I am hearing that the Anambra State governor, Chief Willie Obiano has called for a truce on the media war he ill-advisedly ignited against his counterpart from Imo State.
On his part, the Imo State chief executive and chairman of Progressive Governors’ Forum is said to have instructed his media aides to freeze any further media exchanges with the Anambra State Chief executive, as he concerns himself with delivering more dividends of democracy to the people of Imo State and providing the needed direction to the Igbos especially, and Nigeria in general in his capacity as not just the official leader of all governors in his Party, but by virtue of his inspirational personality, which has seen majority of Nigerians look up to him for direction and leadership.
The Imo chief executive and undisputed vision bearer of the entire Igbo race nay Nigeria, rightly feels that there are more pressing issues to give his time and energy to.
While the appointees of the government are bound by such directive by the governor, independent writers like us may not be so bound, especially as there are contentious issues raised by the Anambra State government that are yet to be resolved.
While I am aware that majority of Nigerians are informed about the history of Owelle Rochas Okorocha long before he became governor of Imo State, I feel, it bears repeating, especially for the benefit of those whom doubts may have crept into their minds since that obnoxious and irresponsible press release which some mischievous media houses have being feasting on, twisting whichever way best suits their naughty goals.
For a start, while not trying to restart the diatribe between these two brothers, it is important to situate how and why this happened in the first place.
Governor Obiano apparently had something boiling in his heart against the Imo State governor, if not, there is no reason why an obviously benign remark by the Imo State governor should get the kind of malicious and disrespectful response it got from Obiano, whose name was not mentioned by Governor Okorocha in the speech that Obiano claims generated this whole heat.
The Imo Governor, who is presently the longest serving governor among his colleagues in the southeast and also the only APC governor in the Southeast; held a meeting with his Party members and in that meeting he informed those present that about two Southeast governors have being reaching out to him on their plans to join the ruling APC, and as a leader, he made it clear that he has encouraged them to come over.
There is no way, the governor of Anambra State was mentioned in this matter and there is no excuse for the venom he poured out on a man who meant no harm to him.
The fact that the other three governors from the Southeast did not react to that statement, makes it clear that Governor Obiano is a man after mischief and also in the minority in this whole saga.
For a man who does not feel any qualms commanding and watching in delight as his brothers and sisters were slaughtered by rampaging military men during a peaceful protest embarked on by the members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), and for a governor who has fallen out with virtually all respected Igbo leaders of note, it will not be out of place to suspect that he is troubled by the imminence of a Southeast united in the struggle for the political emancipation of the entire Southeast.
But, Why always Obiano? (apologies to Mario Balotelli). Obiano has quarreled with virtually every Igbo leader worth the name. Obiano has quarreled with Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Obiano has quarreled with his mentor and predecessor, Chief Peter Obi, Obiano has quarreled with Maxi Okwu, Obiano has quarreled with Ifeanyi Ubah, Obiano is quarreling with majority of Anambra people and if our own Ikemba Odimegwu Ojukwu was still here with us, Obiano would have as well insulted him.
There is no doubt that Governor Obiano’s barrage of releases was all riddled with lies and empty claims. How do you take a government that claims to have built countless number of bridges, schools, hospitals and roads, seriously?
A truthful government would have simply mentioned where these projects are and told us the accurate number of such projects, if they truly exist.
The choice of UNCOUNTABLE as adjective in talking about delivery of projects is clearly as a result of the non-existence of most of these projects.
Information available to me indicates that most of the projects being claimed by Governor Obiano are projects put in place by either his immediate predecessor or Dr. Chris Ngige.
What you cannot take away from Chief Obiano however, is the fact that he rules by billboards as he is always fast to set up billboards at the sites of projects long completed before he assumed office, while others which have a little of his signature on them are the ones that had reached at least 85% completion before he took over power.
The truth is that, if we can count the actual number of people living in Anambra State, there is no reason why we cannot count the number of infrastructural projects built for them within the last three years of Obiano’s administration.
Talking about inspiration, Okorocha is a walking inspiration to anyone whose heart is open enough to be inspired.
Apart from the inspiration one can draw from the Imo governor’s success story, his power of oratory which is second to none in today’s Nigeria and his compassionate leadership track records, Okorocha is one of those politicians who should have a course dedicated to studying their styles in top universities of the world.
