By John Mgbe
Information has just been passed to me that Governor Okorocha of Imo State will pay a working visit to Orlu Local Government Area on Saturday,22nd March. In view of the fact that such visits will always be hijacked by professional praise singers, hero worshippers and all manner of politicians, I have decided to present this memo to both the Transitional Council Chairman, MR.Eddy Olumba and the Mayor of Orlu, DR. Obodo on critical areas of need which must be included in the shopping list that will be handed over to the Governor when he arrives Orlu. This move has become necessary because the members of the governor?s new found party, All Progressives Congress(APC), and other Otimkpus /loyalists will never allow outsiders to speak truth to power when the governor visits. As has always been the case, they will praise the governor and tell him that he? is the messiah we have been waiting for, the people of Orlu LGA are totally satisfied with your performance?. The women who are often used as playthings in the parties will dance and sing choruses of praise, the young maidens will troop out in graceful dance steps of choreography. The boys and elderly will also entertain the governor with all manner of theatricals and, of course. the Mmanwu and Okonko masquerades will be all over the venue ?to honour a governor who has performed wonders and in whom the people are well pleased?. At the end of it all, the governor will return to the Government House with the false impression that the people are great admirers who are waiting to vote him in for a second term in 2015.They did it to Chief Ikedi Ohakim when he visited the Local Government Areas , but they abandoned him when it was time to vote for him in 2011.Today, what happened then is part of history. So, Governor Okorocha should learn from the mistakes of Chief Ohakim because it was the revered scholar and poet , George Santayana, who once said that ?Those who do not learn from history will continue to repeat their mistakes?. We love this governor and we took grave risks to actualize his governorship agenda in 2011; so, we talk because Okorocha?s governorship is a house we built and we are not in a hurry to abandon it , in spite of the fact that the governor appears to be mocking the base heights through which he rose to power.
I am addressing this memo to both the T.C Chairman of Orlu Local Government Council and the Mayor of Orlu because I do not understand the hierarchy/ organogram of this Okorocha?s Government. I do not know the difference between the T.C Chairman and the Mayor of Orlu since the office of the Mayor is not known to the Constitution. I do not know who between the two is superior to the other. Is the Mayor of Orlu in charge of only Orlu Local Government Area or is he in charge of the entire Orlu Zone. These are some critical areas we want the governor to clarify. Now, some of the demands I want the authorities in Orlu LGCs to bring up include (1)ORLU LIBRARY COMPLEX: It is pertinent to state that Orlu Local Governt Area does not have a befitting Library now. In fact, I can even make a convincing case that there is no library in Orlu LGA. This is shameful more so, since we have a governor who is said to be the God father of free education in Nigeria. Over 90% 0f the secondary school leavers and Jambites in Orlu LGA have not touched a computer for the first time. They cannot distinguish between a computer screen and a television screen. Yet, they are supposed to write the computer ?based Jamb examinations which will soon be introduced by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board(JAMB) as well the public examination bodies in the like of West African Examinations Council(WAEC).The need for a state- of -the art library in Orlu Municipality cannot be overstressed. The computer literacy level in Orlu is at a zero level. Under the Military Government Of Colonel Zubairu, Orlu had an impressive library platform in which seekers of knowledge could go in search of knowledge. The Orlu library was supplied with at least four newspapers daily but since this government of free education came on board, there is no budget for buying newspapers or books for the library, of course, as I said earlier , there is no functional library in Orlu LGA. Even before the universities came, the library was universally acknowledged as the ?Poor man?s university?. The greatest gift to the youths and the seekers of knowledge in Orlu is an e-library complex fitted with a modern Information and Communications Technology(ICT) complex that will accommodate about 50 computers which are connected with high speed servers. It will have a training wing where the youths and adults can be trained to imbibe the computer culture. Today, a resident in Orlu must travel to Owerri Municipality in order to browse the internet or make use of a library. This is less than satisfactory. We need an ICT/Laboratory/Library village in Orlu Local Government Area. Our Governor who is a godfather of education can very easily do this for us .The problem is not in the governor bur rather in his party members in Orlu LGA who do not tell him the real problems of the electorate. Some of them are shameless hypocrites, hero worshippers who will not waste a minute to defect to another party, in case of any eventuality.
(2)ORLU CAMPUS of IMSU: The law establishing Imo State University says the university should be a multi-campus university. Where is the Orlu campus of the IMSU? The Imo State university campus at Ogboko in Ideato North should be named ?ORLU CAMPUS, IMSU?. We do not understand how our IMSU has lost its name to a so-called ?European University?. We reject this neo-colonialist imposition .We are proud of our local university and the products of that university (IMSU) have acquitted themselves creditably in the comity of graduates all over the world. In spite of its obvious imperfections and shortcomings, we are proud of IMSU and we plead with the governor to return this campus to IMSU and name it Orlu Campus, IMSU. Those who desire European university degrees should seek for visas and travel to Europe or elsewhere to acquire such degrees. We prefer Nigerian degrees to those shine ?shine degrees from elsewhere. Our Governor-Emeritus, DEE Sam Mbakwe(PH.D) and Governor/Senator Evan Enwerem will turn in their graves should they hear that the university they did so much to nurture has been hijacked by Unidentified Flying Objects(UFOs). Please the Ogboko Campus of IMSU should be named:ORLU CAMPUS.IMSU? without further delay, more so, since Imo State spent over N5 billion to develop that campus. By the way, will this so-called European University also award free education as is done in IMSU? Who are the promoters/proprietors of this phantom EUROPEAN University? Can somebody lift the veil to enable us see the names of those behind this scheme? All we are asking is that the Ogboko Campus of IMSU should be properly designated as Orlu Campus of IMSU and not European University.
