…By Prof. Protus Nathan Uzorma…
Jean de la Fontaine in his fable on ‘A Fool and a Wise Man,’ narrated that “a man, walking alone, was being bothered by a fool throwing stones at his head. Turning to face him, he said: ‘My dear chap, well thrown! Please accept these francs. You’ve worked hard enough to get more than mere thanks. Every effort deserves its reward. But see that man over there? He can afford more than I can. Present him with some of your stones: They’ll earn a good wage.” Lured by the bait, the stupid man run off to repeat the outrage on the other worthy citizen. This time he wasn’t paid in money for his stones. Up rushed serving-men, and seized him and thrashed him and broke all his bones.”
This Jean de la Fontaine’s fool had related to two masters with an after-thought intention. First, out of the innate impulse consolidated by his foolishness, and the latter out of the external influence absorbed by his tomfoolery mentality that one can out of natural deprivation make profitable existence.
One can make an analogy between de la Fontaine’s fool and the Imo political leadership: Between the former Imo State Governor, Chief Ikedi Ohakim and the present Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha. The brave Nigeria combatant, Umaru Dikko, once said ‘death na death, e done die be say e done die, wetin killam no mater much!’ This is a military conception of death in human reality, but a medical doctor instead would never accept that an octogerian died out of old age. No. But he can accept kidney or heart failure as cause of the death. We the Igbo believe that there are two categories of death: Onwu oma (good death) and onwu ojo (bad death).
This discrepancy is also found in stealing, both in private and public domains. There are two types of stealing: By gun or by pen. There are as well, better thieves and worse thieves. If every governor is a thief, then Ohakim was a thief and Okorocha is a thief too. Or in common Aristotelian syllogism, one can say that ‘every state Governor is a thief, Ohakim was a State Governor, therefore Ohakim was a thief.’ Similarly, one can as well say that ‘every state governor is a thief, Okorocha is a state governor, therefore Okorocha is a thief.’ This is pure syllogism that can be true or false.
Let’s assume that the declarations in the syllogism are true. Who among them is a better thief? Like Jean de la Fontaine’s fool, Chief Ohakim as governor and thief was like the wise man that the fool threw stones at. He quietly related Imolites assaults and pillory, had heavily embattled 38 months of leadership, was accused of embarking on elephant projects and deceiving Imolites with public projects that were inexistent, and many more. If true and unbiased Imolites can recall, were these projects inexistent? If they were, then Ohakim is an ancient thief. He was fire to Imolites but has God sent Imolites fire and thief in the person of Okorocha or brim-stones and thief?
Any woman that has married and divorced his first husband always has live-dialogic partner in her that perpetually makes a comparison between the first husband and the second. But the truth in existence is, inside her she supposed to know the best among them. Like the two experienced husbands, Ohakim and Okorocha have got married to Imolites, and like the one wife to many husbands, Imolites always make the live-comparison of who among them is a better wife.
Ohakim might not have done much as expected of him and made no boasts of his might, but has Okorocha lived to the expectations of Imo people? The entire roads he opened up in Imo state are today abandoned projects waiting for campaign period so that he’ll use them to make more influence and advantage over other contestants. They have been overtaken by erosion and bushes, worse than they have ever been. What of the gates that he made many believe he was on top of? How many have been completed? The 1,000Km roads, how far has it gone? How permanent has electricity and free kerosene he announced and gloried in been?
The school stipend, how regular has it been? Has the budget ended or is it still on? Who holds the budget money today and since then? Why would Okorocha make Imolites believe him that he has the good of them in mind and while sewing school uniforms for children in Primary and Secondary schools in the state, he went too far away China to give the contract? Are there no better tailors in Imo state, or any other state in Nigeria like Abia, Anambra, etc? He vowed to obey and abide by the rule of law, has Eze Ilomuanya that the Court reinstated assume his denied position? Have the flood victims of Ohaji, Egbema and Oguta got all that the Federal Government sent to them as relief through the state leadership? The town halls going on in each of the ISOPADEC communities, is there any not contracted to an Ideato man? Are there no indigenous contractors in the areas?
Okorocha at the peak of his plot to unseat the Deputy Governor, deceived Imolites with the fake accident at Orlu road, and seized the opportunity to step out of the country, so that he’ll claim to be hospitalised abroad when it happened. The JPROSS case and money, where is it today? Martin Buber once said, “Mundus vult decipi” (the world wants deceit). Niccolo Machiavelli, was aware of this natural inclination of man to desire the worst en guise of making comparisons and stated that “men are so simple of mind, and so much dominated by their immediate needs, that a deceitful man will always find plenty who are ready to be deceived.” No wonder Ohakim did not succeed for a second tenure. He was so direct and straight that all about him was known.
The 3rd Century Indian philosopher, Kautilya, was wise in advising that “one should not be too straightforward. Go and see the forest. The straight trees are cut down, the crooked ones are left standing.” Even the Jews saw a saviour and preferred him crucified and a thief released.
It is no doubt that Okorocha has milked Imo dry and continues portraying the aura of innocence. He is said to be people friendly, why did he dismiss the 10,000 jobs Ohakim gave the youths? The 4,000 and 7,000 second batch teachers to the Primary and Secondary schools, how many have been employed, even as the first term is going passed? Every autonomous community was urged and compelled to purchase forms for his CGC last year, many had 5-20 candidates whose money at last got wasted as there were no elections than appointment, this same November, he has again scheduled CGC elections. But certainly I know the hit and run driver, will not stand to conduct the election.
Mere looking at Okorocha and Ohakim as Governors (cum thieves), Okorocha has more complicated duplicity, pretence, faking, artificiality and insensitivity than Ohakim. He has no friend, no colleague and party, whoever questions him must be out of his cabinet and list of the good ones. These are the qualities of a better thief. Yet, that is what a world that wants deceit wants. He is the type that a state that abhors truth, honesty, straightforwardness and consistency wants.
Idres Shah in his tale, ‘The Indian Bird,’ possibly prefigured Imolites abhorrence to truth and preference to deceit when he narrated that ‘A merchant kept a bird in a cage. He was going to India, the land from which the bird came, and asked it whether he could bring anything back for it. The bird asked for its freedom, but was refused. So he asked the merchant to visit a jungle in India and announce his captivity to the free birds who were there. The merchant did so, and no sooner had he spoken when a bird, just like his own, fell senseless out of a tree on to the ground.
The merchant thought that this must be a relation of his own bird, and feel sad that he should have caused his death. When he got home, the bird asked him whether he had brought good news from India. “No”, said the merchant, “I fear that my news is bad. One of your relations collapsed and fell at my feet when I mentioned your captivity.” As soon as these words were spoken, the merchant’s bird collapsed and fell to the bottom of the cage. “The news of his kinsmen’s death has killed him too,” thought the merchant. Sorrowfully, he picked up the bird and put it on the windowsill. At once the bird revived and flew to a nearby tree. “Now you know,” the bird said, “that what you thought was disaster was in fact good news for me. And how the message, the suggestion of how to behave in order to free myself, was transmitted to me through you, my captor.” And he flew away, free at last.” So shall Okorocha and his deceit be in Imo State, having milked it driest and will fly away unplanned.