Intelligent, passionate, creative, result-oriented, tactical, humane and enigmatic, Okorocha is certainly who a leader should be and any leader desirous of success must understudy him.
Obiano’s loud failures in governance may not be unconnected to his reluctance to be inspired by one of Africa’s most respectable leaders ever.
Asking about the antecedent of Owelle Rochas Okorocha before he became governor is the height of mischief.
Okorocha who is seven years younger to Obiano had recorded so much success as an entrepreneur long before Obiano could boast of any legitimate One Hundred Thousand Naira of his own.
Okorocha is one of the few Nigerian politicians who are proud to talk about how they made their first One Million Naira and where they made it from.
If Okorocha was one of those who had to steal from their employers or cut corners in their places of work in order to meet up with some financial demands, he would not be proud to tell his story of ‘Rags to Riches’.
Chief Obiano whose only history is having worked in the bank and in an oil processing company must have being a beneficiary of Okorocha’s benevolence if facts are properly traced.
As at 1970, when Willie Obiano could only depend on whatever is provided by his parents to eat, Okorocha’s sense of industry had already manifested as he took to hawking oranges on the streets of Jos in order to make ends meet, not just for himself but also for his family.
Unlike Obiano, Okorocha had every excuse in the world not to turn out well, but he refused to give that excuse a chance to fly, rather he gave life reasons not to have excuses for not making him prosper.
As at 1971 when Okorocha had bought his first television set, Chief Obiano who is actually seven years older than his Imo State counterpart, could not boast of buying a less than a kobo worth of pencil, without having to cry to his parents to buy it for him.
As at 1976 and at the age of 14, while the now Governor Obiano was still in the university, running home every weekend to beg for feeding money from his parents and relatives, Okorocha who had a far more humble family background, had become wealthier than Obiano’s parents and maybe the wealthiest bread winner in Obiano’s kindred as he had already purchased his own car at the age of fourteen.
It will be a surprise to learn that more than ten people already owned a car in the entire Aguleri where Obiano hails from in 1976, yet, as at that time Okorocha had already owned not just anyhow car, but a bus. His choice of buying a bus instead of other luxury cars reveals the industry, humility, entrepreneurial drive and a good sense of management in the young Okorocha.
He chose to buy the kind of car which would help him grow in his business ventures, instead of buying luxury cars with which he would enjoy life as a youth.
For Obiano who didn’t have to save from Kobo to Naira, then to tens of Naira, to hundreds, to thousands, to millions and then to Billions of Naira even before crossing the age of thirty, it is easy to understand his bewilderment at the success story of Governor Okorocha.
For Obiano who took the easy way to life, by going for salaried employment, instead of opening up a business of his own, we can understand his feeling terribly inferior to his Imo State counterpart.
There is no other way to explain Obiano’s resort to name calling, if not the fact that he is feeling intimidated by the profile and antecedent of the Imo governor.
I can assure the former banker and accountant that the best way to catch up with someone you envy is not by hating him, but by befriending him and learning his tricks of success from him.
Obiano started off in life in 1981, as at which time Okorocha had become a millionaire and a household name in most Northern States, as his businesses were everywhere in that part of the country.
While Obiano, after training as an accountant in the University of Lagos, started off as a supervisor in First Bank, those who had risen to managerial positions in that same bank and other banks like it were already falling all over Owelle Rochas Okorocha begging to be made his account officers.
The fact is that Okorocha’s had not only become a successful entrepreneur before Obiano got weaned off his parents’ apron strings, but was already mentoring Obiano’s superiors to wealth and professional growth.
What is not in doubt is that Okorocha has built a history of integrity over the years, and this is the only reason why the bloody son of very parents could bestride the business environment of Northern Nigeria like a colossus even at a very tender age.
He did not just jump into wealth, he built his wealth overtime through hard work, sincerity and creativity.
At less than 25 years of age, Okorocha worked himself into becoming one of the commissioned agents that sold off the equipment used by a construction outfit; Balfour Beatty after the construction of the Balanga Dam.
His proceeds from this business fetched him his first 1.1 million Naira, which was equivalent to One Million Dollars and today’s equivalent of about half a Billion Naira.
I do not think governor Obiano would be proud to declare up to 500 Million Naira in his assets declaration form even today, more than 35 years after governor Okorocha could have proudly and without fear declared more than that.