(3)The last time residents in Orlu Local Government enjoyed portable running water from taps was over eight years ago. It all started in the second term of Chief Achike Udenwa?s Administration. In the regime of Colonel Zubairu, residents in Orlu LGA could fetch running water and even use the showers to bath in high rise buildings of three stories. If we could enjoy such luxury in a military regime, why are we suffering from lack of portable water in a civilian regime, more so, since a governor of Orlu extraction is in power? What happened to the Orlu Regional Water Scheme which had reached advanced stage in the previous administrations before Okorocha. The preponderance of converting every nook and corner to a bore-hole facility is dangerous to our seismic and geographical topography. We don?t need bore-holes; we call on our governor to commence talks with the relevant authorities to reopen discussions on the ORLU Regional Water Scheme.
(4)Imo State does not begin and end with Owerri. In that wise, the modern concrete school block built on Wethreal Road, City School, Owerri should be replicated in Orlu and Okigwe senatorial headquarters. In the same vein, the Imo College of Advanced Professional Studies (ICAPS) in Owerri should be replicated in the senatorial headquarters of Orlu and Okigwe zones. It is wrong to move every centre of learning to Owerri Municipality. Again, the Special Science Secondary School which is built in Owerri should also be replicated in Orlu and Okigwe zones.
(5)There is intense acrimony and crises in the traditional institution in Orlu LGA. The Governor should appoint Independent Counsel to investigate the immediate and remote causes of these EZESHIP crises in order to redress them. Alternatively, the White Paper on the Hon Justice Chikeka Panel on the autonomous communities should be released now and the recommendations must be faithfully implemented. In some communities where the throne is hereditary, some impostors have fraudulently gate crashed into the throne and our ancestors are not happy. It is not advisable to ask our traditional rulers to resolve these Ezeship disputes because most of our traditional rulers are corrupt and untrustworthy. They do not attach any importance on integrity and reputation. In one of the autonomous communities, a traditional ruler who died over a year ago cannot be buried because of community crises, or has he been buried? It?s a shame indeed.
(6)HRH EZE Cletus Ilomuanya: It?s high time HRH EZE Cletus Ilomuanya was reinstated as Chairman, Imo State Traditional Rulers Council. When he was sacked as Chairman, most people supported it. With a court judgment from the Court of Appeal asking for his reinstatement, it is no longer reasonable to continue to deny him access to the status which is due to him. He should be allowed to enjoy the fruit of his court victory now. In fact, we have since observed that if HRH EZE Ilomuanya politicized the throne, the present EZEs have bastardized it. There is no cogent and verifiable reason to continue to humiliate HRH Eze Ilomuanya. The governor has carried the hostility to a level of absurdity.Eze Ilomuanya who is also the Chairman; South East Traditional Rulers? Council should be reinstated now, even though his five year tenure is running out. He is a worthy and eminent son of Orlu and he should not be treated like an outcast. The son (cub) of a lion is not used for sacrifice; more so, at a time when the governor hails from Orlu.HRH EZE Ilomuanya should be reinstated now. In the same vein, we have heard that the Imo State Government has paid compensation to the tune of over N700million to some groups in some parts of Imo State whose lands were taken over by Government for overriding public interest. How about those whose lands and buildings were demolished in Orlu and environs such as Chief Athan Ogoh and Chief Ichanga and several others?
Banana junction/ORLU UMUOWA ROAD:The road construction on this road is very sluggish and lousy. Please invite the Julius Berger or Arab Contractors or related companies to move in and get this road completed in a short period. What is going on there now is unsatisfactory and unacceptable.We need a reputable construction company to intervene and clean up the rot there. Thanks my governor for taking my advice.
FEDERAL HIGHWAYS in Imo State: Records show that you have been embarking on the task of tarring federal roads in Imo State without seeking the approval of President Jonathan for reimbursement. This is a very bad approach; it is an avoidable waste of our funds. President Jonathan will very easily grant approvals for refund of monies spent on such roads. The Owerri/ Amaifeke-Banana junction highway is an example of a federal highway which you are constructing without any arrangement for refund from the federal government. This is a bad approach. Please approach the federal government for intervention because the road is now in a very bad shape. Kindly court the friendship of the President so that he will be in a position to give us our due and even more. President Jonathan is a good man and we have a lot to gain from his incumbency if we give him his due honour and respect.
As a result of time constraint, I am unable to be as elaborate as I would have liked to. I heard of the governor?s visit just three hours ago; I have just managed to scratch the surface; I hope to come back to this topic soon .May the Lord guide and protect the governor and others who will be present to give him a rousing welcome. Finally, I advise our governor to bear in mind that most of the politicians who are working for him do not believe in him. The only group that is loyal to the Governor is the Directors of Administration and General Services (DAGS) in the 27 LGAs.These are the only people he can confide in. There are also a few other T.C Chairmen like MR E.Olumba and Mayor Obodo who are prepared to sink or swim with him. They are very few and far between.. The Governor should act with caution and foresight in the days ahead.