Rochas Okorocha and the controversial new ministry by Carl Umegboro

IMO state governor, Rochas Okorocha has unceasingly faced diverse controversies over actions or inactions vis-à-vis stewardship as the chief executive officer of the metropolis. Hitherto were unembellished attacks over the erection of a statue of President Jacob Zuma of South Africa in Owerri, the state capital after market-demolition saga, and followed by hosting Liberia’s President, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in the midst of state’s financial crisis; chiefly arrears of workers’ salaries.
Earlier, President Zuma was resplendently hosted by the state despite ill-treatments of numerous Nigerians in South Africa, though elites believed the governor strategically opted for such diplomatic approaches to bridge the gap against further discriminatory squabbles.  
But on the statues, many however, contended that beautification of the state with public funds at a time workers lament profusely over arrears tantamount to insensitivity, unfortunately forgot that payment of salaries is just one out of numerous administrative duties, and that salaries in an organized sector as state government are guaranteed. Undeniably, it is hurting if not paid as at when due. However, it is imperative to footnote that awarding contracts; statues or others when salaries are owed may not imply neglect as many projects are unpaid even after execution. Nonetheless, if salaries are owed maliciously, deliberately or negligently which no well-balanced person would believe, then a blunder.
Presently, the controversies have altered in magnitudes. The governor appointed a total of 28 commissioners including a new Ministry of Happiness and Purpose Fulfillment leading to a whole lot of disparagements. To make it seemingly worse, the governor appointed his sibling as commissioner of the new ministry. To some, a state having such number of ministries is a gaffe. But put it in another way, all the commissioners are indigenous of the state, and broadmindedly, additional ministries will ultimately open doors for job creation. The critical question is who would constitute the workforce in the new ministries; indigenous people of Imo from various families. Thus, by the approach, government is indirectly absorbing unemployed population into its workforce. Hence, the question should be how the governor whose state currently owes arrears of salaries intends to cope with more employments instead of downsizing.
On the controversial ministry which actually sounds absurd against the conservative pattern, broadmindedly, it is not abysmal as seemed. For example, section 37 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended provides for a fundamental human right, precisely right to private and family life which over the years was neglected by governments despite unvarying recitals. Therefore, if the governor brings into line the provision, and offered to create a ministry exclusively for purpose fulfillment, obviously, it is a desideratum. Private and family life are basically accepted in governance, above positive laws and therefore shouldn’t be taken for granted especially when measured with many families in abyss, heading to court every now and then for divorce, and worst of it, ubiquitous cases of murder amongst spouses lately. Sensibly, the idea meticulously provides a good interventionist mechanism for improving private life and should be sustained provided there is a realistic template and blueprint.  What should be of utmost importance are the goals rather than peripherals as many new objects seem anomalous at first. Gone are the days when parents give mere fanciful, reigning names with little or no meanings to their children but now emphatic irrespective of the stretches.
Imperatively, most people are allergic to change. Incidentally, change is constant. Any attempts to alter a long-existing system will certainly face resistance except by bold and unflinching approaches. Emphatically, vision, originality and avant-gardism are overriding attributes of leadership. Arising from the above and essentially the 1999 constitution, additional ministries shouldn’t call for hullaballoos or acrimony. For appointment, commissioners and ministerial nominees are assigned portfolios after confirmation by the House of Assembly and Senate respectively, and therefore if the governor thereafter assigns offices, he shouldn’t be crucified. Democracy is a representative government and people should rather hold their legislators who exercise their sovereignty in trust accountable over their actions. Generally, democracy is a tenured arrangement and if any administrator is inept, it is a matter of time.
Umegboro, a public affairs analyst wrote from Lagos.

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