By Issa Itopa Lucky
As the 2023 Presidential election campaigns hot up, many names are springing up in the political arena, consciously or unconsciously in an ultimate bid to possibly get them to the highest office in the land. This time, the southeast region is caught up between the back-seat as usual in terms of Nigerian politics, secession call, and the determination to come to the front-seat of the Nigerian politics and take the bull by the horn and vie for the office of president of Nigeria.
Among the many names from Southeast rumoured to be warming up for the 2023 presidential contest or touted as a presidential material regardless of willingness to vie yet or not, one name that rings bell both in the media and in the consciousness of Nigerians both in the North and the South, is Imo west senator and former Imo state Governor, Rochas Okorocha.
First of all, Rochas is an eminently qualified presidential material from Southest Nigeria, considering the very numerous leadership roles he has played in ensuring the continued unity of Nigeria as well as seeing to it that everything he does or says points towards how to ensure the democracy of Nigeria succeeds.
Okorocha is so much of a diversified presidential material in terms of region where he could be most popular; one wonders which part of the country he comes from exactly. Okorocha is ahome everywhere, whether North or South. He is one Igbo elite who is hausa-speaking. He is one Southeast leader who has yet invested so much in the North.
Okorocha has been that lone voice in the wilderness of Southeast Nigeria who at the wake of the Biafra agitation till date, has been calling for application of common sense and belief in the Nigerian nationhood journey and speaking openly against the merchants of secession agitation, regardless of what it may cost him for speaking the truth as it is.
He has been a light in darkness. He has been that APC politician who is guided by principle as against “politics as usual”. He is sincere to a fault, sometimes one wonders if he is indeed a member of the ruling party. Where others fear to tread, Okorocha has walked confidently and even stood tall. He is a different politician; he is a politician with a difference.
If southeast Nigeria ever boasts of a candidate from its region at a time like this that is presentable to Nigerians in all the six geo-political zones, Rochas Okorocha is that one right material that meets the requirements. Rochas passion for the good of Nigeria is second to none. He did well in his two tenures as governor of Imo state. He is doing well at the moment for his people, the people of Imo west who he represents at the 9th Senate.
He established the National Peace Committee in the early 2000 as a private individual to see that peace reigns in Nigeria. He sat at the table at a time Niger Delta agitation was at its peak in the early 2000.
Rochas is indeed eminently qualified to lead Nigeria come 2023, no doubt about that. During his time as Governor of Imo State, he was busy delivering on the mandate of his office then as Governor.
He brought development to Imo State. He brought infrastructures and legacy projects to the State. In the aspect of health, he built hospitals. In the aspect of education, he ensured he put up measures that drastically reduced the rate of out-of-school children in Imo State.
During his tenure, Imo State students’ academic performances improved tremendously. He also did so well for the Imo State university with citing of projects, to ensure the students have convenient learning environment. In terms of road projects, Okorocha did tremendously well. He turned Imo State around for good. He industrialised Imo State in no little way.
In terms of private life, with his foundation, Rochas Foundation, he has lifted many children out of poverty. He has put many children and youths both from Southern Nigeria and Northern Nigeria on scholarship, in a bid to contribute towards reducing illiteracy and crime in the country.
Via his foundation, Rochas Foundation, Rochas Okorocha has carried out hundreds of humanitarian projects, projects that are directed towards the downtrodden and have-nots in the society, in a focused bid to improve their individual personal welfare.
As Senator, Rochas Okorocha has been at the forefront of effective lawmaking process, with a bid to ensure that laws that will be for the good and betterment of Nigerians are made. He has been a vocal voice in this Ninth Senate thus far. He has been a voice of conscience on the floor of the Senate.
In terms of empowerment programmes, he is almost to be known as “Mr. Empowerment”. This is as he is ceaselessly empowering his constituents, the good people of Imo West senatorial constituency. When it comes to a Southeasterner with a perfect CV with which the destiny of this nation Nigeria can be entrusted at a time like this, Rochas Okorocha is that option that comes to mind a million times.
Rochas Okorocha carries the burden of the dream of every Nigerian desirous of a better Nigeria. He is indeed an eminently qualified presidential material.