Akachi Demolition: As Our New Leaders Resume Fully… by Umar Sa’ad Hassan
Just yesterday, the media went agog with news that the new Imo state governor, Emeka Ihedioha ordered for the demolition of the Akachi tower built by his predecessor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha. The Akachi tower is a monument built on an old dumpsite symbolizing the Hand of God over the state. No one I have seen so far believes Ihedioha’s denial of having ordered for the destruction of the 40-feet tourist attraction. So, who really did? An already departed Okorocha or his retired commissioners?
Ihedioha has not deemed it necessary to personally address Imo people on Akachi or promise to bring the perpetrators of the dastardly act to book and all that says is the very obvious-he ordered it. That a newly sworn governor would be so blinded in his quest to tear down the legacies of his predecessor as to make it his first official assignment upon assumption of office without any regard to how climacteric they are or to the amount of public funds sunk into them calls for urgent concern. As it is, whatever Rochas used to build Akachi, which was commissioned just weeks ago by Vice-President Yomi Osinbajo has gone to waste.
As the newly sworn governors resume operations fully next week, Nigerians must never allow their displeasure with the previous administrations or a particular political party cloud their reasoning when anyone over-reaches in their mission to erase the memories of a ‘bad time’ for the state.
Not all last-minute employment of civil servants are a conscious attempt to place a burden on the incoming administration and whoever is going to serenade the public with how money was embezzled must also make sure they have filed petitions with the EFCC.
In the interest of transparency, the revocation of contracts must also be accompanied by very clear and detailed reasons why. We must all be wary of being used as pawns in the vengeful and envious machinations of politicians out to hurt their rivals or PDP, the people have spoken. State governments must spend their time towards bettering the lives of their people rather than pointing out to them how evil the last set of leaders were.
The Buhari administration spent 4 years blaming Jonathan for all its problems and at the end of the day, had nothing to show for it. If the people were satisfied with what was on ground, they wouldn’t have voted in a new government to change it.
The case of Rochas Okorocha is a very peculiar one. Asides being heavily disfavored by his own people, the Buhari administration and technically his party, have not accorded him immunity from EFCC scrutiny. He is a political orphan. And while those who were very critical of his time in office may be rejoicing over his current woes, there is a need to maintain some sense of rationality. His aim of turning Imo state into a tourist attraction with the erection of statues, castles and the sorts instead of devoting the resources to infrastructural or agricultural use did not excite very much. But in as much as his priorities may have been misplaced, the demolition of these structures especially one like the Akachi tower is to the loss of the Imo people who may one day benefit from another administration with a similar blue print no matter the scale. We have all seen what Donald Duke was able to do in Cross-River state. It would only make sense to sell Okorocha’s structures but that is not possible. At least not in this age. Ihedioha along with every other new administration should know that when they deploy caterpillars to pull down some of these things their predecessors have built, they are pulling down billions of public funds that cannot be retrieved.
By next week, our newly elected leaders will be settling into their various offices across the nation, let us ensure they act right.
Umar Sa’ad Hassan is a lawyer based in Kano
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