Prof Bola Akinterinwa remarked that a�?public perception under a democratic government is important for many reasons. It helps government to determining whether the ship of state is piloted well or not. It helps government to determine public expectations, as well as determine the integrity and credibility of government. It particularly provides a basis for self-assessment and re-adjustments. It also encourages and discourages people, depending on whether a perceived individual is doing well or not. In fact, it is a yardstick for assessing progress and set-backs in political governance. A government or an individual may think that it or he is doing one’s or his best, but this best may not be good enough in the eyes of the people. It is therefore not sufficient to believe that one is doing his best. What will suffice is to ensure that one’s best is also seen and accepted as such.a�?
This public perception is connected with the concept a�?association.a�� The term a�?associationa�� and its linking perspective, is one concept that Africans, Nigerians, and Imolites in particular find difficulties in, especially in the political, moral and religious domains of life; more than every other sphere of social life. By a�?association,a�� I mean the grouping of a people that possess or exhibit similar attributes or characteristic traits, making for a groupa��s culture and distinguishing feature, and thus an in-group, out-group dichotomy wherein a set is seen as favoured and the other as endangered. It also entails the linking or joining together of people to an ideology or feelings that are correlated to specific memorable event(s), laudable or implausible.
Recent developments in present day Imo State are making for decisive associations, categorisations and hasty generalisations, which .are unjust, though logical by the fact of associations. There are the issue of lists- Flying and landing, from different a�?Air Force basesa�� of APC gubernatorial aspirants and interest groups, wherein one sees threats of removing delegates and replacing them with loyalists and fabricated party members of great repute, rampart endorsements of candidates and suspensions of party members for unjust courses, as well as in-house fighting and bickering in the ruling party, APC, in Imo State. These are first class traits for association that make for in-group, out-group or a�?ndi agburu anyia�� dichotomy in the party.
Then there come the rural development projects of Governor Okorocha. In most semi-urban centres across the State, Governor Rochas Okorocha has endeavoured to extend even developments round the State, to help consolidate rapid developments. These developments, especially electrification and road constructions are meant to alleviate the mess-living standards of the people, and these have been turned into crucifixion grounds for the Governor. Of a truth, every development project in a developing or developed area must have someone whose peace and comfort must be stepped on. But since it is for overriding public interest it must stand.
But the manner in which the field marshals and executing officers of these developmental projects carry on their activities, is wicked, inhumane and brutish, and thus, portray their principal more of a nascent Imo Nero, Mobutu, Id Amin, Bokassa, Nguema, Abacha, etc, than a caring Governor. The greatest percentage of employed methodology, strategy and public relational approach is sleaze ridden, depraved and maltreating than assisting.
A good field marshal in projects that necessitate demolitions of existing structures, (especially the types that people use to patch the economy as means of self-employment), must be given at least 3 months constant notice and signal threats before their executions. Peoplea��s houses and self-employment environments are damaged in heartless and spontaneous manners that make all wonder what has suddenly come over the government of Governor Okorocha, or is he no more the most popular and cherished peoples Governor? Perhaps they are doing what Rochas told them. Perhaps they are straying and exaggerate the show of power by proxy, as their actions are allegedly backed by the orders of the Governor.
Granted that some people are daring and stubborn in nature, at least, let there be incessant written and aired communications, down to the Ezes and town criers in rural communities where most motorists come into the capital city, which form grounds of pushing back blames and associations of depravity on a working Government to the hard-heartedness and obstinacy of people when communications are explored to maximum limits of grace, and not the spontaneous approach Governor Okorochaa��s field marshals from Ohaji, Egbema and Oguta use in the execution of such herculean tasked-projects. Their modalities confirm the classical sayings of Lord Anthon that a�?power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely,a�� and Prof Wole Soyinka added that a�?power corrupts, vicarious power corrupts vicariously.a��
The urban renewal is another aspect of maledictive association, which the present government has received from Imolites. Urban renewal is good, maintenance of the capital citya��s master plan is good too, but copies of the master plan are replete now in the hands of many Imolites who testify that what, and the extent and intensity of most demolitions and revocations of lands in the capital territory done by the government are not in the master plan of the capital city. There are old and new Owerri. Old cities are notch-marked with inherited monuments as ancient heritages, and are the pride of the city as primordial type, and must not be demolished. In Spain, Italy, Palestine, Egypt, etc, ancient citiesa�� monuments are never demolished but preserved as national heritage. They are in Enugu, Ibadan, Abeokuta, Kano, Sokoto, and other cultural and metropolitan cities in Nigeria.
These demolitions have not only rendered Imolites homeless, but jobless and famished as their sources of income have been shot down in a hurry. Children of the victims have resumed school and cannot return because of funds. Petty traders and businesses are shot down because of genuine developments that are portrayed as molestation and vendetta from a well-meaning government. The wide-range of demolitions for urban development in the four central ancestral home-streets of Owerri Municipality: Douglas, Wethdral, etc, is wickedness. Despite the wide demolitions in Douglas road, there are yet new marks with the inscriptions: a�?no shops,a�� a�?remove,a�� etc. These are vile and do not portray the Governor well-meaning again, as the initial aim was to bring sanity on Douglas road and curb the rising criminality at Eke Ukwu Owerri, which I was a painful victim of the criminality in the Eke Ukwu market.
