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09.06.2011 Feature Article


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Governor Rochas Anayo Okorocha of Imo State has announced the sack of the Council Chairmen and Councillors of Imo state and the Development Areas despite advise from several persons not to do so . According to Okorocha, the present council system is characterised by corruption and indiscipline and has totally lost the confidence of the people. The governor also announced the suspension of what he called 'the so called Ohakim 10,000 jobs' By this action ,10.000 employed graduates of Imo state working in various ministries in the state have lost their jobs. Others that received the bitter leaf soup of the governor are the State Council of Traditional Rulers headed by Eze Cletus Ilomuanya and the Acting Vice-Chancellor of Imo State University Professor Osy Nwebo

I have said it that one thing that I see that may throw spanner in the works of the Okorocha´s administration if not put under control is the governor´s quick temper. His hot head makes him to make hasty decision not minding the legal implications of his actions. The governor easily jumps into a fray. His actions in recent times are evidence of bad legal advisers around him.Example of bad legal advisers at work is the sacking of council chairmen in Imo State and the disengagement of 10,000 workers. These are hasty decisions and unhealthy ones too.

To me the governor is stepping on the toes of the law. There are actions a newly elected governor should avoid due to sensitivity and consequences. Why do we have to make 10,000 persons jobless simply because we hate the man who employed them. Majority of the disengaged workers fought for the election of the governor believing that a Daniel has come to save Imo state. You can imagine how the governor wants to repay them for their votes, by throwing them into the unemployment market. The beneficiaries of the 10,000 jobs offered by the immediate past governor of Imo State, Chief Ikedi Ohakim have staged a peaceful protest on the major roads of Owerri, against the suspension of the programme by Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha. One of the affected workers while speaking with me on phone was weeping like a baby. To him the governor has left them unprepared to function in our modern economy.

Who doesn't know that the sacking of elected LGA chairmen is an illegality that cannot stand the test of time or the scrutiny of a competent court of jurisdiction. They are democratically elected officials of councils and have specific period to be in office. This dissolution of elected council officials run contrary to the Constitution that recognises councils as the third tier of government. The sacked local government area chairmen have filed suits to challenge the matter in the law court.

I remember in November 2010 when the Nigerian House of Representatives condemned the dissolution of the Ekiti State Local Government Councils by Ekiti State Government before the expiration of their term of office and directed the Accountant General of the Federation to withhold all funds due the 16 Local Governments until the Local Government Chairman are returned to their offices. The House of Representatives passed the resolution that federal allocation to Ekiti, Edo, and Ondo States be stopped until their sacked council Chairmen are reinstated

Another example of bad legal advisers at work is the sponsoring of an illegal impeachment of Chief Goodluck Nanah Opiah as the Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly with only eleven members of the house just five days to the expiration of the tenure of Opiah. Imo State House of Assembly has 27 members and impeachment of the speaker in accordance with the provision of the Nigerian constitution and the House Rules require 2/3 of members of the house. Eleven members resorted into legislative lawless by breaking into the chambers and announcing the

impeachment of the speaker. The members were instigated by Okorocha to embark on a vendetta mission against the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state. Chief Goodluck Nanah Opiah and ten other members of the Imo State House of Assembly have gone to court to challenge the impeachment of the Speaker and his Deputy by 11 members of the House. The purported suspension and removal of Opiah from office is unlawfull and illegal and cannot stand the test of time or the scrutiny of a competent court of jurisdiction

Okorocha attitude is like that of the biblical Rehoboam. In the bible ,Zadok the priest took Rehoboam and made him king, and he anointed him and performed for him whatsoever the Law demanded. The people of Isreal set him upon the king's mule, and said unto him, "All hail! Long live the royal father!" and the city resounded with cries, and the trumpet was blown. He was forty-one years old when he became king. Seven days after Rehoboam was made king, the people of Isreal gathered themselves together to him , and they said unto him, "Lighten for us our labour, for thy father made it very heavy in the hewing of wood, and in the dressing of stone, and in making wagons for bringing down cedar wood '

And Rehoboam took counsel with the councillors and the elders of the house of the king, and they said unto him, "Answer them graciously. For at this present thou art like a young animal and thy loins are not able to bear the yoke. And now, speak unto them graciously, and say unto them, 'I will do for you everything ye wish.' And when thy hand hath gotten power over them thou canst do with thy people what thou wishest." And Rehoboam drove out the elders and brought in the foolish young men who had been brought up with him. And he took counsel with them, and told them of the message which the house of Isreal had sent to him and what the elders of the house of the king had counselled him to do and the foolish young men advised the king to show no weakness to the people, and to tax them even more, which Rehoboam did. He proclaimed to the people,

"Whereas my father laid upon you a heavy yoke, so shall I add tenfold thereto. Whereas my father tortured you with whips, so shall I chastise you with scorpions. For my littlest finger is thicker than my father's loins; and your backs, which bent like reeds at my father's touch, shall break like straws at my own touch. And if ye will not do my command, I will make your cattle my plunder, and your children shall be captives, and my knife of slaughter shall consume you. And I will seize your cities and your fields, and your plantations, and your wells, and your gardens, and your lands, and your fruit and I will bind your honourable ones in chains of iron, and your riches shall provide food for my servants, and your women shall be for the adornment of the house of my nobles. And I will not alter this my decision, and will not diminish it, and I will neither make it to be a lie nor to have no effect; and I will carry it out quickly, and will write it down for ever.'

And the people all rose up together in anger, and they said, "Get back to your houses, O Isreal. Have we none else whom we can make king save in the house of Judah and in the house of Benjamin? We will reject their houses and the men of both of them. Jacta alea est.The die is cast. Imo people are watching

-Kenneth Uwadi writes from Mmahu-Egbema,Imo State,Nigeria

Kenneth Uwadi
Kenneth Uwadi, © 2011

The author has 91 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: KennethUwadi

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