By Ogu Bundu Nwadike, M.A
By the constitutional provisions of the 1999 Constitution (As Amended), there are a total of 109 Senatorial Districts in Nigeria. Each of these districts has a representative in the Senate. That means that there are a total of 109 Senator in the Red Chamber of the National Assembly.
One of the Senatorial Districts in Nigeria is Imo West Senatorial District, which is also known as Orlu Zone, comprising 12 local government areas (LGAs), Orlu, Orsu, Oru East, Oru West, Oguta, Ohaji-Egbema, Ideato North, Ideato South, Nkwerre, Isu, Nwangele, and Njaba.
Over the years, there has always been a Senator representing Orlu Zone. The present Senator is Owelle Rochas Ethelbert Anayo Okorocha, an ex-governor of Imo State, whose tenure has remained enmeshed in tales of stolen public money and materials. And from verified evidences, his representation of Orlu Zone people has been most unrewarding.
We can authoritatively speak about that because we’re involved in our inalienable capacity as bona-fide citizens of Orlu Zone. And woe are us if we fail to address issues that have propensities for making life hard and difficult for the masses.
Prior to the 9th Senate, Imo West Senatorial District has had Chief Francis Arthur Nzeribe (1999-2007) , Chief Osita Izunaso (2007-2011) , Chief Hope Uzodimma (2011-2019) and currently Owelle Rochas Okorocha (2019-till date).
Among these senators, pundits have come up with the proposition that many variable and invariable factors have proved that the current tenure of Senator Rochas Okorocha is poorly trailing behind the others. And it’s not difficult to agree with the pundits based on point of facts and figures.
By the privilege of our media research and advocacy ventures, coupled with our routine criss-cross of Imo State, particularly the 12 LGAs of Orlu Zone, we can concur and confirm that there’s no evidence that Orlu Zone literarily has a Senator in the Senate.
Our advanced search and structured research shows that there’s no Senatorial Constituency Office anywhere in Orlu Zone as should be established by every Senator. There’s also not a single constituency programme or project; not even the commonest of all projects, which is solar street light and community water solar boreholes.
Also, there’s no record of any empowerment programme or project by Rochas Okorocha, the supposed Senator representing Orlu Zone. No cottage industry, no skills acquisition trainings, no human capital development programmes. No micro cash grants, no small loans for small scale enterprises in the Senatorial District. Nothing!
Most importantly, away from Constituency programmes and projects, Rochas Okorocha is counted among mere spectators in the Senate, where other Southeast Senators are reputed for churning out motions bills that are designed for the benefit of the people they represent.
Most unfortunately, his very few feeble contributions to debates has ended up being treated as comic reliefs by the distinguished senators. Simply put, Rochas is a just a square peg in a round hole, unfit to be a Senator!
Owelle Rochas Okorocha has no reputation for moving motions that influence decisions on issues of national interest and importance. He also hasn’t any record of presenting rich bills on the floor of the Red Chamber. He’s just a yes-member Senator, to the detriment of Orlu Zone people.
In all honesty, the near 30 months or thereabouts that Rochas Okorocha has been in the Senate, pretending to be representing Orlu Zone, were unprofitable and unrewarding, wasted months to the people of Orlu Zone in particular, Imo State and Nigeria in general.
It’s sad that Rochas spends much of his time sleeping in the Senate during plenary or rigmaroling from one high court to another, defending himself against cases of financial crimes and misconduct brought against him by the EFCC.
In all sincerity, Rochas isn’t representing Orlu Zone in the Senate. He’s at the best representing himself. After all, he can’t boast of having the mandate of the people of Orlu Zone. That’s an incontrovertible statement of fact!
In sane climes, serious processes for the recall of Rochas Okorocha from the Senate would have started at mid-term in May 2021. Otherwise, guilty conscience should have encouraged him to resign from the Senate and pursue his dead on arrival presidential ambition.
Yet, it’s not too late for the good people of Orlu Zone to commence the processes of the recall of Rochas since he has proved clueless, inept and incompetent in discharging his duties and responsibilities to the people of Orlu as their Senator.
Incidentally, it’s the views of some analysts of the ugly situation in Orlu that despite all the incidences and instances insecurity in parts of Orlu Zone, not a word of care, concern or condemnation has been heard from the supposed Senator Rochas Okorocha.
While other national lawmakers are lobbying and attracting juicy constituency programmes and projects, Rochas has nothing to show for the mandate of Orlu Zone people, which he allegedly siezed by duress, with threats to the very life of the relevant INEC official.
We recall that for some weeks after the inauguration of the 9th Senate in June 2019, INEC withheld Rochas’ Certificate of Return (CoR) . It took enough unofficial interventions and debates at state and federal levels, which culminated in Rochas petitioning before INEC released the CoR.
Probably, those were tips of the very poor representation of the people of Orlu Zone by Rochas that he ended up displaying since he was inaugurated as a Senator. That’s most unfortunate!
There’s no gainsaying that Orlu Zone needs a patriotic, very committed politician as its representative in the senate. This situation of there’s a Senator but there’s no Senator for Orlu Zone is most unacceptable. And the good people of the Zone should as a matter of urgency do something about it, of which commencing the processes of the recall of Rochas Okorocha should top the options!
By God’s grace, Imo State must be rehabilitated, reconstructed and recovered!!