A source in Owerri has informed us that governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State shows little regard in private for President Muhammadu Buhari.
Buhari, as leader of Okorocha’s All Progressives Congress (APC), campaigned on an anti-corruption platform. But the word out of Owerri is that Okorocha is looting the state’s treasury with impunity and knows that Buhari would not even rebuke him.
It was rumoured that Buhari was shocked during the (s)election campaign when he saw Okorocha’s ostentatious Spibat private estate in Owerri, built with looted funds.
Okorocha is currently facing allegations that he was involved in a criminal conspiracy to loot 25.2bn Naira ($126.5m) in the last three months of last year, as was reported here.
His personality and maybe his brazen corruption may have soured his relationship with the president. So Okorocha is resigned to not being able to nominate a minister from his state for Buhari’s cabinet.
There are reports that Bola Tinubu, the former governor of Lagos State and APC stalwart, favours Festus Odimegwu, the former CEO of Nigeria Breweries and former Chairman of the National Population Commission, as the ministerial nominee from Imo State. Odimegwu had this to say about Okorocha in an interview earlier this year:
“Rochas is a cowboy! What he is doing in Imo State is not governance. He has brought disgrace to governance. He is my brother. I like him. He is my friend. But he has brought total disgrace to governance in Imo. Rochas has privatised governance in Imo.
But Rochas is a disgrace in government. He is my brother and friend. But this is the truth.
Don’t forget that in his first term, he originally came on the platform of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) before becoming a member of APC. Now that he is under APC government, maybe the president, who is his party leader, will make him change, because the approach he used in the first term is not sustainable in the second term. If he tries that system in the second term, we will call him to order.
He has really not done well in government, forget all the caricatures he does with his ‘my people, my people’, jingle. Leadership is more serious than such empty populist sentiments.”
According to our source, the trouble with Okorocha is that he has no regard for the president as he is so full of himeself. So the president is not capable of “calling him to order”