Governor Rochas Okorocha
Anayo Okolie writes that the Rescue Mission Agenda in Imo State may have become the launch pad for the Governor Rochas Okorocha administration to trasform the state
The change of guard on May 29, 2011, remains a turning point in the political artery of Imo State. That day, Rochas Ethelbert Okorocha, was elected governor of the state. A year down the line, many indigenes of the state are already thinking the day should be rechristened Imo Rescue day because according to them, a number of things had changed from their old ways.
For many people in the state, since the days of late Chief Samuel Onunaka Mbakwe, transformative leadership had eluded them and thus left the people in search of direction that was not forthcoming.
But today, it does appear the thinking on the turf has begun to assume an auspicious direction. From the day he was sworn in, Okorocha had hit the ground running. Coming with a clearly mapped out vision and mission, Okorocha, on assumption of office, had swung into action by first declaring free and compulsory education for all Imo indigenes from Primary to Secondary education and tuition-free in government-owned tertiary institutions.
Although, the first of its kind in the history of the state, Okorocha was said to have taken that initial step to prove to his immediate predecessor, Ikedi Ohakim, wrong that there is nowhere in the world where free education is feasible. Yet, Okorocha had through that move alleviated the financial inhibition that many parents go through in the state.
Apart from education free, Okorocha had also constructed a finishing school called Imo College of Advanced Professional Studies (ICAPS) where pragmatic skills are taught with the aim of exposing youths to the curriculum of self reliance which is in sync with the survival instinct for youth at in this age.
To enable the state compete effectively with their counterparts in the federation, Okorocha had set up a Young Scientist College in Imo State where science will be the main focus towards training new scientists and technologists in order to accelerate and quicken the tempo of industrialization of the state.
The governor such training would prepare his people for competition in the advanced economies of the world. And as a clincher, he has begun to pay a stipend of N300.00 to every primary school pupil and secondary school student every three months as a form of motivation.
Before the advent of Okorocha’s government, past administrations had made subvention of the Imo State University for staff salaries and developmental projects limited to the tune of about N57 Million on monthly basis. But Okorocha moved it up to N250Million to enhance the ongoing transformation of the state-owned university.
Presently, the Okorocha administration is constructing about 305 model primary schools in each Ward. And in order to ensure that the on-going projects are delivered to specifications, the governor visits almost all the primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in the state.
In the health sector, many initiatives have been delivered with a view to bringing health to the door-steps of the people. He recently commissioned 54 ambulances equipped with the state-of-the-art medical facilities. The rural dwellers have also been provided with trained health personnel ready to deliver first aid assistance at the slightest incident before their onward transfer to proper hospital.
In addition to these, the governor had built the highly celebrated Ikemba Ojukwu Centre; the Heroes Square and related structures at New Owerri. There is Oguta Blue Lake of Treasure while the first state-owned Maritime University at Oguta is billed to commence soon.
The establishment of Community Government Council is another bench mark in the achievement of the Okorocha administration. The governor said the idea was birthed in order to rescue the failure of third tier of government. The programme has however received commendation from across board even as it had been passed into law by the state House of Assembly.
Okorocha said the era was gone when local government chairmen who were stooge to godfathers doled out state resources as monthly and yearly settlement. He also said the era of local government chairmen diverting funds to private pockets and not executing predominant and laudable projects that would improve the living standard of rural dwellers is over.
He however said all allocations to the Community Government Council would be fully utilized for the purposes the funds were dedicated. “Part of the arrangement is that people in the urban areas may be encouraged to relocate to their communities, thereby making them boost the economic dynamism of their various communities as many businesses would be encouraged to spring up at the grassroots. This will help curb youth restiveness, unemployment and drastically reduce crime rate in our contemporary society.”
On the crisis with local government chairmen, Okorocha said the fact that he proceeded to Supreme Court against the verdict of the Appeal Court judgment which favoured the sacked local government chairmen was not news but that while the appeal and stay of execution subsisted, the manner and speed at which the sacked local council chairmen went to their various local governments to take office portended and portrayed them as people who had come in search of their private pocket.
“These people refused and failed to develop the state as they all were busy looting the state treasury and settling all political godfathers, thereby failing the people of the state.”
He however said he was not oblivious of the fact that many of the godfathers were not happy with his developmental strides because they are at a loss to their greedy nature. “They are not happy with the gains of my Rescue Mission Agenda,” he said, adding that “slave owners are not always happy when those at their captivity gain liberty. Imolites beware!”