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Imo State: Okorocha and His Endless Quest for New Deputies

By Comfort Obi

The tragicomedy in Imo state continued on Tuesday, July 31. The swearing-in of the new Deputy Governor-elect, Calistus Ekenze was aborted. Until his hurried elevation, Ekenze was the Head of the Civil Service. But for the abortion, he would since have become Governor Rochas Okorocha’s third Deputy.

But a High Court in the State temporarily denied him that unenviable record. According to media reports, dignitaries, including Okorocha and Ekenze, waited in vain, for hours.

Neither the Chief Judge of the state, Paschal Nnadi, nor his representative, appeared for the ceremony. The Court’s injunction spoilt their party.

The set back is temporary. Considering that it is Imo, Okorocha will soon have his way, and heaven will not fall. Yet, temporary as it may be, it is worth applauding. The state, under Okorocha, is notorious for disobeying court orders.Left for him, court order or not, Ekenze would have been sworn in. He made efforts at getting any other Judge, I am told, to do his bidding.

Ordinarily a no-nonsense Judge, well respected in Judicial circles, not a few were suprised that Nnadi set up a panel to investigate the allegations against Madumere inspite of two pending cases in court.

But for Nnadi, all is well that ends well. He must have advised himself that it will be fool-hardy to put his job on the line over Okorocha and his deputy governors, especially, Madumere.

In Imo, Okorocha is the ultimate Emperor.  He bestrides the state like a Colossus. He is the alpha and omega. Archbishop. Bishop. Archdeacon.  Monsignor. Pastor. Rev. Father. Cathechist. Lay Reader. Church Warden. Chorister. Usher. Everything rolled into one. It has never been this overwhelming.


His story with his deputies is disgusting.

First, it was Jude Agbaso who got entangled in the politics between Okorocha and his elder brother, Martin Agbaso. It is a long story of dog eating dog, and so will be for another day.

But for the records, when Agbaso jnr. became Okorocha’s deputy, not a few people knew he would be but a pawn in Okorocha’s political chess board. Like many of his kind, the governor is not given to keeping to agreements.

When in addition to being the DG, Agbaso was also saddled with the portfolio of the Commissioner for Works,  Okorocha had started weaving his basket. Not quite long, he struck. Out of the blues, Okorocha’s government alleged that Agbaso corruptly enriched himself to the tune of about N420million, allegedly given to him by one miserable contractor.

It was a lie from the pit of hell. Agbaso neither saw a kobo, nor took it. It was forensically traced to Dubai and Lebanon where it had been wired. And it was public knowledge who the culprit was. Yet, the IMHA, obviously playing the governor’s card, shamelessly impeached him.

The EFCC has since given him a clean bill. Yet, nobody has apologised to him till now.

And unfortunately, for inexplicable reasons, Agbaso’s case against his impeachment is still stuck in the court.

Only in Nigeria!

Okorocha’s bitter quarrel with Madumere is confounding. When the governor connived with the IMHA and a weak judiciary to impeach Agbaso, Madumere was the ultimate beneficiary. His relationship with his boss was legendary. It was, excuse this cliche’, a marriage made in heaven. Madumere was Okorocha’s golden boy, and was his first Chief of Staff. Both have been together for over 20years, and were so close that many referred to Madumere as “Mrs. Okorocha”

They have been together through thick and thin, and, according to them, may have done some untidy businesses together. I will come back to this much later. Unconfirmed reports say it was Madumere who picked many of Okorocha’s aides in 2011, including the man at the centre of Imo’s political crisis, Uche Nwosu, Okorocha’s Chief of Staff, son- in-law and, his preferred successor in office in 2019.


So, what came between both men?

Betrayal.  Power.  Greed.

It started gradually.  Madumere had assumed his boss would back him as his successor in 2019. But he did not bargain for Okorocha’s type of government. Government of the family, by the family and for the family. Madumere took his relationship with his boss too seriously. The point is: he is not family.  And never was. To Okorocha, Madumere was at best, an errand boy. Yet, like many Imolites, he was in shock that the governor would so brazenly back Nwosu.

