It is often a breath of fresh air to come across a successful businessman or public servant in Nigeria whom have over-arched the usual din of lutocracy; for that have become a common craft and an insignia for those freely disposed to the Nigerian national till. A sad verbiage for a society on a free fall to becoming the first wealthy failed state in history. But all is not lost; at least that much can be inferred from the radiance in this national era of darkness in men like ROCHAS OKOROCHA. Extraneous though it may seem, Nigeria is not without her heroes, but Okorocha seems to habour a bit of the eclectic element. A man of humble beginning, replete with an uncommon character that is sometimes unassuming and at other times totally overflowing; though you may not find him often caught in the usual ‘babariga’, that piece of Nigeria traditional wear that tends cloud our thoughts with visions of invincible grandeur. Okorocha’s path suggests one for whom hard work and unusual measure of intuitive brilliance helped pave a way into great wealth through a successful business career.
Much of this wealth Okorocha decided to invest in a remarkable journey into the front line as a champion of the urban poor all over Nigeria. Though infallible men may not be, Okorochas odyssey suggests a familiar route in most Nigerian families of struggle and perseverance through seasons of empty soup pots and broken water pots at home. His journey like most Nigerians of his generation began in a nucleated village settlement surrounded by stately palms and homestead farms in the Orlu zone within the Imo hinterlands of eastern Nigeria. His life has ever since been fully dedicated to salvaging what remains of the dignity of the helpless and voiceless masses, in making sure that the children of ‘the poorest of the poor’ as he calls it, has a chance through education. A commitment for which he has spent millions of dollars from his fortune establishing free schools for Nigerian youths from secondary to university level.
In a country still deeply caught in the retrogressive throes of tribalizing national contingencies, Okorocha appears privileged with a unique progressive and integrative mindset. Recognizing the fact that poverty in the midst of plenty, a major fallout of mindless corruptive practices knows no tribe or race, his charities have been profoundly replicated all over Nigeria. Today, the Rochas Foundation College is overseeing free tuition, educational and material development for more than six thousand less privileged students nationwide.
In this area, Okorocha is not only a trail blazer but a call for a new season of pragmatic conciencising in a country saddled with an inglorious penchant for self mutilation. Clearly Mazi Rochas Okorocha is deserving of the early morning clarion of the ‘Ikoro’ for a celebration with lighting foot-works in the village square.