Why Okorocha Was Attacked In Chatham House – Madumere | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Why Okorocha Was Attacked In Chatham House – Madumere

Posted: Jun 10, 2016 at 3:57 am   /   by   /   comments (0)


Prince Eze Madumere, Deputy Governor of Imo State, was in the organised private sector before venturing into politics. In this interview with journalists, including AUSTIN OBOH, he spoke on Owelle Rochas Okorocha’s politics and his policies In Imo State, among other issues. Excerpts:

You were a Director for Women and Youth Mobilisation for Rochas Okorocha’s campaign in Imo State when he was a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 1998 and also acted as Chief Strategist on Media and Logistics for his presidential bid under the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in 2002-2003. You were also his Chief of Staff, and now you’re his deputy. What is it about you and Governor Okorocha that we don’t know?

Chronicling my political relationship with my leader and the incumbent Governor of Imo State will be quite difficult, for time and space will not permit me to do that. Our relationship has spanned over 22 years now. First and foremost, you do not follow what you know nothing about. Owelle Rochas Okorocha is one man who can give you his life and that was what he unknowingly demonstrated with his Rochas Foundation Colleges, which has in its record over 10,000 students with graduates, and still counting. Again, Okorocha is innately a leader who is not only charismatic but also has qualities that motivate people to greatness. Why did I say this? Leaders are specially gifted humans who have the magic wand to turn around the fortune of their people for the better. Looking at the pitiable conditions of the children from the poor homes who do not only have to battle with how to eke out a living but also have a dimmed future, it was a leader like Okorocha who, as a private person, in his compassion to those ones, started his Rochas Foundation College. Today, he is one of the few, if not the only living personality, who is a father to over 10,000 children. That is leadership. Again, Rochas is one man who will tell you the truth, motivate you and make you think outside the box to enable you develop your latent gifts. Going down memory lane and x-raying Governor Okorocha’s input in national development, especially in the area of Unity and Peace, then you will gladly give it to him that he is a rare leader. Governor Okorocha has got the willpower to take decisions, stand by it and carry it to safe delivery in so far as the decision will make the needed positive change. It takes sacrifices to be a leader and that has been demonstrated by Okorocha. You must be visionary to be a leader and Okorocha is one. Without much ado, His Excellency possesses all the qualities great leaders possess. Again, it was Governor Okorocha who personally beckoned on me to come home and make inputs in the Nigerian Project. Since then I have been consistent, though in the past I would only come for projects, either economically or politically, and would go back to my business in the United States. Owelle is a man with ingenious traits and I know that most people know only little about him. It’s quite nostalgic to bring to the fore Okorocha’s social and political activities in the past. Mind you, he had not always succeeded but he has made impact in Nigeria’s political landscape.

When he contested for the presidency, you stuck out your neck and stood by him all through; what was the conviction for you about his ambition then?

I have just mentioned the reason in response to your last question. Meanwhile, Okorocha is a presidential material. He is ably qualified to lead this nation. He is detribalised. He has built bridges across the ethnic groups and is overwhelmingly acceptable to all. Beyond this, his impacts are holistic and not regional. It is his nature. Meanwhile, he is passionate about the Nigerian project. He has also demonstrated his mettle even as the Governor of Imo State. Then, of course, Okorocha could have got it were it not for the reasons I believe is being fought today in the system by progressive minds.

Do you honestly believe Governor Okorocha has what it takes to rule a country as vast and heterogeneous as Nigeria?

The heterogeneity of Nigeria is where its strength lies. It takes patriotic and progressive minds to appreciate the beauty of this country and that its diversity remains its greatest strength. Like I said, Okorocha is appreciated by Nigerians because he is a Nigerian who sees Nigeria from the perspective of a Nigerian. Like I said, he is detribalised and can pay any sacrifice for the unity and progress of this country. Okorocha as you, know has lived the better part of his life in Jos where he acquired his education. It was his relationship with a Yoruba man that gave him the first financial breakthrough. So, the heterogeneous nature of our country is one factor Owelle cherishes so much. It was also because of his refusal to buy into the agenda with those with separatist agenda that led to the attack on him at the Chatham House when he was delivering his lecture on human capital development from the Imo Example. If you know little about Rochanomics, you will appreciate his stance that exploring and exploiting our culture remains the easy way out of under-development. Where would you find your comparative advantage if not in the people’s culture? What we consume as food today constitutes the people’s culture while we have lost our staple food even some of them have gone extinct. There is need to showcase them and sell their superior nutrients, and you will marvel at the foreign exchange this will bring into the coffers of this great Nation. The sincere question is where are those things that distinguish us from others? That is one question we cannot answer here. Owelle Rochas is making that effort through the Community Government Council (CGC).

Can you tell us something that a lot of people don’t know about Governor Okorocha?

People just know little about Owelle Rochas Okorocha’s passion towards making people get better appreciated. People know only little about what gives him happiness, which is finding a way to help the poor. People know less about his vision, which at times sounds crazy but today people are beginning to appreciate the feasibility of some of his philosophies and ideas.

You have been Deputy Governor for the past almost three years. How would you describe the journey so far?