Madumere is from Owerri zone, a zone which, in the spirit of justice and equity, desires that one of it own becomes the governor in 2019. In spite of the well- documented controversy-prone Okorocha’s government, perhaps, it would have been more acceptable to Imolites,and especially,  Owerri zone, if Okorocha had picked Madumere over Nwosu.

But no. Okorocha wants every political office, everything in Imo. So, he personally, without any consultations, shared Imo’s political heritage like one sharing his inheritance.  His son-in-law would be governor. He, Okorocha, would replace Senator Hope Uzodinma. Madumere would replace Senator Sam Dadddy Anyanwu, and another would replace his former ally, until recently, Senator Uwajimogu.

Indeed, Uzodinma was also his ally in the 2015 general election, even though he was then a PDP Senator. It was when Uzodinma saw that whatever agreement he reached with him has been breached that he decamped to the APC in order to fight Okorocha from inside. For both men, Imo west Senatorial zone will be a huge battle ground in 2019.

But I digressed. I was talking about Madumere.

When Madumere and co. celebrated Agbaso’s fraudulent ouster, little did he know he would be given same treatment for daring to aspire to be governor.

For Okorocha, Owerri zone is a pawn in his political chess board. None of the zone’s sons is too big to be disgraced and humiliated with astonishing impunity. Not even the Clergy.

Madumere is the second Owerri son whose impeachment he would engineer. In the near future, these impeachments will not stand. Ekenze is from same zone. But for the fact that Okorocha has a few months left in office, he could give Ekenze same treatment. And lest we forget, he also humiliated another Owerri son, Jude Ejiogu, former Secretary to the State Government, out of office. And there are others.

The zone’s culture has not been spared either.

He demolished the ancestral and iconic Eke- Ukwu Owerre, and relocated it outside its ancestral home. Till now, nothing has been built there. Instead, it has added to the ugly state of the state capital.

Okorocha, it is, who balkanised a once proud Owerre Nshi-Ise autonomous community into five irrelevant, mushroom autonomous communities and installed what some Owerre indigenes call Mushroom traditional rulers.

Not a few Owerre people insist that its balkanization contributed to the death of its revered traditional ruler, HRH Eze Emmanuel Njemanze.

Yet, nobody should cry for Owerri zone.

It is responsible for its humiliation. It was Owerri zone in its short-sightedness and childish trust, which voted for him overwhelmingly in 2011. It was the zone which again gave him power in 2015, thinking he would reward it by backing one of its own. And it is some of them from the zone who edged him on and, applaud him each time he humiliates one of its own. It happened during Agbaso’s ordeal.

Incidentally, the law of Karma has been in full swing since then!

In the face of the zone’s strong claim to the governorship seat in 2019, not a few of its sons and daughters are 10 for a Kobo. Or, was it not one of Okorocha’s installed traditional rulers in Owerre who did the unprecedented by granting Nwosu the indigeneship of Owerre!

And a few days ago, but for the uproar, some traditional rulers in Mbaise were planning to confer on him a traditional title during Mbaise’s acclaimed Iri-ji festival.

In the face of the ill-advised impeachment proceedings against Madumere, Owerri sons in the IMHA were in the forefront. They were already fighting to take his place, or become the Speaker, while Okorocha’s Man-Friday, Speaker Ihim, becomes the Deputy Governor.


But back to Okorocha and Madumere.

Since the impeachment saga, both men have hinted on the dark sides of their lives and relationship.  One of the impeachable offences against Madumere is that he was jailed for felony in the USA. And was a thief.

Not to be beaten, Madumere revealed that on the contrary, he took the rap, two times, on Okorocha’s behalf. Meaning: it was Okorocha who committed felony and asked him to stand in his place.

Meaning again that, according to them, the two men at the helm of affairs in the state, may have involved themselves in untidy, unwholesome businesses in a foreign land.

How much can the state take? I insist Imolites need to know the truth. What crimes did Okorocha or Madumere, or both of them commit? Are both men of questionable character? Or, are they both playing politics of destruction and dancing naked in the market square? The truth, please.

Finally, I subscribe to a strong Imo, united by justice and equity. Here now is the time for every true Imo citizen to say: Enough is enough.

In 2019, we must sweep the dirt away, and start on a clean slate.


*Obi had published this piece in The Source Magazine

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