Right from 2011 when Imo State Governor Ethelbert Anayo Okorocha was elected as the Number One citizen of the state, he has remained in the eye of the storm, both in the state and the country, because of his unorthodox style of administration, which has to do largely with his policies and pronouncements, and reversal of such polices within a twinkle of an eye.
However, one of his enduring polices, for which he has been commended, is the free education policy at all levels. Regardless of its quality, it has afforded the indigenes and non-indigenes in the state to send their wards to public secondary schools and the state-owned tertiary institutions.
Before creating the Ministry of Happiness and Purpose Fulfillment, which has generated controversy, Okorocha had equally created ministries of Non-Formal Sector and Market Development, a move that was apparently meant to address what he had described as the poor state of Imo markets and to organize the non-formal sector to make them more productive, only for him to scrap them.
Last week, Okorocha appointed 28 new commissioners with his younger sister, Mrs. Ogechi Ololo, as the commissioner for Happiness Purpose Fulfillment. This promptly sparked off another controversy especially as she had never appeared before the House of Assembly for screening.
Mrs Ogechi Ololo who holds a Masters degree in Computer Science is also the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor 0n Domestic Affairs and Food security. She is also the link between the state government and the federal government on N-Power, the CBN Anchor Borrowers Porgramme and Bank of Industriy empowerment-projects.
In spite of the accomplishments of the governor in the state, the preponderance of the views in the state show that since 2011 when he was elected as the chief executive of the state, the policies of his government have been anti-people as the policies had made the majority of the citizens poorer.
In the view of Collins Ughalla, the current absurdity called the Ministry of Happiness and Purpose Fulfillment shows that Okorocha is just realizing after seven years as a governor of the state that the entire citizens of the state are not happy with his Imo Rescue Mission.
“It is pity that in his seventh year the governor just realised that the people have not been happy with him. The governor separated himself from the people by the actions he took after he was sworn in, by sacking the 10,000 jobs beneficiaries and taking away food and happiness from thousands of Imo families. The N145m monthly wagebill that got to Imo families via the 10,000 jobs was cut off.
Not only that, the governor sacked close to 400 elected local government officials and cut off their means of livelihood. He also sacked members of boards with statutory tenure, including the Chairman of the Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers, HRH Eze Dr Clement Ilomuanya. These people have been in court, and despite getting favourable judgements the governor has refused to comply with court judgements.”
He added, “Imo people feel bad that Governor Okorocha’s government destroyed the health system in the state when he came on board. He concessioned all the general hospitals in the state and shut down all the health centres built by Ikedi Ohakim and Achike Udenwa.
Since 2011 Imo people know nothing about public health facility and they have paid through the nose treating themselves at the private hospitals. All the 1322 water schemes built by the Ohakim administration have been destroyed, and Imo people cannot find water to drink for seven years.”
Also speaking in the same vein, Chief Basil Eke said: “I have never seen this type of administration which has caused so much pain to the people. The most frightening is that government will forcefully take any land it wants under the guise of overriding public interest but only for the same government to parcel out the land to its relations and close aides.
If you go to court you are wasting your time because this administration does not obey court orders. Recently the state government revoked the certificate of occupancy of the those who live at the World Bank area and ordered them to pay N1.2 million or their houses would be demolished.”
Continuing, he said: “You should know that these houses were built in the late 70’s on owner-occupier basis through the partnership of the World bank and the then Sam Mbakwe government. Then in 2017 a governor suddenly wakes up and tells you that he has revoked your Certificate of Occupancy, which you had long paid for more than 30 years ago.
But, in order not to be rendered homeless they had to look for money to pay. It is that bad, because of the way that Okorocha has been governing the state as if it is his private state.
Similarly, Dr. Harold Wilson Onumuo, said that the current situation in the state where people are suffering with the state government wasting money on frivolities like erecting of statues of foreign leaders and spending hundreds of millions on Christmas decorations, creating the Ministry of Happiness or whatever will not address the ill feelings of the people of the state against this government.
“It is quite laughable for the same governor who has created poverty in the state to now turn around to create a Ministry of Happiness and Purpose Fulfillment. And the question we should ask the governor is: how does this bogus ministry address the issue of those whose livelihood has been destroyed by this same government under the guise of the urban renewal? How would this ministry address the issue of hunger in the state and hopelessness in the state? Or will the people eat the Christmas decorations at the Government House Chapel?
“If the governor really wants to make people of the state happy he should fix the state which he has already laid to waste through his knee jack policies, and make the environment more conducive for the private sector to strive which is the only way that the teeming unemployed graduates in the state can find employment.
Now, all the state owned industries he inherited are in comatose. The only thing that can make people happy is when have they opportunities to fulfill their dreams and not through a bogus whose functions are still not properly defined.”
Okere Abaziem, a trader, whose shop was demolished at Akwakuma, said that the only thing that can make him happy is if the governor gives him a new shop to enable him start afresh.