People Politics and Policy

The Curious Acts of Rochas Okorocha, Updated

The (mis)deeds of Mr Rochas Okorocha are becoming like a nursery-rhyme; curious is not the word to describe them, but do excuse me. They seem to be new every morning that it is only news when he appears to have done something that does not draw negative attention.

For the purpose of record-keeping, here are the five of the most recent Roch-acts (yea, a new word), embellished with announcers for effect the Governor will surely appreciate:


Apparently he said this, literally. The tweet appears to have been deleted (if it was actually posted) but there are screenshots of a retort directed at Japeth Omojuwa, a popular youth influencer, from the verified handle of Mr Rochas Okorocha. Apparently, Omojuwa’s “stupidity” was for making jest of the wisdom of erecting a statue for the Jacob Zuma “President of South African Republic” (according to the plaque of the unveiling), referencing Nyesom Wike’s handshake and photograph with Real Madrid football star Cristiano Ronaldo.

Via @omojuwa on Twitter

Like other gaffes of his: deleted but not forgotten. At least there is one way to get under his skin and make him listen, when he seems averse to critique based on reason.


For now, we can confirm Mr Zuma has a statue close to Freedom Park in Owerri with the unveiling on October 14 that has sparked the latest Rochas puzzlement. But six more are under the covers waiting for their date with the tape. If the ‘African Presidents Visit Imo’ banners are our clue, the streets of Owerri will soon be overseen by the monuments of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, outgoing Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Ghanian President, Nana Akufor-Addo and President Buhari of Nigeria. The Zuma statue is said to have cost about N520 million to put up; the salary and pensions backlog currently owed by the Okorocha administration is at least 13 months long.

Thinking ahead, what chieftaincy title will President Buhari be given? And will he be present to receive it himself?


As part of the celebrations of the birthday of the Imo State Governor, twenty-seven cakes – one from each Local Government – was presented to him, supposedly by women of the state. A Governor’s birthday is not a state affair but Mr Okorocha would not be denied the delight of being on the lips of everyone for attracting more media attention to his person and breaking such a record for number of cakes.


Perhaps the more befuddling of the Rochas Okorocha shows in recent memory was the floating of what was posed as a state airline. No sober person has confirmed what the official name is – Imo Air, Imo Dana, Dana Air Imo – but Mr Okorocha certainly did think it a good idea to put the name of the state on one or two airplanes operated by Dana Air with a crowd gathered for a chant of “My people My people”.


Remember the billboard of a picture of Mr Okorocha shaking hands with Barack Obama? Same Rochas.

There is the potentially more serious ethical matter of using the privilege of being Governor of the State to secure benefits for his private entity, the Rochas Foundation. But hold on to your grudge cup; it is not yet full and running over. This list will be updated soon, if the Governor of Owerri will be true to his character.


By Alexander O. Onukwue

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