Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha was in one of his best elements at the weekend when he bared his mind to media executives during a supposed breakfast session held in Government House, Owerri.
In an interactive session with Members of the Independent Newspapers Publishers Association, INPA, Okorocha made starting revelations about his administration that has crossed midway of the four years.
The Imo State Government disclosed that contrary to insinuations and negative publicity from newsmen, he is determined to take the state to greater heights adding that his government is open for accessibility since he has nothing to hide.
According to Okorocha, “There is nothing to hide in my administration. I run an open government as you can see. That place you people saw is where my office is located. I take decisions there in the open. I have no skeleton in my cupboard and there is nothing to hide”.
Addressing the owners and publishers of Owerri based private print media outfits, Okorocha while soliciting for proper and investigative journalism gave kudos to the local operators for making the state the only one in the country where local tabloids flourish.
On his testimony since 2011, Okorocha said that he has so far delivered on his mandate if his achievements are anything to go by. According to him, his massive road construction projects, free education at all levels, building of 27 general hospitals across the state and infrastructure renewal is second to none, stating that he ranks high among his predecessors in terms of giving the state a facelift. While enjoining newsmen to be objective and constructive in their reports, Okorocha requested that where he has also excelled should get vintage positions in their medium. He further expressed that his choice of one of the Owerri-based publishers as his new Senior Special Assistant on Media, is not only designed to carry the media along but also to solicit the partnership of the Independent Newspaper Association members.
The event offered the Governor the opportunity to explain reasons why he dumped APGA for APC adding that the massive defection of elective and non electives politicians from other parties to APC vindicates his earlier action.
“I saw it from afar. I saw it yesterday that APC will be the people’s choice to take away power from PDP. “PDP has no future for Ndi Igbo and we have nothing in PDP. But in APC there is something for us. You can see I am the Chairman of progressive governors”, he added.
Okorocha who did not mention anything about his future political ambition or elective designation in 2015, however, opined that the coast is clearer for him now. “I saw it yesterday, from what is happening in out polity the coast is clearer for me now”.
The Governor who expressed dismay over negative reports about his regime denied ever building a mosque near the Government House gate.
Said he; a newspaper wrote that I am building a mosque. It is not true. The building you see near the Christmas village, on (Govt House road) is a shop, a kind of shopping mall for certain unique accessories. According to him, those spreading the rumour of the mosque in Owerri are purveyors of falsehood.
On the recent bank strike in the state, Okorocha blamed the defaulting bankers especially, the Bankers Forum in Owerri, led by one Ray Ahumibe for the closure. While stating that the action of government was based on court action, the governor berated the bankers’ body for engaging in unprofessional approach to the issue. Okorocha however disclosed that he would ask Imo people to drag the defaulting banks to court and claim damages for the days it shut down its offices.
“They came here and in the course of interaction, I discovered that the Bankers body that caused the strike is an illegal body that is not registered. Just a forum for bankers. I can write to CBN to sanction the banks and ask Imo people to drag them to court and seek N20b damages”.
Meanwhile the official pictures of all the Governors that ruled Imo State, both those of the Military era and Civilian are conspicuously missing from the seat of Government, Douglas House, Owerri.
This strange discovery was made recently when Independent Newspaper Publishers Association, Imo State paid a visit to the Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha.
Although there was a great face lift in the premises of Imo Government, the absence of the pictures of these past leaders from the usual points they used to be at the Government House, was a big over-sight to the present occupants of the Douglas House.
Apart from the pictures of the incumbent Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, and that of the President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, there were no other official pictures in the seat of power.
Previously before now, the pictures of all those who ruled Imo State, right from “Commander” Ndubisi Kalu, were officially hung at strategic points in the Government House Owerri.
Such places were the Multipurpose Hall, the State Executive Council Chamber and the official living room of the Governor.
Apart from the Military Governors, Imo State had had four elected Governors before the incumbent Owelle Rochas Okorocha. They were Dr Sam Mbakwe, Senator Evan Enwerem, Dr Achike Udenwa and Chief Ikedi Ohakim.
During the regimes of Mbakwe, all the pictures of the past Military Administrators donned the walls of the Multipurpose Hall and Exco Chamber.
When Senator Enwerem assumed office, he retained the pictures and added that of Mbakwe on the wall.
Therefore, when Achike Udenwa came into office, it became his responsibility to hang the picture of his predecessor to the list, Senator Evan Enwerem, which he did.
In the same vein, Ohakim put that of Udenwa on that rare list of honour.
But unfortunately, since nearly three years now Governor Rochas Okorocha assumed office, the ritual changed as none of the pictures could be traced any where, except that of the Governor, and the incumbent President.
A source from Government House who spoke to Trumpeta on anonymity said the action was not deliberate as the pictures were removed temporarily due to the massive reconstruction going on in the premises.
Asked why that of President Jonathan and Okorocha were hung, while that of former Governors were removed, despite the reconstructions, the source said the pictures will soon be placed in their usual places.
Reminded that the constructions going on at the Douglas House have concluded over a year ago, and yet the pictures were yet to return to their former historical positions, Trumpeta was told that the pictures will soon grace their positions the moment the constructions were over.