Governor Rochas Okorocha’s recent ‘endorsement’ of his son-in- law as his successor in Imo State has been condemned by some indigenes of the state particularly those from Owerri Senatorial Zone.
Governor Okorocha had said while receiving some members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from Owerri Municipal Council Area recently, that he would ‘support’ his son-in-law, Mr. Uche Nwosu, who is currently his Chief of Staff, should he indicate interest in succeeding him.
According to him, Nwosu has the “qualities of an ideal leader, is hardworking and never gets tired, humble, not proud and not arrogant so power won’t enter his head.“
Imo State is made up of three Senatorial Zones; Owerri, Okigwe and Orlu. From 1999 till date, Orlu has produced two Governors in the persons of Achike Udenwa and Rochas Okorocha giving the zone 16 years at the government house. Okigwe has also produced two governors namely; late Sam Mbakwe and Ikedi Ohakim with eight years and three months between them while Owerri has had late Evan Enwerem, a military appointee for one year and 10 months.
Speaking to The Next Edition on the endorsement, Ms. Ogechi Dixon, a business woman, described it as an insult. “Of course, it is not good for the governor to impose his son-in-law on us. The state is not his empire and the fact that they are both from the same zone makes it even more of an insult on the rest of us particularly the Owerri zone.
“However, just condemning it is not enough. The people of Owerri Senatorial Zone should and must come together as one and present a formidable candidate after they must have emerged from their different parties. They must choose the best in terms of ability, network, education and accessibility in order to get into the government house in Owerri in 2019,” she said.
Mr. Buchi Njere, a Marketing Communications Consultant, said Okorocha’s action depicted a man desperate to cover his tracks. “I will look at it from four different angles. Legacy, Morality, Equity and Antecedence. What Legacy is Rochas Okorocha so eager to protect or perpetuate that he thinks that his son-in-law is the best person to do that for him? The jury is out there that Rochas has not done well enough to earn such a privilege of continuity.
“Morality: How morally right, in a democracy, is it for one man to turn a state to hereditary institution? The governance of Imo state is not the birthright of Rochas and his family. This is taking nepotism to another level. Equity: there are three senatorial areas in Imo State. Equity demands that in 2019, Owerri zone should produce the next governor.
“This is an unwritten agreement that has worked at both the federal level and many states in the country. Antecedence: Who is Uche Nwosu? What would he have become without Rochas being the governor? What is he bringing to governance in terms of intellectual capacity, administrative acumen or business success?
“I just see a man desperate to cover his tracks,” Mr. Njere said.
Also commenting on the Governor’s move, Mr. Tony Opara, a media practitioner, noted that there was nothing new about a governor endorsing his son-in-law as successor, but pointed out that Okorocha would fail in his plans.
His words, “Okorocha’s endorsement of his son-in-law as next Governor of Imo State is nothing new. Victor Attah also did, but lost out as Okorocha will also lose come 2019. His son-in-law is as incompetent as Okorocha and cannot, therefore, be elected by the good people of Imo State.
“He has been adopted as a son by one hungry so-called Eze of the newly created autonomous communities out of Owerri so he can run on the platform of his party as coming from Owerri zone. This plan will fail given that people are suffering and waiting for 2019 to show him out of the government house,” he said.
Mr. Ugochukwu Agoha, a business man, reacting to the endorsement said, “Our governor has gone mad again, do you remember the book with a similar caption? That’s the fate of Rochas to think he can decide for all of us. Is our God sleeping? I pity him and his confidence. For me, it’s not about Owerri people, it is about God and I know because we believe in Him, he will never ever disappoint us.
“The next governor is already decided by God and it is not Rochas’s son in-law and the man Rochas is confined to history as finished forever already. I speak not as a man here.”
For Mr. Leo Merenini, a Marketer, Okorocha’s action is unacceptable. “He cannot decide who should succeed him. 2019 is for Owerri Senatorial Zone so our politicians should come together, present a common and united front. That way, they shall be unbeatable,” he said.
Reacting to the endorsement, Mr. Ignatius Eze, a trader, said, “I think he is free to support anybody he likes even his son-in-law. Where I do not support him is the fact that he and his son-in-law are from the same zone, Orlu, which is also my zone. An igbo adage says that if you treat a child as you have treated his mates, he will be happy.
“So I think the right thing to do is to give others a chance. If it is the turn of Owerri Senatorial Zone, then they should be allowed the opportunity.”
It would be recalled that the President of Dozie Owerri, Imo State branch, Mr. Emeka Nwaneri, had in an exclusive interview with The Next Edition alluded to an unwritten agreement that it was the turn of Owerri Senatorial Zone to produce the next governor of the state, and categorically stated that nothing short of that would be acceptable to the zone.
He had argued that the other senatorial zones that make up Imo State have had their turn in the government house. Orlu zone where the incumbent governor and his son-in-law come from has had 16 years in the government house.