Thursday, 7 June 2018

ROCHAS AND HIS "POOR SALARY" HYPOTHESIS - BY EJIOFOR

I have taken pains to reflect, albeit rapt with interest ,  on most of the comments attributed to Rochas in this his period as governor of Imo state . And I have, in utter surprise, seen tints of evidences enough to color them in shades of abstract thoughts devoid of concrete reality.  However,  it would be stating the obvious to believe that most were expressed as loose comments without recourse to caution. I have also searched through wisdom books for cues on where he got the impetus to speak the way he did but to no avail. Instead compelling evidences suggestive of a remarkable illiteracy showed up, much in conflict with the claims he makes about himself .  Many of my critics may feel I probably pick on Rochas too unfairly but such thoughts would only prompt images of a divergent political inclination between us and I don't care a hoot to be accused of that. While I may not be identified as a card carrying member of any political party,  I still don't expect myself to be indifferent to a hypothetical thoughts that tends to injure my peace.

Embarrassingly, of all the awful comments Rochas made,  his recent unfortunate comment on salaries of governors,  perhaps,  stands as the one that embraces incredibility most.  This is because it is in conflict with all known virtues needed for the growth of democratic governance,  and as the most erroneous hypothetical submission any governor can make,  it is as encyclopedic as the enormous wealth Rochas is believed to have accumulated in office. However,  if we accept that stealing is a way to cushion the adverse influence poor salary has on governors as postulated by Rochas, then we also should accept that his postulate is suggestive that virtues like credibility and accountability,  which many believe command respect, has far-reaching consequences when appreciated in governance.  Based on this hypothesis,  we cannot agree that Rochas,  whose electoral promises anchored on forfeiture of security vote and who now complains of poor salary do not steal and the same time hold on to the assumption that the meager salary was enough to purchase all the landed properties , half the size of Imo,  he accumulated while in office.  Intuitively,  one may believe that the is a loose way of exposing inherent ignorance.  Granted,  but still one cannot pretend to be blind to the blame brush of incredibility  the postulate tarred on his personality . If we liken the brain,  for instance,  as the central processing unit of a computer,  then it goes to state that the mind is the random access memory while the mouth serves as the monitor that displays informations which are at home in the mind. It is arguable then to posit from this that speeches are actions which are represented in  their potential state. So whatever comments made by Rochas are vivid displays of his inner thoughts and intended actions . In the light of this, any attempt to downplay the ills in his useless comments as inconsequential would be  inimical to the collective interest of the people of Imo.  

As alluded to above,  and from inferences drawn from Igbo traditional wisdom,  the suggestion that hunger or poverty influences a sane mind to steal is an idea the Igbo do not consent to. They argue that hunger,  poverty and poor salary do not fall within the determinants of credibility and neither do they influence a sane mind to steal.  However,  in their argument , they pointed accusing fingers much to the popular notion that goes to say that stealing is in the blood.  A suggestion that does not see both hunger and poverty as a factor in this regard. If we consider some of the observable practices done in life,  we may have to admit that this notion of no-association has the potential to grow in strength,  pushing the controversy to shift more and more towards the question of what exactly can elicit theft among individuals who are not poorly paid?  Does hunger or poverty have relatively "innocent" and brief semantic effects on stealing or can it affect,  maximally,  the whole aspect of our overt behavior to push one to even nurse the idea of stealing in the first place? In real terms,  if we flash the word "theft", does it prim poverty?  To answer these questions,  perhaps,  we may have to look at how poor the salaries of these governors are. 

A good practical approach in this analysis is to look at what governors are given as remuneration.  In 2008, this was put as #11,540,896 annually.  Another #6,671,115 is set as severance gratuity,  which should be paid at the completion of their tenure.  The government also bears the medical expenses of governors and their families.  At face value,  this appears inadequate,  but if other allowances like security vote,  wardrobe,  entertainment,  domestic servants , inconvenience. feeding,  furniture,  etc are added,  it swells to an enormous proportion.  Their only bane is the characteristic lifestyle of opulence most of these governors live.  When this lifestyle is put into scrutiny,  it becomes easy to see,  even with the huge sum spent on them, the pretension standing in conflict with their means of livelihood. This is what presents a reason for the complaints,  the likes of Rochas make.  The evidence provided by the lifestyle of opulence has lent cues to suspect that they may have been pilfering from the state treasury.  It does not in anyway tell why they steal and this is the puzzle we intend to unravel here.  To put the question straight, is poor salary a determinant of stealing as postulated by Rocha's?  Let's take Obiano and Anambra as case study.  Obiano is on the same salary scale but has never protested of its inadequacy.  He has always shown that the job satisfaction he gets from the job as governor eclipses the meagerness of the income . He has constantly been paying salaries and pensions as at when due, with much adherence to the oath of office he swore to be honest in the discharge of his duty.  Also, he has not accumulated as much wealth as would put a question mark on his source of income.  This is applicable to Enugu and Ebony state governors.  One wonders why Rochas presents a different case.  

The above case study does not complement the reason of poor salary Rochas postulated as to why governors steal.  Interestingly,  if I bring to the fore, Rochas comments,  and juxtapose it with the analogy of two friends,  Kalu and Kanu,  perhaps,  a clearer picture of the inferences drawn from his comments will be well appreciated.  Two friends were billed to attend a traditional wedding ceremony of their colleague in Emekuku,  few kilometers away from Owerri.  One,  Kalu hails from Ohiafia,  while the other,  Kanu , hails from Ututu .  Kalu was apprehensive of making the trip in the company of his friend, Kanu for fear of an anticipated disgrace he might bring on him. He has constantly been warned of his unbearable gluttony in the past.  Kanu on his part pleaded with Kalu to show restraint in the manner he calls him the name "Onye Ututu" in jest.  This is because the word "Onye Ututu" is synonymous to gluttony.  The deal was struck on the condition that Kanu wouldn't act like one.  When they got at the scene,  they were served with oil bean salad,  deliciously prepared with stockfish.  As soon as Kanu saw the dish,  he salivated profusely that the sound of the salivation in his throat become too loud to be heard from a distance.  So Kalu turned to him and uttered in dismay,  "if you call yourself Onye Ututu,  don't blame anyone"  By inference,  it would not be difficult to understand the message Rochas' unguarded utterances and body languages sent.  He has told us that governors steal because of low salary and it would amount to double standard to charge anyone for libel in a crime he committed in giving himself a name.  Just recently,  Rochas, in a naive state of excitement, listed all the investments of his family members as a justification to keep the gubernatorial seat of Imo state in his family's piggy bank.  It is only sentiment that would not perceive his nepotistic thought here and the big sleeping question of how he was able to accumulate such an enormous wealth with the meager resources at the disposal of governors.  This is the the big sleeping question Rochas has failed to address and of which he feels that in its wakefulness,  Imo people will absolutely revolt.  In his pride he wondered why rivals whom he ironically identified as those who have not stolen from state treasury,  would want to unseat him when they have no investments in the state. So he needed someone as a shield; a close relative.

I have argued in most of my write ups that the absence of honesty and credibility in the  discharge of the duties of these governors has always been the bane and this is the focal point of this discourse.  I have also argued here that poverty or hunger are not determinant of moral obligation and behavior; neither are they necessary for identifying which governor is likely to honour his oath of office,  or which is likely to toe the path of credibility to the completion of his office. Incredibility and dishonesty are the ills inherent in most of these governors who see poor salary as a factor. They embrace this ills without conscious choice and intentions. It is believed to be in the blood as the igbo would say. There are no better events than what is being down done now to Rochas to checkmate his inordinate ambition and to tell him in the face that enough is enough.

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