By Ikechukwu Orji
All Progressive Congress (APC) has come to stay. The PDP government through the years has been harsher, less productive, more corrosive to national health and more divisive than colonial rule. The party has ran the country aground. The party has made a country which stands logic on it head, a land where glittering externalities subvert genuine probing. Agreed that President Goodluck Jonathan inherited a poisoned chalice, but he has done little to better the condition of the common man. We are just stuck in the morass of economic quagmire like a pin in a groove. PDP is full of men of cavalier superficiality. Under PDP, Nigeria has become a nightmare from which we are trying to wake. The party should bury its head in shame at a post colonial state gone completely berserk under its watch. So, the advent of APC is a welcome relief.
APC will stop the nation from passing into the mausoleum of failed states. And the man with the capacity to do the job is Rochas Okorocha. The current political configuration favours him. He will be widely accepted in every geo-political zone. It will be a thing of beauty if APC picks him as its presidential candidate. It will surely be an easy ride to victory. Okorocha is a committed humanist, orator and an indomitable fighter for freedom. He has a visceral love for his fellow man. He believes that the problems of Nigeria can be solved through pacific social engineering. He has remained unrelenting and relentless in the pursuit of truth.
This amiable governor of Imo State has a mystical faith in the destiny of Nigeria. He is simply the best man for the job. Okorocha believes so much in the words of Thomas Jefferson contained in the American declaration of Independence. The document has a ringing truth about Nigeria today as it did for the United States when that country declared its independence form the British colonial masters in 1776. “we hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just power from the consent of the governed.”
When Owelle, Rochas Okorocha declared his intention to run for the governorship of Imo State, I was enthused. That was a shared feeling in the state and it generated a gush of optimism. He is a man of the people and a revolutionary. So it didn’t come to me as a shock when he dispatched Ohakim unceremoniously into political oblivion. From my observation, neither financial gain nor the pump and trappings of power are of interest to him. He loves his people. He loves humanity. Above all, he loves God. I knew that God was going to offer him a higher platform in the service of mankind.
A visit in Imo state will convince anybody that Owelle is working. This man with a holy passion has been able to inspire his people, energized the lethargic, widen the horizon of their ambitions and put them on the fast track to development. The moral revolution in Imo state is such that people are no longer talking about tricksters and fraudulent characters but about a man who has publically displayed his love for God. He started his inauguration with singing unto the Lord and surely God is helping him. This is a significant signal. Again godfatherism, which has always been a milestone around the states’ neck, is now a thing of the past.
The striking thing about him is the presence of ideological motivation. He believes that rationality, intelligence, hard work and persistence can solve any problem. After reading his interview in the Sun Newspaper edition of July 21, 2012, I came away with the conviction that Owelle has practical sense as well as a capacity to understand the problem of the state. Okorocha has tagged his economic theory for the state ‘Rochanomics’. According to him, it is tailored towards agriculture. The one that is of particular interest to me is his palm programme. He said, “The programme makes it compulsory for everybody including a month baby to have a palm tree in his domain, otherwise he will not be counted as citizen of the state. The revenue from palm oil is more than what comes from crude oil. Malaysia took their palm seedling from here and became what they are today.” This is a shining light of sweet reason. It is interesting to note that Malaysia earns billions of dollars from the palm oil industry.
Under his watch, an impoverished state like Imo state is now experiencing pride and joy that has been denied it for years. The situation in Imo State before Okorocha came into office was, in short, envenomed by neglect. Now roads are being tarred in the rural areas and hospitals and schools are being built. His programmes are getting people involved in governance. In the area of education he has done well. According to him, “No child of Imo origin is allowed to pay N1 for anything. So there is collective ownership of children now. What that means is that if you go out and see your child, I have a responsibility towards him. I want Imo to take pride of place, as the best centre for education. This is what I want to record for posterity. We have an influx of over 40,000 to 50, 000 people coming back from other states and it is increasing every day. Even none Igbo’s are bringing their children for education. Now we have established free education, to the extent that we are paying bursary of N300 for primary school pupils, N500 for every secondary school every quarter. And we will provide free uniforms to all the children. Free lockers, free stockings, free shirts, trousers, sandals, shoes, school bags, desks.”
Okorocha has demonstrated that by serving the people, you strengthen the fabrics of our collective humanity. We need great leaders because about half the world’s population still lives on less than $2 a day. Bill Clinton said that the modern world for all its blessings is unequal, unstable and unsustainable. And so the great mission of this century is to move our neighbourhood, our nation and world toward integrated communities of shared opportunities, shared responsibilities and shared sense of genuine belonging. There is plenty of evidence that more effective government can produce higher incomes, better living conditions and more social justice.
APC should not allow this moment to pass it by. Once this great party nominates Okorocha, the rest is history. One fascinating fact about Okrocha is that he is amazingly knowledgeable about the problems this country and intensely committed to making a difference. He will brought intelligence and intensity and a business like insistence on results. Okorocha as a president will make Nigeria a better place.
A journalist and media consultant lives in Lagos.