Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo state isunder fire in the social media over the appointment of his sister as Commissioner of Happiness and Couples Fulfilment.
The governor, who only weeks ago courted controversy over the erection of statues in the capital, stirred another, with the appointment of her sister, Mrs Ogechi Ololo, into a ministry that is novel in Nigeria. She was among the 28-man cabinet sworn into office on Monday.
The Social media went into the outrage mode as the governor became a butt of jokes and attacks for his nepotism and what was assumed to be an act in buffoonery. Ogechi however had only been upgraded by her brother: she had four more than six years served as the deputy chief of staff for domestic matters.
Reno Omokiri, who belongs to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, tweeted:
Rochas Okorocha, a man who has spent more money on statues than he has on living human beings has now appointed his biological sister as “Commissioner for Happiness and Couples’ Fulfillment”. What sin did Imo people commit to deserve this embarrassment as their Governor?
— Reno Omokri (@renoomokri) December 5, 2017
Nedu Okeke was even harsher on the governor, when he wrote:
Rochas Okorocha of Imo State appoints Mrs. Ogechi Ololo as the Commissioner for "Happiness and Couples’ Fulfillment". If there was any doubt that Okorocha is a total misfit, he cleared it today.
— Nedu Ekeke #BBOG (@Nedunaija) December 4, 2017
Kayode Ogundamisi, a political activist also weighed in:
Rochas Okorocha appointed his Sister Ogechi Ololo (nee Okorocha) as Commissioner for Happiness and Couples' Fulfillment? Forget about the nepotism, that is now a regular in both Federal and State governments, but what is commissioner for happiness? Imo una Governor no well at all pic.twitter.com/p0dHmp9Kt7
— Kayode Ogundamisi (@ogundamisi) December 5, 2017
However both the governor and her sister have replied the critics, with the latter telling them to either seek information on what the appointment means or shut up.
I am truly surprised by the outbursts of young Nigerians on his excellency; Dr Rochas Okorocha. If you don't understand something, keep quite, read and research. Make good use of your senses
— Commissioner for Happiness (@MrsOgechiOlolo) December 5, 2017
She cited United Arab Emirates, which she said has a minister of happiness..
The Commissioner said the mandate of her office includes ensuring citizens of Imo state remain happy despite the economic meltdown and Biafran fiasco.
Others include ensuring couples in Imo state have a reduced divorce rate and better fulfilled marriages and cater to welfare for the average Imo indigene.
“In a time when divorce is at an all time high, I will use my good office to ensure couples in Imo will be fulfilled and serve as an example to the world”, she said.
Okorocha has also stoutly defended his decision to establish a Ministry of Happiness and Purpose Fulfillment.
He said the aim was to erase his observation of bitterness rampant among the people of the state, according to a statement on Tuesday.
He also defended his decision to appoint his sister as the commissioner of the new ministry.
“The real essence of life is to be happy and to fulfill one’s purpose in life. Government officials are elected to address this.This is the very reason people elect their leaders to guarantee their happiness and purpose fulfillment.”
“There is no activity of mankind that is not geared towards providing happiness.
“Unfortunately, this vital element of our social lives has not been properly addressed. Governments at different levels have created several ministries and departments to achieve this, yet people are bitter, angry with hate speeches which lead to crisis, war and even terrorism.
“In today’s world, especially in our country, millions of people are not fulfilling their purpose in life because of lack of mentorship and guidance. There is complete talent abuse as people no longer engage in life activities suitable to their talents.
“Sometimes in university environments, students are meant to study courses they ordinarily would like to do.
“This has given rise to why we have people who are favored, do work against their natural will just to survive.
“Happiness and Purpose Ministry therefore, is established for the lost time to correct the policy framework to guide Ministries and Department son what they must do to guarantee the citizens happiness and contribute better to the society,” he said.
His Chief Press Secretary, Mr Sam Onwuemeodo issued the statement.
“The choice of Mrs Ogechi Ololo; a Masters Degree Holder in Computer Science, USA who has been the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor on Domestic Matters and Food Security can be described as a round peg in a round hole. Before her appointment as the supervisory commissioner, She was charged with the responsibility of Liaising with the Federal Government on N-Power Project, CBN Anchor project& BOI, Empowerment Projects,” the governor added.