Last week, Governor Rochas Okorocha announced at an interactive forum with stake-holders from Isiala Mbano that he had built a guest house for their son, Chief Ikedi Ohakim (his predecessor) “in keeping with the provisions of the law”. He said he would also build similar guest houses for Chief Achike Udenwa and other past governors – Sam Mbakwe and Evan Enwerem.
The question arises: is the building of guest houses for past governors who lived in opulence, a priority on our hands at this austere times? Whatever the law says in this regard, does the same enactment exclude other fellow Nigerians who served the country and retired in penury?
It has become somewhat fashionable in our society to speak from both sides of the mouth. We plan noble causes to entrench sanity in our political system, and at the same time, short-circuit such a plan!
For instance, has it not been said at all quarters that our legislators, both state and federal, should be placed on part-time basis in order to cut the cost of governance?
Instead of implementing this noble idea to lessen the allure for political offices, our leaders take delight in doing the reverse.
Our leaders scoff at the idea of making politics less attractive to return sanity in governance.
Befitting guest houses for four past governors would cost Imo State billions of naira which, if expediency is our hallmark, would have been used to settle piles of arrears of pensions and gratuities, including non-payment of some retired staff of Imo Newspapers Ltd and IBC now languishing in penury after many years of disengagement.
We are not questioning the said provisions of the law to accord past administrators of the state such recognition, but should we be pumping water into an overflowing tank. Looks like carrying coal to Enugu!
Another knotty question: does the dead deserve a guest house while in the grave? Who are their prospective guests? Do we also respect the rules as they concern thousands of dead pensioners in the state? Without prejudice to the memory of the departed patriots who served as governors in Imo State, we are in the main, at war with the scope of prevailing profligacy amongst our political leaders in the dispensation of people’s money at their own discretion.
Let common sense prevail.