of Nigeria. Imo hassome of the highest numbers of
female lawyers just as it can be stated withoutany fear of empirical
contradictions that there is no village in all of ImoState without an
academic professor. The state was in the times of militarydictatorship
known as the state with the highest percentage of public petitionwriters
to an extent that those who govern the state were usually mindful ofthe
public and private conducts. But the people of the state have lost
themotivation for petition writing thereby emboldening politicians to turn
thestate to a state of poverty and gross underdevelopment.
Imostate in terms of politics has been lucky and unlucky at the same time.
Imostate is very lucky to have produced a governor who has entered the
pantheonsof political history as the best in terms of infrastructure and
human capitaldevelopment known as Dee Sam Onunaka Mbakwe. It was Mbakwe
that started thebuilding from scratch of the now prestigious Sam Mbakwe
Cargo airport. It wasMbakwe that replicated the aggressive agroallied
industry that marked Imo stateout then as the food basket of Nigeria. It
was Mbakwe that introduced policyframeworks for massive rural
infrastructural advancements and encouragedcommunity self-reliant economy.
Imo people will not forget Samuel Mbakwe in ahurry. He has a special peide
of place in Imo state history.
InIgbo cosmology, the appellation ‘Dee’ or Uncle in English just like
itsrelatively connected term known as ‘Mazi’ is a title that only revered
eldersare entitled to by virtue of their accomplishments that are
beneficialexistentially and empirically to the greatest number of people.
In Arondizuogu,someone whose father is alive can’t bear the title of Mazi
but will only becalled NwaMazi. This is grounded in the African value
system of respect forelders.
Inthe same vein, you can’t be identified as ‘Dee’ or Mazi in the real
sense of itif you are not a worshipper of the ‘goddess’ of truth.
Whatdo I mean by being worshipper of the goddess of truth? This precisely
has norelationship or nexus with idol worship but simply implies that you
must besomebody who is honest in bad and good times.
Inthat context as aforementioned, the man Dee Samuel Onunaka Mbakwe is
todayrecognized nationally as the best governor to have come from the East
just likethe wise men from the East recorded in the Christian Holy Bible.
He remains thebenchmark and reference point when discussing good
Hewas a governor in a political platform that did not control the
federalgovernment but he was able in the late 70’s to early 80’s to
implementaggressive developmental blueprints that saw to the evolution of
severalprojects in the then Imo state which comprised of present day Abia,
part ofEbonyi and the entire Imo state as it is now.
Also,Imo state has been unlucky to have churned out in quick succession, a
bunch ofnever-do-wells and opportunistic political predators as governors
andlegislators since after Sam Mbakwe who took turn to remarkably under
developthe state to a sorry state.
Thelast eight years has however become particularly remarkable in the
sense thatthe state has gone from bad to worse due to crass misgovernance
and outrightlooting of the priceless resources of the state.
Imostate in the last eight years has become a laughing stock in the
Nigeriannation to a ridiculous extent that it has become a reference point
on how badgovernance can increasingly result in a failed state.
Imostate under Rochas Okorocha reached such a low that it has become one
of thebiggest heavily indebted states in the federation to an extent that
it may takeImo state almost half a century to recover from the
consequences of governorRochas’s misgovernance.
“TheDebt Management Office (DMO), recently said the domestic debt stock of
thecountry’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) stood at
N3.5trillion as at the first half of 2018 (H1’18).
Thefigure indicates that the states and FCT increased their debt stock by
aboutN200 billion or 6.0 percent over the N3.3 trillion recorded at the
end ofDecember 2017.
Accordingto data released by DMO on its website, Lagos State has the
highest debt stockat N517 billion or 17 percent of the total debt stock of
Thedata showed the domestic debt stock of the other states among the top
fiveduring the period under review are: Delta (N223 billion), Rivers
(N191billion), Akwa Ibom (N179 billion), and Osun (N136 billion).
Thestates with five lowest debts are: Anambra (N2.6 billion), Sokoto
(N25billion), Yobe (N27 billion), Kastina (N31 billion), while Ebonyi and
JigawaStates have N34 billion each.
