I have been frowning many, many times ever since I heard that Chief Rochas Okorocha the governor of Imo State signed into law a bill legalizing abortion in Imo State . The bill was sponsored by zombie members of the Imo State House of Assembly and was cited as the Imo State of Nigeria, Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Law. I will talk about the zombie Imo House of Assembly members in my next article.
The abortion law granted every woman in Imo state reproductive rights, including rights to medical abortion in cases of sexual assault, rape, incest and where the continued pregnancy endangers the life or the physical, mental, psychological or emotional health of the mother. The law also stipulates that every woman shall have the right to take decisions about her health needs and requirements and the right to determine the processes concerning reproduction in her body. Thank God for the Catholic Medical Practitioners Association that reacted angrily to the signing of the bill.The State governor has to hurriedly cancelled this law.
I expect this type of political miscalculation from one of the most travelled governors in Nigeria. Rather than stay in the state to attend to state matters, Okorocha is busy moving from one State to another and from one country to another ,globe trotting all with no advantage to the suffering masses of Imo state. There are records to show that Okorocha has only stayed little over 93 days in Imo State out of the close to three years that he has been on the seat of Power . This development is shadow chasing, irresponsible and an embarrassment to Ndi Imo. Imo people must rise to condemn in strong terms the inability of the Imo State Governor Owelle
Rochas to sit in Owerri and attend to state-matters rather he is spending millions of naira junketing the globe and entertaining his friends and political associates in Nigeria and abroad leaving Imo State youths without jobs.
If Okorocha is not in Kaduna attending meetings with some Boko Haram Governors , he is in USA meeting his fleshy needs, things that has little to do with Imo state administration. Besides I am worried on the cost of these trips which could be over 1 billion Naira Imo tax payers money.
I must confess that we are approaching the third year of Governor Okorocha’s tenure and he has completely failed to meet the hopes and aspirations of unemployed youths in Imo State. Even the limited democratic rights which the poor working masses of Imo State enjoyed during the last administration of the state are being challenged as the present government moves towards more authoritarian methods. Year 2011 to 2013 have shown a monumental failure of the capitalist Okorocha who has proved to be incapable in the areas of youth empowerment, health care and infrastructural development. This is in spite of the fact that the mentioned years witnessed the longest run of oil money in the history of Imo. In other words, the state has amassed very huge oil and gas revenues, much more than any period since the history of Imo State. But there has been nothing fundamental to show for it in term of employment and infrastructure development.
This is as a result of the grab all mentality of Okorocha and his prevailing neo-liberal philosophy which discourages social spending and prioritises commercialization and privatization under the guise of private-sector driven economy. This itself enhances the propensity for corruption as the huge revenue at the disposal of the government is not primarily meant, in the eyes of Owelle Okorocha to be spent on the welfare of the people. Therefore the money is just there for looting. Even when money is allocated to a sector or project it is not sincerely used for the public good but to gratify the greedy top government functionaries and their fronts. The road projects and what is happening in the 27 LGA’s of Imo State under the Okorocha’s government readily come to mind as one of the several examples of colossal looting of the Imo treasury. I must talk about the looting of the 13 percent oil derivation fund of Ohaji/Egbema/Oguta the looting of the 27 LGA funds in Imo State and the looting of 400 million naira flood money of Ohaji/Egbema/Oguta flood victims in my next article.
The big question for now remains :Okorocha where are the jobs in Imo State ?The only sign of youth employment in Imo is the blaring of siren by the governor’s children, his maids, his inlaws and few hangers on who feed fat on the allocation of Imo State. Okorocha sacked 10,000 legally employed Imo civil servants via radio broadcast in 2011. He left the workers till date sad and broke the brittle heart of their loved ones into two. The sack of 10,000 workers in Imo state has gone down in history as a testimony of Okorocha’s anti-poor, pro-rich programmes. This is the highest singular sack of workers in one full sweep in Imo State history by any government.
Removing food from the mouth of 10,00 persons is removal of food from the mouth of thousands persons who voted him into power. Sacking workers in Imo state where the poor working masses literally rely on self-help to provide their basic needs (electricity, water, education, health care, etc) despite their low purchasing power, to say the least, is callous, provocative and inhuman. Moreover, it is highly insensitive to retrench workers in a situation when labour market is already over-saturated. More so, when no social benefit is paid to the unemployed as government continues to abandon its social responsibilities to the people. This is in spite of the abundant natural resources and fabulous wealth that accrues to Imo state from sales of crude oil, taxes, and other revenues.
It is also paradoxical for an Okorocha with his campaign promise to create thousands of jobs when elected to opt for sacking helpless youths from jobs.Section 17 sub 3(b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria states, “the state shall direct its policy towards ensuring that all citizens, without discriminations on any group whatsoever, have the opportunity for securing adequate means of livelihood as well as adequate opportunity to secure suitable employments”. Where are the jobs in Imo State?
Recently Okorocha launched Imo Youths Must Work’ program and is singing on air that he has employed 7000 teachers and 11,000 civil servants via the Youths Must Work’ .This is arrant nonsense. Yeye they say dey smell. Okorocha’s Willi- Willi Imo Youths must work program is a continuation of his anti-peoples’ policy which is the characteristic of this usurper capitalist politician who naturally feel not duty bound to give employment to youths and poor people since he don’t need their mandate to govern. He sacked 10,000 persons claiming Imo is poor and cannot pay salaries of the 10,000 only for him to turn around after 2 years to claim that he wants to employ a fresh 11,000 civil servants and fresh 7000 teachers. Who is fooling who. Owelle if you are sincere in your Imo youth must work programme then you must re employ the sacked 10,000 workers who are still in court protesting their unjust sack.
The monumental unemployment situation in Imo has turned the State into a seething time bomb. Youth unemployment in Imo is particularly outrageous with over 500,000 Imo youths estimated to be unemployed. Youth unemployment situation contributes largely to the ethno-religious crisis of Boko Haram, kidnapping and armed robbery rocking the nation. This oil wealth in Imo state has made Imo a fertile ground for parasitic capitalist ruling elite like Okorocha who don’t invest in production, apart from where he can make quick profits but pour money into campaigns for public offices where his subsequent looting will give him a huge profit at the expense of the poor and working people. This, together with the poor state of infrastructure in Imo accounts for why the so-called rescue mission crusade has not led to job creation and poverty reduction. The so-called rescue mission program of Okorocha is not only extremely tokenistic but also another cesspit of corruption. Lord have mercy.