Okorocha: Followership failure – Ray Ekpu

Okorocha: Followership failure – Ray Ekpu



I had followed the altercations in the public space between Governor Emeka Ihedioha of Imo State and his immediate predecessor Mr. Rochas Okorocha. Both of them had a bitter election fisticuff which ended in Mr. Ihedioha’s favour.


Okorocha: Followership failure - Ray Ekpu


Indeed, Mr. Okorocha who had struggled valiantly to plant his son in law, Mr. Uche Nwosu, in the Governor’s chair has been inconsolable. The exchange of barbed shafts and poisonous messages has been unrelenting. A lot of rot has been allegedly exhumed by the Ihedioha administration as evidence that Imo State under Okorocha had been hibernating in the waterland of planlessness.


A few weeks ago, I had an opportunity, along with a few other journalists, to see the State of Imo that Okorocha left behind. The State capital, Owerri, is suffering from waterlessness and the new Governor is trying to restore public water supply. How could a failure of an important amenity such as water occur within less than three months of Okorocha’s departure?


Now, Ihedioha is feverishly trying to rectify the situation so that normalcy can return and the possibility of an outbreak of an epidemic can be averted. One of the charges levelled against the Okorocha government is that he brazenly converted a number of public buildings and land to his family. One of the examples given is the Imo Broadcasting Corporation Quarters located at Orji near Owerri. The former Governor had allegedly converted this to Rochas Foundation College.


The Imo State House of Assembly has passed a motion seeking to investigate how such public facilities got converted to the private property of Mr. Okorocha. The State House of Assembly was informed that the alleged pillage had gone beyond just buildings. According to Mr. Jasper Ndubaku who chairs the committee set up to investigate the matter and recover the assets, 150 transformers and 67 vehicles were carted away. Furthermore, some of the other assets were sold to political associates for a song.


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When the investigation is completed, the public will be in a position to know whether the Ihedioha government is merely bad-mouthing Okorocha as his propagandists have alleged or there is evidence of pillage or fraudulent acquisition of government property by the embattled former Governor.


It is obvious that the State was run like someone’s personal fiefdom with a lack of restraining hand from the State House of Assembly. Many states of the federation have a problem with the management of their financial resources. Governance in many states of Nigeria has a strained relationship with normalcy.


The Chief Press Secretary to Governor Ihedioha, Mr. Chibuike Onyeukwu, said that as of March 2019 the State Government was in debt of N103 billion. He said that the figure was ascertained by the Debt Management Office (DMO).


Debt is not necessarily a death penalty if the money was borrowed and invested in generative projects that can bring considerable value to the populace or was invested in a way that can make the state look attractive to potential investors. At present, Imo State is ranked by the World Bank at number 34 out of the 36 States on the scale of ease of doing business. That is a very poor record which will take serious work to reverse.


For any fair-minded person, the most disconcerting discovery must be the failure of such public facilities as roads, bridges and flyovers. The failure of these assets is worth noting. However, the larger dimension of it is that buildings may fail too and take human lives with them.



Okorocha: Followership failure - Ray Ekpu


Nigeria has been battling in several states with the ugly phenomenon of public and private buildings collapsing like a house of cards. The road leading to Umuchinia which was constructed a few years ago by the Okorocha government has failed woefully. At a point where a bridge was built to channel water from gully erosion away from the road you could see a gaping hole with no iron whatsoever.


By what magic was the bridge supposed to stabilise itself without any support, no iron, just block work. We were told that the members of the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) had raised an alarm that those bridges were rickety and were “disasters waiting to happen.”


We also saw a flyover inside Owerri town crossing Okigwe Road at Orji which had collapsed. This had to be cordoned off to avoid loss of lives by unsuspecting passengers. We saw a huge hole, no iron, just block work. How could anyone build anything like that? Even a carpenter could do better than that.


It was obvious from the answers we got to our questions that all those complicated projects were executed by non-professionals to the exclusion of even engineers from the State Ministry of Works. We were informed that the Ministry of Works had on its payroll more than 40 engineers. Why they were not utilized for the execution of such projects is a mystery.


This performance has the trappings of voodooism. It is doubtful whether this chaotic record can be beaten by any government anywhere in this country, a situation where projects are deliberately built to fail.


We also visited the Government House where Okorocha worked for eight years. We saw multiple cracks on the walls. Also, we saw water seeping, crawling and leaving its marks and maps on the walls. We saw broken pavements which a few bags of cement could easily rectify. We saw litter, garbage and more garbage.


The whole place looked like a pigsty or more appropriately an open defecation field. When the officials said they would like to show us the Sam Mbakwe Executive Council Chamber which they said was far worse, I declined. I had seen enough to keep me depressed for a long time.



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Even though Governor Ihedioha is working from his residence now, he has to spend some money and restore those public institutions to a state of normalcy. As they are now, any visitor will think that they are relics of a viciously fought war. From the profuse propaganda stunt of Mr. Okorocha, it was easy for non-Imolites to think, falsely, that Imolites were existing in a steady hum of happiness, Ministry of Happiness or not.


Why do I say so? Because they allowed this chaos to be enacted. I do remember, however, that some of the Reverend gentlemen in the State kicked against some of his policies. Some of the NGO’s also raised their voices a few times.


Okorocha: Followership failure - Ray Ekpu


Notwithstanding, the end result is that these efforts were too feeble to make any impression on the man. But the most important institution that failed the people of Imo State was the House of Assembly. When Okorocha was pushing for his son-in-law to be adopted by the APC as the Governorship candidate, it was to the House that he sought to get a stamp of approval.


