What Okorocha told Imo people at Freedom Square
More than 10,000 Imo State indigenes from all walks of life gathered at the
popular Freedom Square in Owerri to celebrate Imo
Freedom Day on Saturday, May 6, 2017 and this is what Governor Rochas Okorocha told them:
“I never benefitted from the politics of godfatherism. When I came to run election for the governorship
in the state in 2011 I was literally rejected by who-is-who in the political equation of the state. No single politician
of note was standing with me. This was perhaps the only election in the history of Nigeria that was won by the
support of the ordinary people and not by the support of political elite, security agencies and money bags.
“My Victory came from God and the people. And that was why I have been saddled with the responsibility of
ensuring that I fulfill that which I promised my God to make life better for the ordinary man and release them
from captivity. That is my journey and that is my story. And those of you who had followed me could recall that
in the political history of Nigeria there had been nothing like supplementary election till my own election.
“My understanding of supplementary election is do all things possible to prevent Rochas from becoming the governor
of Imo State. This is the meaning of supplementary election which today is holding Nigeria in a Political bondage.
It took the intervention of the masses to force INEC to do the needful in declaring me governor. That was my story
and this was the struggle. Exactly on the 6th of May 2011 when everything done to stop me was not possible, my
mandate given to me by the people spoke against all forces in the state.
“Today I remain grateful to all Imolites especially those seen as the nobody in the state because they are the reason
I became the governor. I promise that I will continue to do all within my powers to make Imo State great and lift
it higher as a sign of appreciation for all the support I have received from the masses. I remain eternally grateful to
the people of Imo State.
“One of my greatest challenges when I was sworn in 2011 was realizing that my people were in bondage both
spiritual and physical. People never believed that anything good or better can come from politicians. When you call
somebody a politician, the first thing that will come to your mind is a person who promises and will never do; a criminal
or a thief, probably a man who hires thugs and molests his political enemies. This was the people’s definition of Imo
politicians at that time. I swore to make a change in the system and that was what made what we are celebrating today possible.
“I try to use this Freedom Square to dramatize what I saw in Imo State when I came in. The statue demonstrates a
man who has endured hardship, ignorance, lack, systematic poverty, living in a society that is morally bankrupt; that
was the situation of Imo State when I came. People were about to give up on politicians and leadership because of the
sufferings and deceits but a hand of help came. This is what we are celebrating today as rescue mission.
“I am here as a rescuer, I am not here as a governor. If it is for governor, I am not an ideal governor. For leadership,
I am not an ideal leader because my system is not like that of a governor. I don’t operate like a governor neither do
I behave like a governor or work like a governor. I behave and work like a rescuer, who has seen an ugly situation
and wants to change it. Rescuers don’t behave normally, they behave abnormally because of the abnormal situation
they have come to rescue. So excuse my abnormalities. When there is danger of fire outbreak, a rescuer does not need
to wear a proper dress neither will he sit down to discuss the protocols and due process to follow. A rescuer simply jumps
into the fire and looks for whatever he can use to quench the fire to save his people. This is Rochas Okorocha.
“I am not a normal governor, I am a radical governor who has come to effect a radical change in the Capital City of
Owerri and Imo State in general, so bear with me if you find some of my actions from your own view point shortcomings
. I do so not for me or my family, I do so that Imo State may be better.
“Today opportunity has come for you to express yourselves on those things that have bothered you and kept us in
chain all these while. This is the true meaning of Imo Freedom Day. Some of you are angry with me or my Political
appointees, some are not happy with the way their traditional rulers or stakeholders in their communities have dealt
with them. Some of you are not happy with the way the police arrested you or for one thing or the other and have not had
the opportunity to express their feelings; this is the reason of this Freedom Square. I want to provide for all Imolites a
forum to express themselves so that we can build a society full of trust and hope.
“This Freedom Square has been dedicated as a free zone to all Imolites to come and speak their minds without having
the fear of been molested or arrested.”
But one Dr. Chukwujindu Felix at the event accused Governor Okorocha of taking
his land as part of the site
where the Eastern Palm University is located, which the governor denied.