For the better part of a year now, tales of the absurd have been emanating from Imo State. From non-payment of workers' salaries to wasting the state's scant resources on the erection of statues of local and African leaders, the state has become the butt of caricature on social media and elsewhere. But if Nigerians thought they had seen and heard the last of such absurdities, they were wrong, as the latest appointment by the Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha, of his blood sister as the Commissioner for Happiness and Couples' Fulfilment, topped the charts.
Okorocha's sister, Mrs Ogechi Ololo, according to reports, was among 28 commissioners and 27 transition committee chairmen sworn in by Okorocha.
As if appointing his blood sister into his cabinet was not bad enough, the portfolio given to her is certainly one that could win him an Oscar. The portfolio, as earlier mentioned, is ''Commissioner for Happiness and Couples' Fulfilment''. (Although it was later change to “Purpose fulfilment”)
Now, it is very evident to all Nigerians that the Imo State governor has reduced governance to pettiness. The things he does when his people are groaning under the economic hardship hardly exalt him as a great leader. Firstly, why expend millions on statues of others when workers are still crying to be paid? Of what relevance are those statues, especially when some of those whose statues have been made are far from being anyone's role models?
We recall the uproar earlier raised by the statue of South African president, Jacob Zuma. The uproar was even louder from Zuma's people in South Africa who wondered what the Imo State Governor saw in a man who was rated very poorly by his own people back in South Africa. But Okorocha had gone ahead to erect a giant statue in his honour at tax payers' expense.
Today, the trending story is about the strange appointment of his sibling into his cabinet and the stranger nature of her portfolio. Really, has Rochas lost it? This must not be what his people voted him into office to do. The problems of Imo State are beyond what statues and frivolous appointments can solve. Governance is a serious business and the sooner Okorocha is made to realize this, the better for his people and the image of governance in that state.
We urge his fellow Southeast governors, the Church and traditional institution in Imo State, to call Okorocha aside and point out to him some areas he needs to improve in case he does not know. Such things we see and hear from Imo State are not things that should be encouraged to stand, else they begin to look like the norm.
Should things continue to happen the way they have in Imo State, it would not be any great surprise if the suffering masses lost their patience soon.
This is the time for elders and stakeholders to call Rochas to order. When these people and respected institutions fail to act when appropriate, it is society that suffers.