To get Mr. Nwosu on the ticket, he had to get the Deputy Governor out of the way. The House of Assembly did a quick job of removing him illegally. The court restored him which was a sharp rebuke on the House of Assembly.


This toadying to the Governor was not, is not, restricted to Imo State under Okorocha. It is a nationwide malaise. Most of the Houses of Assembly are in the hip pockets of their Governors. This makes it easy for any of the Governors to get away with virtually anything and everything.


And why shouldn’t the citizens of those states give their legislators hell by bombarding their parliaments with placards? Failure to do this leads to bad governance.


Bad governance is a function of the failure of followership. So failure of leadership is at the end of the day, a function of the failure of followership. The citizens are just not doing their duties as conscientious, discerning, followers who have a responsibility to stand guard over their affairs.


If they did their duty to themselves well, the chaos in Imo and the inanities in some other states would have been avoided.

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  1. Uwakwe

    That’s the truth, Okorocha dealt with imo state. He should end up in jail with his family and inlaws. Note, Okorocha and his son in law is planning to use kidnapping in the the state to black mail Ihedioha, watch out


    You know Okorocha is with the money of Imo state government, as such he can do and undo.
    He is going to use kidnapping and Hausa Fulani to distract Governor Ihedioha’s administration.
    Okorocha must go to jail otherwise we will make it difficult for the present Governor to Govern Imo state.
    What Okorocha did in Imo State is worst than arm robbery.
    He must go to jail unless Nigeria is no longer working.

  3. Ausnoo

    Okorocha stands out as the worst looting governor with no sense of civility but only the sense of an experienced scammer.
    Imo State should rise up and send him back home from senate and better still to jail. The most greedy animal in human form.

  4. Afterzero

    True true okorocha should be jail for what he do to imo people, and how he turn imo state. To family business, how I wish gov Ihedioha will turn nwanyi owele estate to gov property I will like it

  5. Ambrose Ehirim

    What Okorocha allegedly did in Imo State indicates Imo indigenes, home and Diaspora, were nothing and nobody could have done a damn thing in rising up to the occasion. He destroyed all aspects of civil liberties, ruined the state and got away with it.


    Thanks for all parties united against Okorocha, the worst would have happened. I was thinking the man was an intelligent man but his actions painted him as the most foolish person to have occupied such exalted office in recent times.

  7. Oguike amaechi

    Simply put okorocha is a thief.
    He understood the Imo people were weak and could not bite and so he decided to have a free ride. The greatest blame goes to the people.

  8. B N O

    Okorohausa or whatever you call him,is paying back. For misusing people’s resources ,and doing pickpocket here and there was at his own expense. Thank God for exposing Okorohausa. He should not be allowed to continue as Senate,his just sleeping during meetings in Abuja. Okorocha is a Yahoo Yahoo senator…..

  9. Agu Charles

    I really enjoyed the writeup and its very impressive balance of the issues. However I feel bad & very disappointed at your conclusion that imolites are to blame for Okorocha’s misrule. Of course the people have responsibility to complain and insist on good governance, but after electing a Governor and members of the state house of assembly, good governance becomes duty to the governor and his team, while the house ensures, also as a matter of duty, that it happens. Failures in this regard are not to be blamed on followers but rest squarely on the shoulders of the elected leaders. Depending on placards of protests to ensure good governance is like calling for anarchy, especially in a state like IMO where APGA, PDP and APC are almost of equal strength in numerics. Every effort of the people to criticise government by protest in such situations are usually misread as opposition madness and or propaganda. Therefore I strongly disagree that followers should share in the blame due Governor Okorocha’s past regime in IMO state or other past regimes anywhere else for that matter. All the blames should go to the elected & appointed political actors – Governor 40% for failed leadership, Advisers/Commissioners – 25% for compromising, and members of the SHA – 35% for failed oversight and rubber stamping. The people should rather be hailed, praised for resisting the grand effort to install an in-law to cover up all these failures. It is important to hold leadership accountable and to blame them for their past. Today we often read that Nigeria’s biggest problems are largely that of failed leaderships, but not as much as one past leader has been held up to account for such failures, especially any of the former heads of state or Presidents. So, please let them at least be blamed even if they could not be held up for further reprisals.

  10. Nze A. H. O Duru

    The writer of that article is a paid hungry and blind agent of character assassination, a disgrace to the respected profession of journalism. Anyway, u hv delivered d shameful job u were hired for. Imolites remain wiser than people like u and ur master(s). Go and look for a better job if indeed u belong to d noble profession than to engage in cheeky tool for cheap blackmail. I wonder how much of Imo State u can boast u know before and after d immediate past Gov left office.

  11. Ikpeama Ben

    I agree that the failure of Leadership is as a result of the failure of followership… Our immediate past Governor captivated his followers with systemic and hypnotic oratory!
    He was smart and intelligent, more than he was even credited with! He had very good intentions but he was sabotaged by the few he entrusted with huge responsibilities! His Chief of Staff, Deputy Chief of Staff, Principal Secretary were the Pillars of his Administration!
    Providence will judge these Men! They, as followers of Owelle Rochas Okorocha failed tremendously!

  12. Gad

    Even after all these administrative failures,looting,fraudulent acqisitions,the A PC GOVERNMENT the Messiah chosen to save Nigeria from calamity and AMAGIDON of CORRUPTION still imposed Mr. ROGERS OKOROCHA on Imo State as senator even after forcing INE C under DURESS to announce him winner.This imposition of CORRUPTION GOVERNOR rewarded with Senatorial appointment is the major reason Nigeria will NEVER survive a true nation.Our hope must be United States of BIAFRA to help Eastern Nigeria people heal these cancerous wounds of falsehood.Gad


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