Being a Deputy Governor for the past three years has been a worthwhile experience. I have been operating based on the constitutional provisions and descriptions as to how the Deputy Governor of a state should conduct himself and abide by the responsibilities therein. I believe that what is more important is the partnership that exists between my principal and me. It is that partnership and understanding that have given us so much harmony and peace to achieve. I enjoy the confidence of my leader and I understand him to the extent that he does not need to utter a word for me to take a decision. Again, you’ll just be proactive to be appreciated by your boss or principal.

Many are of the opinion that deputy governors are just spare tyres who are at the beck and call of their principals. Is it the same with you here?

Spare tyre? When what happens? No, deputy governors ought not to be seen from such perspective. Deputy Governors are supposedly partners and team players. Spare tyre is only important when the main tyre is too weak and must have been rendered dysfunctional. This ought not to be the case. Truly, it is only in death that you could begin to define the position of a Deputy Governor in such manner. We are all candidates of death. If death is indiscriminate in its effect in relation to age, sex and class, then the concept of spare tyre should be confined to a political dustbin. I am a partner to my leader and boss. We work together. If you understand the protocol of office and adhere to it, you will discover that where the governor is unable to cover in the course of administering the state, his deputy will naturally stand in for him. Hold on a minute! Constitutionally, deputy governors are majorly and statutorily commissioned to handle boundary issues and few other areas. Any other commission in relation to administering the state is based on the delegation of the governor. In my experience, I have enjoyed the comfort of working with my leader not because I am the best but because it is the nature of Owelle Rochas Okorocha to naturally delegate duties. It is only when you are not delivering that he complains. If you know what you are doing, my governor will naturally be your best friend and will give you enough task. I am very visible by God’s grace and by the magnanimity of His Excellency, the people’s governor and leader, Owelle Rochas Anayochukwu Okorocha.

Another thing is understanding. The fact that you are chosen by the grace of your boss, when elected, do not begin to arrogate so much powers and become “Eze Onye agwalam”. By this I mean, you become so wise that not even King Solomon will mean a worth to you. The baseline for your principal is nothing but loyalty. Another principle is that you must, as matter of fact, ensure that your boss does not look stupid in the public. Try all you can to participate covertly or overtly towards achieving success in most of the programmes and policies.

You served in different capacities in Corporate America before delving into politics in 1998 in Nigeria. What necessitated this transition from private sector to politics?

In Corporate America, by the Special Grace of God, I held my own. Becoming a trainer to the employees of the multinational where I worked proved that I was on top of the game. I worked. This shows that I was quite comfortable and I was enjoying what I was doing. To be an Area and Channel Manager for KFC and Pepsico meant I was comfortable. I travelled to over 55 countries in the course of expanding our brands and creating markets for our products. From there, I established chains of businesses from men’s beauty chain to aviation and other trade companies. My transition from private sector to public sector could only be possible because there was a man who talked me into thinking about such. It was the Owelle Rochas Okorocha who did so. And fate, if you like, cares less about location and environment. We found each other in the United States about 22 years ago. When we got talking, he said I had done well in my chosen career but that there was need for me to come home and join hands in contributing to the Nigerian Project. Ever since, we have been together and we have been working together in all facets, especially in his chosen noble path of charity and his political exploits, which came much later. It has been a tumultuous and thorny path but to God be the glory because leadership is not a tea party and nature has a way of preparing one for the challenge of leading a people.

As the then Chief of Staff to Governor Okorocha, what kind of Imo State did your administration inherit?

Like I was thought by one of my lecturers, brain is a membrane that forgets. Within 21 days, if you have no direct interaction or need to recall or interact with an object, event or even an issue, you are likely to forget except a related issue crops up sometime in the future. When we came on board, Imo was a model State of nature where life was at the mercy of empowered miscreants. Imo was one hell of a kingdom where kidnappers and hooligans reigned while the people trembled. Imo people lost their freedom as no one could speak for fear of being molested, intimidated or attacked. In terms of infrastructure, it was a tale of dilapidation as Owerri city had no escape the moment there was traffic. The rural dwellers knew nothing about governance other than Radio adverts. Today, Imo is the freest state in Nigeria where its people and residents are free to criticize the government without fear of intimidation. It was in a bid to create that atmosphere of freedom that led to the construction of “Freedom Square” with a Giant Sculpture of a man with a broken chain symbolizing Emancipation. Ever since, Governor Okorocha has been consistent in our belief in freedom and enthronement of the ethos democracy. Today, people have forgotten so quick that before, once it was 5:30 pm, you would not see anybody on the street of Owerri in the rural areas. You know the first charge of any government is security of life and property. We dealt with that by the Special grace of God In collaboration with the security agencies. It was a hard nut to crack but it was a challenge too important to the survival of the State. We wore our armour and armed ourselves with good conscience and fought that just war and came out victoriously to the glory of God. Our people have forgotten and we have to find a way to remind them. In the area of infrastructure, we embarked on total rehabilitation of the State. We have built more roads in Imo than any administration. We have touched the lives of the people at the rural areas like no other. We have elevated the status of the three major urban areas of Imo State – Orlu, Owerri and Okigwe.