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What is Imo First Lady’s Crime?

By Walter Duru,

okorochLast week, a hatchet writer took virtual space on some internet-based newspapers to publish what has been described by some Imo citizens as a concocted and incoherent report titled “How Imo First Lady Turned Pet Project into Billon Naira Personal Business Venture.”

The writer attacked the Imo State first lady, Nneoma Okorocha on some scores, ending the hateful commentary by blackmailing her and her Pet Project, describing them as deceitful. The writer saw nothing good in the same first lady that God has used to provide shelter to the indigent widows of the state, free of charge.

The summary of the presentation is that the First Lady has turned the Programme as an avenue to raise personal funds. Unfortunately, the writer could not substantiate his claims with credible sources and believable facts.

As a concerned Imo citizen and communication expert, I feel so disappointed that any right thinking human being could write and distribute such a commentary about the “She needs a roof Programme”[SNARP] of the Imo First lady.  I fell in love with her activities on the day that the Project was delivered to one of the beneficiaries in my home town, Izombe, in Oguta Local Government Area of the state.

In today’s digital environment, it is common knowledge that with the aid of Information Communication Technology, it doesn’t take rocket science to track any information from an Organisation, not to talk of one as open as that of the office of the First lady. Publishing such unverified reports offends the ethics of the Journalism profession and even God Himself. As a youth leader in the area, I have been following the said Project and I am one of the many Imo citizens that have been praying for God’s blessings for the first lady, for conceptualizing and executing such a laudable Project that has a direct impact on the lives of the beneficiaries.

The SNARP Project was initiated by the Imo state First Lady to enable the poor and helpless widows in the state have shelter. The program was designed to help poor widows from each of the 27 local government areas of the state and so far, all the Local Government Areas in the state have benefitted from the Project, according to available statistics.

First, one may wonder what is wrong with commissioning or unveiling a Project as laudable as this. Even as private individuals, we always want our noble works and Projects commissioned, not to talk of that of the first lady. Was any individual or group levied? The writer neither mentioned that, nor provided any evidence to suggest that public office holders or other stakeholders were levied or compelled to make donations.

Again, if the essence of the said donations was for new houses to be built for more indigent widows, as the writer stated, then, it means that the First lady is already thinking of sustaining the humanitarian gesture. What is wrong with doing good? Is she to live in the houses personally?

The writer also mentioned that “Mrs. Okorocha began a tour of the 27 council areas of the State in the name of the 2013 Women August Meeting where she donated trophies and empowered two women from each community with a revolving loan of N20,000.” What also is wrong with sustaining such a venture? How else can it be sustained, if not getting well-meaning Imo citizens to own the
Project through their appreciation and support?

A first lady who has embarked on a fundamental Project of providing shelter for the less privileged deserves commendations and encouragements and not blackmail. I would have agreed with the writer if the governor’s wife is collecting rent from the beneficiaries, or even proposed a repayment plan to the beneficiaries.I challenge critics to come out with facts and figures on a private business venture owned or established by the first lady.How many houses has she built and how many are in progress for the benefit of the less privileged? This report is anti the homeless masses. The pet Project is meant to bring succor to the homeless and this attempt to discredit her is capable of offending God.

I have always said it to those that wish to listen; Imo is the only state in Nigeria where the first lady is not meddling and interfering with governance. Governor Okorocha’s wife, Her Excellency, Nneoma Okorocha may not have held any official position, but she is contributing positively to Okorocha’s administration. She hardly involves herself in state matters, unlike some other overzealous first ladies who cause a whole lot of image problems for their husbands through unguarded statements, by insulting their Husband’s aides and friends. Rather than cause trouble for governor Okorocha, the First Lady is a symbol of peace. Her humanitarian services also speak for themselves.

Imo people and indeed, Nigerians must be on the lookout, as mischief makers are at it again. Nobody can deceive us this time. We must learn to appreciate good things and criticize when necessary. If not for mere mischief, one may not understand why people are interested in disparaging innocent people without any reasonable proof of wrong doing.

We implore the Nigerian Mass Media practitioners to embrace the ethics of the noble profession of Journalism and operate within the precincts of accuracy, objectivity, patriotism and national development.

My people, If bringing succor and development to the rural poor, thereby making life more meaningful to them is a crime, then I will like to be that kind of criminal. Let the truth be reported at all times!


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