By ODIMEGWU ONWUMERE
By December 8, this year, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will be voting its new National Chairman into office. The winner is going to succeed Dr. Ali, the present chairman. For the post of chairmanship in the South-East geopolitical zone, Owelle Rochas Anayo Okorocha has indicated interest among many aspirants. One enthusiastic thing about Okorocha is that wherever he finds himself, he expounds on his views, aspirations, synthesis and missions. He is a man whose interest is for the populace whether he is occupying a position in the political acme or not. Meanwhile, he has never been a governor or a president of our great country Nigeria. But to many people too numerous to be mentioned, he is a governor, a president and a role model through his 'first of its kind' philanthropic gestures. Since Okorocha could use his hard-earned resources to take care of the downtrodden in the society, he would do more than he has been doing if given the chance and someday be voted as the president of this great country. But before that time could come, here is a vote for him on the Peoples Democratic Party Chairmanship election come December 8.
Friday, 14 June, 2004 all through to Sunday, was an unprecedented weekend for the trio of Okorocha, Eze Ukandu and Sultan Maccido (now late) and a host of other numerous Nigerians who gathered to extol and further the cause of humanity, mainly towards achieving the Nigerian dream that would be suitable for peaceful coexistence.
The activities that brought them to gather was the twin celebrations of His Royal Highness, Eze Uzo Ukandu, the Chairman, Abia State Traditional Rulers Council who also doubled as the Chairman, Forum of Traditional Rulers of South East. The monarch was regarded as being affable and adorable and had proposed a double celebration of his 66th birthday and his 26th coronation anniversary.
The late Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Maccido, Royal Fathers, and political leaders led the occasion: leaders of thought and various groups rejoiced with Eze Ukandu-including the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Alhaji Umar Ghali Na'aba who was absent, but was represented. The monarch used the occasion to confer chieftaincy titles on deserving personalities.
Among those that were present in the occasion, Owelle Rochas Anayo Okorocha was doubly recognized. The Sultan of Sokoto presented him with a certificate of office as the Dan Jika of Sokoto, while the Forum of South East Traditional Rulers conferred on him the traditional title of Owelle Ndi-Igbo.
Though a native of Ogboko in Ideato South Local Government Area of Imo State, Okorocha was born in Jos. It was indeed double honours for a prominent son of Ndi-Igbo. Because, the title, Owelle Ndigbo, is significant.
Owelle Okorocha, from rags to riches or from a humble beginning, had built Rochas Group of Companies’ into a great empire! The empire had pedigrees in Finance, Banking, Aviation, Real Estate, Pharmaceutical and Health Care Management.
And what did the title, Owelle Ndi-Igbo, means to him? He saw it as a merit because he had been variously conferred in many parts of Nigeria and by the Ndi-Igbo in the diaspora. He was conferred Owelle Ndi-Igbo Lagos and Owelle Ndi-Igbo Abuja. And the more appreciable aspect of it was that Lagos and Abuja were the major enterprising cities of Nigeria, Abuja being the capital.
Okorocha, as a bridge builder within the Nigerian nation, the Dan Jika title, was a confirmation of his status in the northern part of Nigeria. Only few people could be recognized with that honour; While the Forum of Southeast Traditional Rulers was conferring on him with the title, Owelle Ndi-Igbo, was to elaborate and explicate to the people that Rochas Okorocha was in the forefront for the emancipation, progress and well-being of the Ndi-Igbo. Symbolically, the honour was to recognize his efforts across the length and breadth of Nigeria, in his philanthropic nature, peacemaking and bridge building. Example of such philanthropic works of the dude were the Rochas Foundation Plaza and the Rochas Foundation College.
With his philanthropic and humanitarian efforts, these foundations had alleviated the sufferings of many hapless Nigerians: poverty alleviation schemes, from interest free loans to car awarding raffle draws, to medical bill assistance, to material and educational sponsorships.
When the Sultan visited the Foundations with fellow dignitaries, he cut what many people described as a Peace Cake. This act was symbolic; the Sultan was passing a message of peaceful coexistence among Nigerians. He even led others in lighting candles for peace.
The two actions occurred because Owelle Okorocha was involved—a man who meant the beginning of brotherliness, peaceful coexistence and togetherness in Nigeria. Even a chairman of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), a socio-cultural forum of the northerners, who was on the Sultan's entourage, embraced a traditional ruler from Owerri, a clan in Igboland. This act demonstrated the end of segregation, but opened a life of togetherness, love and peace.
In recognition of the Sultan's goodwill of love and peace, not only as the Dan Jika of Sokoto (chief of the Sokoto Caliphate), the patriot and nationalist, philanthropist Owelle Rochas Okorocha announced allocation of five admission slots annually to indigenes of Sokoto State, at the Rochas Foundation College.
When the Owelle addressed a World Press Conference on the occasion he spoke on so many issues that affected Nigeria as a state, the much-touted Igbo presidency was among.
“Ndi-Igbo are not only qualified and capable of leading the Nigerian nation”, he said.
Hear him again:”It is their right by the principles of equity and justice”.
And Owelle Okorocha described Ndi-Igbo as an industrious, enterprising and irrepressible people in Nigeria and in the diaspora. Okorocha saw that hunger and poverty were the two biggest problems confronting the Nigerian child.
There was a common saying that people used to mimic Okorocha. That was: “Ask one thing of my creator” people would say. And Okorocha would say: “To bless me, that I may bless others, to feed me, that I may feed others". And he God had been blessing him and he had been giving to people selflessly. In his other words, he believed that, "the just shall live by faith". Okorocha deserves to be the PDP Chairman come December 8, this year.