The creation of Ministry of Happiness and Couples Fulfillment by Imo state Governor, Rochas Okorocha, has generated another controversy, even as the outcry trailing the erection of Zuma’s statue in Owerri is yet to abate. CHIDIEBERE IWUOHA reports.
Reactions have continued to trail Governor Rochas Okorocha’s introduction of a novel ministry, Ministry of Happiness and Couples Fulfillment since Monday. Imo residents can be said to be confused and are yet to come to terms with the name and what the ministry aims to achieve. To worsen the whole thing, the Governor’s younger sister, Mrs Ogechi Ololo married to an engineer, Chucks Ololo, who was a former Transition Committee Chairman for Owerri North LGA and All Progressives Congress(APC) candidate for Federal House of Representatives in 2015, was appointed to head the ministry.
Prior to her new position, Mrs Ololo was the Governor’s Chief of Staff(Domestics) and reportedly controlled the movement of all edibles in and around Imo State Government House. She has been charged with the responsibility of the yearly Christmas decorations which gulp millions of money since the inception of Okorocha’s administration in 2011, yet, no expenditure or income report.
Reaction to her new ministry
The newly appointed Commissioner Mrs Ololo had said some hours after her appointment that the ministry was created to make Imo people happy.
According to her, happiness meant different things to different people. “ For some people, it is food, for some, it is school for their children and others good road.”
She stated that in Imo State, there was free education as there was no school fees headache which made parents happy. “So, my Ministry will continue to look into things like that which other commissioners failed to see.
However, many people have reacted quickly to the issue. One of the newly inaugurated Transition Committee Chairmen who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity, said Oga (ie Governor) was cracking the joke of the century by setting up the ministry. “If he meant it, it would amount to gathering people from time to time to have a lunch or dinner, whereby everything will be available, including different kinds of drinks. And after eating to satisfaction, the Commissioner will distribute envelopes to go home with. For me, that is the only thing that will give people the desired happiness”.
Another respondent, Okechukwu Okweze , said the creation of the ministry alone is the height of illiteracy on the part of the Governor. He added that the Governor exposed his illiteracy by not properly coining the ministry’s name, an issue that would have been better if a literate or more literate person had coined it.
Another resident, Eze Oyima, made it clear that his little knowledge of Ogechi Ololo “ does not give me the impression that she will manage that ministry very well. Her facial outlook any time there is Government function, especially when food is available to share, does not give hope to the common man and cannot attract happiness. She selects people who should queue to eat her food. She stands at the door like an Army General and roars like a wounded lion any time. So, the dream of the Governor to have an ideal ministry might be dashed if Ogechi does not go on refresher course before finally taking over. Again, if I were the Governor, I would first of all settle all pension arrears and pay workers 100% of their salaries instead of 70 0r 80% being paid before embarking on that novelty.”
A political scientist, Ibe Johnson, noted that Nigeria through Imo State, had become the fifth country where Ministry of Happiness was in existence. He said that President Nicolas Maduro of Venuezuela created “Ministry of Supreme Happiness for 2016”. According to him, Maduro said while setting it up that the ministry would be in charge of government plan to provide food, money and house for poor people. “In India, the State of Madhya Pradesh set up Happiness Ministry with the agenda to increase ordinary people’s happiness. Chief Minister, Shivraj Singh Chouhan observed that happiness was not only food, house, motor but that people did not need to battle with stress and carry problems in mind. Other countries like United Arab Emirates and another Asian country, Bhutan also created Ministry of Happiness. But my problem with Rochas is that his own ministry might turn out to persecute the poor and downtrodden in the state instead of giving them happiness”.
I created Ministry of Happiness to address Bitterness
But the governor has reacted to the criticisms, saying, I created Ministry of Happiness to address bitterness. Okorocha, said Tuesday, he observed the people of the state, were embittered, he created the Ministry of Happiness and Purpose Fulfilment, to archive happiness for them.
A statement by Okorocha’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr Sam Onwuemeodo, confirmed this in a release to newsmen in Owerri.
Real essence of life
“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.” The governor went further to say: “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.”