The worst and most painful aspect of the associations and public image made for the Governor of Imo State is in the transport sector in the capital city, and in all rural communities. To enter Owerri capital city now is a punishment, courtesy of ENTRACO and OCDAa��s wicked approaches in the execution of the laudable State policies, and the worst comes from Chief Gerald Okorochaa��s blurred visionary leadership in the ITC park.
Gerald Okorocha has generated a very ugly, wicked, contemptuous and despicable image for the well-meaning Governor, Okorocha. He does not know the dynamics of power and management of policies in the face of nagging ambitions, visions and missions of the Governor. What he is doing in the ITC park is seen and associated as detailed by Governor Okorocha and adjudged as a prelude to what Uche Nwosu will do or continue from his father-in-law and godfather, if he finally succeeds Governor Okorocha. And this portrayal is not good at all, but has been lanced into the lasting memories of Imolites by the carelessness of Gerald Okorocha.
If Gerald Okorocha is not aware of the dynamics of politics, the concept of volatility of local politics in the capital city of Owerri, and the idea of inherited gloominess resulting from past grievances some Imolites and APC members have for the Governor and his envisions, he should either resign from the present assignment of Imo Taxi painting or take precautions for he has demolished the highly laboured images of Governor Okorocha and his good son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, who is at the recipient end of any wicked and demeaning association in the present ruling party and government henceforth.
In the Gerald Okorocha-led painting contract, allegations of sleaze, threats and frustrations abound. Drivers are compelled to pay N60,000 for just painting that could be done for N20,000 or N25,000 at most. The drivers are also compelled to track their vehicles at N40,000 each. Bribes of N2, 000 to N5,000 are standard a�?sorting fee;a�� before being attended to. The painting arena has suddenly turned into annex bureau of internal revenue and licence office. Cars are never painted until car licences than road worthiness are ratified and accomplished, as well as emblems are bought to the last letter. Licences that have accrued for 3 years allegedly yield N21, 000.00, while those that have stayed up to 5 years yield N25,000.00. Meaning that before a vehicle will be painted, at least, between N25,000 and N35,000 is off from the poor transporters and Imolites pockets, who have children and families to take care of at this economic crisis. In every successfully painted 19 vehicles, 3 have their side mirrors, bumpers, windscreens, etc, broken in the course of the insane rush in the poorly planned and managed scheme of the Gerald Okorochaa��s painting contract, and these entail other set of expenses.
The worst part of this painting saga is the number of painters contracted for the job. They are very few, given the embarrassing milliard of cars parked for painting in obedience to the Governora��s order. At least 10 painters are needed there to facilitate and easy off the pains of travelling Imolites. The societal survival chain is broken by this gross mismanagement. People trek for miles, push and curse each other and the government before reaching their destinations and lately always. Then night comes. Rain has also returned and it worsens their plight. They curse the government and vow to disassociate themselves from Okorocha and whichever product he brings up.
What does it take Gerald Okorocha to organise the order for painting the vehicles? The uniformity intention of the painting policy and its security purposes are laudable, but mal-conceived by its planners. In good ordering procedure, taxis entering Owerri could be first banned until they are branded, and then after about 3 weeks, busses are banned until such or likely policies are accomplished. Then Sienna and short buses come later, than banning all vehicles at the same time and with totality, as well as the mal-administration and sleazes mentioned above.
More so, the painting could be zoned to the component 9 LGAs in Owerri zone, and 3 LGAs in each of Orlu and Okigwe zones, if the ban has to involve all categories of vehicles. This will facilitate the painting, making for quick outing of vehicles and thus ease off peoples frustrations on the road. Yesterday, a fat aged woman collapsed at Eco Bank junction opposite Prisons at Okigwe road. The woman trekked from Orji to the spot in order to get vehicle going to Relief Market. These sufferings and many more are replete in hour-basis and in every nook and cranny in Owerri at present, and have made Imolites, APC delegates, opposition parties, anti Rescue Mission government, and haters of Uche Nwosu to scream, a�?Are these, what we will suffer from Rochas if Uche Nwosu succeeds him? No, instead, let Labour Party or YPP rule us!a�? This is a slush for the Imo APC in general.
Most of these trekkers, fainters, drivers, people whose houses, shops and selling joints are demolished are the APC party delegates that Rochas and Uche Nwosu are lobbying to use in order to win the forthcoming APC primaries, and most of them are serpents of long memories, and have vowed paybacks. The generated public image these mismanagements have caused Governor Okorocha and his able son-in-law is very devastating. In fact they have nailed Uche Nwosu. The portraits above depict very ugly public image about Governor Rochas Okorocha and by association, Uche Nwosu, whom all see as continuity of Okorocha project in Imo State and are vowing to distance themselves from him. This is very detrimental to the fortunes of Uche Nwosu and Imo APC in the State.
SOURCE :The Nigerian Voice (opinions)