Theother states are: Abia (N57 billion), Adamawa (N67 billion), Bauchi
(N78billion), Bayelsa (N123 billion), Benue (N93 billion), Borno (N78
billion),cross river (N125 billion), Edo (N69 billion), Ekiti (N118
billion), Enugu (N61 billion), Gombe (N42 billion), Imo (N85
billion), Kaduna (N76 billion), Kano (N95 billion), Kebbi (N54
billion), Kogi (N114 billion,Kwara (N40 billion), Nasarawa (N70 billion),
Niger (N40 billion), Ogun (N105billion), Ondo (N51 billion), Oyo (N88
billion), Plateau (N122 billion), Taraba(N60 billion), Zamfara (N70
billion) and FCT (N94 billion).” As we speak Imostate has surpassed Lagos
Itis for this poor governance status of the Rochas Okorocha administration
thatmillions of Imo state indigenes resolutely decided to vote out the
self-imposedgovernorship successor and the Son in law od Rochas who
incidentally was forover 5 years the defector deputy governor even though
he occupied the post ofChief of staff but in real terms he called the
shots much better than thedeputy governor. He has allegedly amassed so
much wealth by virtue of hiscloseness to the governor who is his father in
law. Most people alleged that hehas amassed a lot of assets both within
and without the State even when inreality he never worked anywhere else
since after his youth service. Rochasintroduced the term IBERIBERISM to
ascribe to those who think he isn’t performingoptimally but that terms
which means foolishness has come to define his eightyears stint in office.
Imo people say his administration is styled afterIBERIBERISM and therefor
the voters decided to reject him which in effectmarked the end of
IBERIBERISM IN Imo state with the landslide victory of EmekaIhedioha of
the PDP against Rochas’s Son in law of the Action Alliance party.Imo has
therefore made history by resolving to end IBERIBERISM and indeedachieved
IBERIBEXIT. Imo state voters have achieved what even the Britishgovernment
and people can’t achieve in over three years because the policy ofBREXIT
is becoming the albatross of the Theresa May’s government.
UKPrime Minister Theresa May had to resort to all kinds of last minites
tacticsand recently called on British lawmakers to “come together” and
vote her Brexitdeal through, following months of uncertainty and division.
“Iam convinced that the time to define ourselves by how we voted in 2016
must nowend” May wrote in a Britain’s Sunday Telegraph newspaper,
referring to thecountry’s referendum on membership of the EU.
“Wecan only put those old labels aside if we stand together as democrats
andpatriots, pragmatically making the honourable compromises necessary to
healdivision and move forward.”
Inthe article, May argued her deal “honours the result of the
referendum,addresses the hopes and fears of all sides, and is the very
best dealnegotiable with the EU.”
Shesaid its rejection by MPs, who have twice voted it down by a massive
margin,had opened up “a range of undesirable alternatives,” including the
risk thatthe UK could crash out of the EU without a deal.
“Votingagainst no deal does not of itself change the legal reality that,
as thingsstand, a failure to agree a deal ultimately means we leave
without one,” thePrime Minister cautioned adding that without an agreement
“the way ahead is oneof uncertainty and ongoing, perhaps permanent,
Onerebel conservative MP, Esther McVey – who resigned from May’s Cabinet
in orderto vote against the government on Brexit – said yesterday she
would now supportthe PM’s deal.
“TheresaMay – the government and parliament – connived to take ‘No deal’
off thetable,” McVey told sky’s Sophy Ridge yesterday, meaning that the
choice MPsface is now Mays deal or “no Brexit.”
Therefore,Imo state people should be praised for making a decision to end
IBERIBERISM andfor following through with this resolution. It is hoped
that the incominggovernment of Emeka Ihedioha will never take Imo state
back to the era ofIBERIBERISM which has crippled development in Imo state
which has potentialsfor becoming a pivotal state for rapid technological
advances and innovation inAfrica. Imo state shall never return to the
Years of the ROCHAS’S LOCUSTS.
*Comrade Emmanuel Onwubikois the head of Human Rights Writers Association
of Nigeria and blogs @ www.huriwanigeria.com; www.huriwa.blogspot.com;