Iberiberism was made popular by the immediate past Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, during a television interview and it has since gone viral on the social media. The Ogboko, Ideato south born politician, actually derived the expression from the Igbo word iberibe, meaning a foolish or negative act.
Honestly speaking, the past administration of Owelle Okorocha was known for many things both for positive and negative. In as much as one cannot just write off his government, especially in the areas of free education and opening up some roads. However, about 80 percent of his activities as the Imo governor seemed to be on negative side of the news, which made many Imo and other citizens both at home and abroad to become uncomfortable with happenings in the state.
For instance, following Okorocha’s penchant for molding statues for various categories of VIPs, Imo citizens found elsewhere, are often derided with the words like, ”akpola gi” which means have you been molded . This type of comic expression has continued since he started the statue molding spree.
In the case of Imo pensioners, their dilemma during the period, made them to become the worst deprived elders in the history of the state. They were always subjected to regular verification which at the end of the day yielded nothing as many months are still being owed, because the government took no real practical or sincere action to pay them.
In the area of projects and construction, the government did not perform better. Not because it could not provide as many projects as possible, but due to the fact that the many that were provided fell short, as they were not of high quality and mostly poorly done, especially the roads, which damaged just few weeks after construction. Many people really accused the government of using artisans who implored just shovels and wheel barrows, instead of the normal heavy duty construction equipment used by recognized Civil Engineering companies, as it is done in other parts of Nigeria and beyond.
Also, at a time Imo was seen as the State with highest number of halls built by a state government. But in spite of criticism by the people, those halls continued to spring up in various parts of the State and unfortunately as at today most of them, if not all are not in use or taken over by weeds and reptiles.
The general believe among the people concerning the projects executed by the rescue mission government, is that they do not stand the test of time and are mainly of no importance to the people, both economically and otherwise, as they are mainly block houses not geared towards creating wealth or even generating employment, therefore are mostly sources of wastes.
Another serious negative action of the government, was the unbelievable act of demolishing people’s houses, business premises and even markets all in the name of urban renewal, an act which was seen by many as targeting to destroy people’s sources of income and survival. Several individuals were shocked at the extent of damage caused by the demolitions, which include destruction of water pipelines, which were put in place by the previous administrations, original gutters and other drainage systems. As at today, Imo has not recovered from the effects of those damages. For instance, whenever it rains heavily in Owerri, the whole place is always completely flooded as the government had no solution to it. This is because it is always easy to destroy than to rebuild.
As Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha now presides over the administration of Imo State, many people have already started seeing him as the Messiah that would bring the real rescue mission agenda, because of his antecedent as a strait forward man, who not only has conscience, but is also sincere in his attitude to work.
He is not the kind of person who thrives on frivolities, but a serious minded personality who believes in consultation, due process and rule of law. Ihedioha is that person whose words is always his bond and not the one who promises one thing and embarks in another, as witnessed in the administration of the past government. In fact, at a time many people were no longer sure of anything, as believing in what the government said became a problem. The pensioners were the worst hit in the promise and fail action of the administration, as in many occasions they were promised their pension arrears but at the end of the day nothing came their way.
A person like Ihedioha from what he is known for, can be able to truly tell the people when it is possible to pay or when it is not. So that at any point in time, people will be sure on what to expect and not always wasting their time hoping on nothing.
With Hon. Ihedioha’s coming as governor, Imo people will be able to know the difference, as the old ways would definitely pass away, while many years of being in what many have described as bondage would change for good.
AMBROSE NWAOPARA the writer is an author and a renowned life coach