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The ills of Okorocha’s back to land policy – by FCC Jones


The ills of Okorocha’s back to land policy - by FCC Jones

I come from a state where my governor, though elected through the ballot boxes, acts like his office is an inheritance which no one can take away from him, and his actions are mostly determined by what he thinks and possibly at the spot, without giving a hoot as to what happens after. 

Call my governor, the ‘Impulse Governor’ and you may not be completely wrong.

Democracy is seen as a most welcomed system of government, because of its deliberate structures which discourage despotism. 

It is a popular democratic maxim that; “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” 

Uncontrolled power could lead to some level of mental problems, too. 

When a man is given authority to lead a people, it will only amount to some level of madness if he understands that to be, and begin to act like that is the same thing as ruining the same people. 

A leader who takes the people under his care for granted, will wake up one day to see himself being dragged to the gallows by the same people. 

It is important for a leader that he understands that he is there by the goodwill of the people, and by some degree of good fortune, not because those he has been appointed to lead are sub-humans to him.

Owelle Rochas Okorocha had said it several times that he is a no respecter of due process, arguing that due process delays governance. 

His Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Sam Onwuemedo took it a step further by telling a live radio program that the administration he serves cannot afford to obey everything the Constitution says or abide by every pronouncement of law courts, because that would make it difficult for them to do many things. 

I have not heard that the Imo State House of Assembly summoned the Governor or his Chief Press Secretary for questioning over such a terrible disavowal of democracy, and this failure on the part of this arm of our government drives home the tragedy of leadership my people have found themselves in. 

I called into the radio program on the day the Chief Press Secretary made this unfortunate statement and reminded him and the governor that they are some of the biggest beneficiaries of democracy and constitutionalism. 

The election of the Governor and his subsequent swearing in could not have happened if those who lost out as a result of that did not obey the Constitution.

From just granting an interview to some journalists in which he was quoted as ‘recommending’ that civil servants across the nation should have their work days pruned down in order to cut cost, the Governor issued a statement just two days after, directing civil servants in the State to take two days off every week, in order to have time to engage in farming or any other private business.

By this directive, civil servants in the State are supposed to be at work from Monday to Wednesday every week, while the remaining two working days of Thursday and Friday are to be used by the civil servants to go to their farms in line with the State government’s policy of encouraging agricultural development. 

While the statement does not say what will become of the salaries these civil servants are supposed to be earning, the Governor’s earlier pronouncement, indicating that this policy will ensure that civil servants’ salaries would be cut down in order to meet up with developmental aspirations of government, especially in this critical economic state of the nation.

The policy of having civil servants come to work from Mondays through Friday from 8:00am till 4:00pm or more as the case may be is not a mere verbal pronouncement or a policy that came from issuing press statements. 

This is something that has to do with the laws of the land. 

The Federal and State Civil Service Commissions, who are charged with the responsibility of creating and implementing rules and regulations for all Nigerian workers, are creations of the Constitution, and before any part of the rules they have set out can be altered, it has to go through the normal processes to amend such laws.

I do not believe that any part of the Nigerian Constitution is cast in rock, such that it cannot be changed, but any person, no matter how lowly or highly placed who does not feel comfortable with any part of the laws should know how to go about correcting such laws or provisions of the laws. 

This directive is one of the several affronts on the legislature by Governor Okorocha. Someone once told me that the Governor runs the State like there is no one in it, and I think I am beginning to chew that statement more seriously than I ever thought I would.

To be sure, I am for reforms. I do not believe that things should continue being the way they have been just because they have always been that way. 

Whatever has to be done to ensure good improvement in our economy and to improve the living standard of the common man should be seriously pursued, I am also in support of reforms and policies of government that ensure optimum productivity on the part of the Nigerian workforce. 

However, any reform that intends to sidestep the Constitution of the Federal Republic is not only anti-democracy, but also anti-people, because the people are protected by the Constitution. 

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