Hungry for success, not just for its sake, but for what he knows he could use his financial success to do for humanity, Chief Okorocha did not retire back home to enjoy his money.
Rather, he denied himself the comfort and pleasure of being a young millionaire at a time when there were very few of them in the entire Africa.
He understood that the secret to the sustenance of success is more work, hence, he invested all that money into buying fairly used cars and also investment into real estate dealings.
Like the recently inaugurated President of the United States of America and most world leaders in both business and politics, Okorocha was an entrepreneur who had a good eye for investments and he invested massively in real estate.
This is after he had delved into other business interests like ownership of a commercial secondary school, dealership in cement and other building materials, then dealing in new cars.
There are few Nigerians who didn’t know of ‘Rochas Motors’ and I will be surprised if Willie Obiano is one of these few Nigerians.
Long before the restoration of democratic rule in Nigeria, the now governor Okorocha had become very powerful and influential around political circles and there was hardly any Nigerian President who didn’t know him.
He was a power broker, who was highly respected within power circles as a result of his intelligence, his massive wealth and business concerns, and especially for his touch with the ordinary whom he has always made himself available to serve.
He was a commissioner on the Federal Character Commission and was later elected to represent Ideato Federal Constituency as a member of the National Constitutional Conference.
Could Obiano’s men please help to tell us where Chief Willie Obiano was at this time?
It is laughable that Chief Obiano gloats about having being an international auditor to Chevron Oil.
As at the time he was a staff of Chevron, Okorocha had more competent auditors and accountants managing his chain of businesses across Africa.
Obiano would have being one of Okorocha’s staff and maybe gloat about it, if he was confident of passing the interview exams.
It is clear that while Okorocha has always being a creator of employments, Obiano gloats about being a seeker of employment.
Leadership is about preparedness and there are few politically leaders in today’s Nigeria who are better prepared and as politically experienced as Owelle Rochas Okorocha.
As at 1998, when Chief Obiano was still gallivanting from one job or the other at either Texaco or Fidelity Bank and before he could even attain the position of director in any of these organizations, Okorocha had garnered enough clout to push for the governorship ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] to become governor of Imo State and if not for hire-wired horse trading and sabotages, Okorocha who was the overwhelming choice of the people would have emerged governor in that election.
In 2003, while Obiano was celebrating his elevation to the position of Executive Director at Fidelity Bank, Okorocha was on the verge of being crowned the presidential candidate of one of Nigeria’s foremost political Parties, the All Nigerian Peoples’ Party (ANPP), before his intimidating popularity and massive campaign infrastructure made those who feel they owned the Party avoid an open primaries, because they were certain of his victory.
Academically, governor Okorocha does not claim to have being the bookish type, but his love for education and his brain power are acknowledged by all who dare to investigate him.
As a man who didn’t have wealthy parents to take him through school, he must be praised for not totally neglecting his academic life.
He has always combined education with his entrepreneurial endeavors; yet, his brilliance in academics cannot be questioned.
At Juladaco High School, Jos where he had his secondary education, he was rated as one of the most brilliant students, while his latter educational pursuits were at the prestigious University of Jos, where he obtained both his diploma and Advanced Diploma in Public Administration.
For Obiano who does not know how much was expended on the campaign that brought him to power nor knows where the meetings that ensured his emergence as a governor to question the antecedent of a man who has aspired to be President of this country twice, floated a formidable political Party in this country, heads one of the biggest political families in Nigeria of today, connected with some of the topmost political and business leaders from across the world, makes it pertinent to cross-check what he has being consuming, for it is possible that some things that enters his system are not healthy for him.
It is important to remind Chief Obiano that governor Okorocha recently won a re-election to complete his constitutionally allowed eight years tenure.
That is a bridge, Chief Obiano will have to confront in a few months’ time.
As bad this media war was, I think it should have provided Chief Obiano and his aides a grand opportunity to tell Anambra electorates what they have being doing in power for close to four years, but they failed woefully.
Imo electorates have reaffirmed their confidence in the inspirational, purposeful and effective leadership of Chief Rochas Anayo Okorocha, and November won’t be long in coming before we know what Anambra electorates have to tell Chief Obiano, till then, good luck to him.
Onwuasoanya FCC Jones