By Ugo Egbujo
ABUJA (Sundiata Post) I was in Owerri two weeks ago. I will repeat. Rochas is not the terrible governor statues and ministry of happiness have been used to create out of him.
Yes he may lack a little in sobriety. But he isn’t one lazy laggard committed to thievery. We had those in the past. Their supporters didn’t hate corruption.
The Owerri I know today is the work of a restless governor. He may be short on quality. But he hasn’t been indolent. He may be a land grabber. Many governors grab lands. But he is not laid back. he may be limited by intellect. I don’t know. But he compensates with his restlessness.
I know his shortcomings. I also know his strengths
The problem with those who have become his sworn enemies is that they have chosen selective vision. How anyone who was happy with the governors in Imo since 1999 finds moral outrage against Rochas baffles me.
I have been to Port Harcourt. I have been to Asaba. I have been around Awka. I have seen Aba. I have known Owerri since I was born. The noise is a little irritating.
Okay he is a little megalomanic. He is even aloof to the spears drawn against him. So he leaves enough for mockers, for their happiness. Yes he feeds his detractors. So he is, in part, responsible for what has befallen him.
He lets those choking with bigotry vent it through respectable openings his enduring penchant for frivolity has created. Even those held bound by savages come to matters of Imo to find mirth.
Owerri has developed remarkably. The are a million visible signs of activity. Okigwe road is now so big , traffic jam has been banished. Control post at Assumpta cathedral was once a nightmare. It has been delivered from the demonic clutches of traffic snarls. Hotels are everywhere. Night life booms. These investors are not stupid.
Most of these investors are not from Imo. I have friends from Anambra trooping to Owerri to build huge hotels. They are not mad. They overlooked Awka. They are tired of Enugu . Owerri is the new hospitality heaven in the Southeast.
Yes Prostitution and such business have become rife. Runs girls litter the town. Strip bars are sprouting too. These features accompany greater urbanization. Rents have skyrocketed. Property prices have hit the roof.
Owerri was once rural. Now land costs more in Owerri than Aba and Onitsha. Something caused it. Owerri properties are now as expensive as Port Harcourt if not more. Think! Everywhere you go you meet new roads. New houses are everywhere.
Anyone who hasn’t been to Owerri in the last 7 years would be lost in it. Yet it is the statues only that catch our fancy. It is the ministry of happiness that makes the news.
The man has his quirks.
This is not a defense of Rochas. It is the removal of the fig leaves around the groin of voluptuous enchanting hypocrisy.
Those from Anambra who have no one single livable town are mocking too. Many from an Aba renowned for filth and lawlessness are guffawing.
Owerri must be the most improved town in the south east in the last 5 years. But it is the town where an Aturu Awusa rules.