Rochas Okorocha: The Wailings of an Overthrown Emperor


Anthony Oha

For 8 years Rochas Okorocha lived wide, wild and lawless. He acted like someone who ruled over a lawless state. He enjoyed an extraordinary political hegemony. One day at the International Convention Center in Owerri he described himself as, “a PhD undergraduate in Law.” It was truly farcical but one may not be surprised that he is truly a “PhD undergraduate.”

For 8 years, Rochas Okorocha never obeyed any court order and one wondered why he requested to see a court order on the sealing of his Royal Palm Beach Apartments. Recall that immediately Rochas came into power in 2011, his first developmental drive was to pull down all houses and structures he claimed were built on green verge along Nworie and Otamiri river axis. Many houses were affected including churches. I can vividly recall that Archbishop Gbazie’s Arm of the Lord Church headquarters with C-of-O was pulled down there. Gbazie went to court but Rochas never obeyed the court rulling on that matter. Now, one wondered why Rochas built his prestigious Royal Palm Hotel on Otamiri River green verge. Justice must take its course.

For 8 years, Rochas accumulated much financial debt for the government from the judiciary due to his judicial recklessness. He had more than 1000 land cases in the court of law most of which he lost. He never obeyed court orders and never paid court charges. He towered like an emperor and operated like the lord of the flies. He owed the judiciary and made a mincemeat of judges and magistrates. In his time the judiciary in the state was akin to a puppet group because he made them look irrelevant and irreverent.

For 8 years Rochas Okorocha awarded over 14,000 contracts to himself and his cronies and the only contract he gave to other people, the city gate, was frustrating. He never mobilized them but asked them to build with their money. Most of them died as a result of the fact that they took loans to do the project. He even awarded road contracts most of which were abandoned because he refused to pay the contractors. He was so loud; yet, he silently smouldered Imo People with his twisted ideologies, which he termed ‘Iberiberism.’

For 8 years, Rochas Okorocha almost acquired the whole Imo lands from Owerri, Orlu and Okigwe zones. He neglected the government planning of the areas and distorted them by converting all to himself, his family and his friends. He was the greatest practitioner of nepotism. In most states, Government Houses are being relocated to serene areas for security and space. It was Governor Ikedi Ohakim who began building on the New Government House site at New Owerri. Rochas came in and converted the area to his family’s property to the extend of giving his sons-in-law portions to build a club and a school. What about the IBC property at Orji? He converted same to his private school business.

For 8 years, Rochas created different estates that distorted the master plan of the entire state. Even his son-in-law Uche Nwosu became known as a man who freely shares lands to people. It was no news that he gave lands to people as kokanut, which gave him the chieftaincy title of “Oji Ala Eme Ogo1 of Imo State” Lands belonging to Imo people suddenly became his to share. Uche Nwosu’s biography is not hidden because his father never had enough land in Nkwerre to give him as a son.

For 8 years Rochas impoverished Imo people by engaging in useless projects like faulty roundabouts, flyovers and Akachi Mystical Tower. He even siphoned over N60B on what he called “Imo Air” – a nonsensical atrocity that should have put him in prison. What about the wasted billions in Kosovo? All these he did while owing civil servants, contractors and pensioners. Yet, he left Imo State in serious debt which is impinging on the development of the state today.

For 8 years Rochas exhibited thuggery and unleashed mayhem on Imo People. The same thuggery disposition of his that led to the death of Somtochukwu, an innocent child. The boy was killed because Rochas wanted to prove to Owerri People that he was stronger than them. He demolished Eke Ukwu Market and New Market and replaced same with the carcasses of hospitals which he abandoned just like the 27 abandoned hospitals at the various LGAs. In fact, Rochas ought to have been in the Guinness Book of Records as the only governor in the world who executed over 100 projects on the eve of his hand over and left them all incomplete!

After 8 years and out of power, Rochas has decided to engage his chi to a fight. It was Elechi Amadi in his novel, The Great Ponds, who warned that it would be better for someone to fight a whole village in battle than fighting the weakest of the gods. Rochas has taken enough for the owner to see. Imo People through the dogged indefatigable and astute Governor Hope Uzodinma have recovered their second state university, K.O. Mbadiwe University (KOMU), which is sited at Ogboko and built with the finance of the state.

After 8 years, Rochas Okorocha never realized that he wasted billions of Naira on the Royal Spring Apartments by building it on a green verge and justice demands that it must be pulled down he way he pulled down the others on the green verge. This is because of the possible environmental implications. 

After 8 years, Rochas must realise that the New Government House area must be recovered as all the illegal structures, which include his in-laws’ club and schools and the Farmer’s Market built by his brothers must be demolished. More so, all his illegally acquired lands must be released back to the owners, especially the ones at Spibat, Owerri West, Owerri Municipal, Owerri North, etc. 

After 8 years of Rochas’ misrule, Imolites should pray that all they lost to Rochas Okorocha be recovered by Governor Hope Uzodinma. Now that the court has ruled that all his illegally acquired properties be forfeited on the interim let’s increase our prayers of restorative. May the sound of this current recovery music restore the rhythm and joy of Imo People and teach the rulers that everything under the sun is vanity as the preacher admonishes us .

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