By Chidiebere Onyemaizu
Social media influencers and lobbyists are on the prowl at the behest of out-going Imo state governor, Rochas Okorocha. He has allegedly engaged their services to help clean and burnish his image and public perception which have seriously received unmitigated bashing in the last six years of his eight year reign.
Worried by the negative perception and unsettling commentaries about him trending in the media, the embattled governor is said to have decided to do everything within his powers to change the narratives before yielding power to governor-elect, Rt. Honourable Emeka Ihedioha on May 29, 2019.
“His Excellency wants to correct those negative impressions about him, he wants to change the sordid narratives he has been tarred with by aggressively highlighting his achievements; he believes he is unsung and his opponents deliberately engaged in misinformation in order to lower his estimation in the eyes of Imo people”, says a source close to him.
“The social media platforms are veritable and effective instruments for image recast.From now till May 29, you will be seeing more of His Excellency’s salutary achievements and correct commentaries about him on the social media platforms”, our source further said.
The social media influencers and lobbyists appear to be living up to billing. In the last three days they have been frantically trying to project the out going governor as a champion of education with focus at changing the sore narratives surrounding the controversial Eastern Palm University, Ogbako, Ideato South local government area of imo state.
Ogbako is Okorocha’s home town and the University is build next to his country home.
With pictures of exotic structures of the University splashed on hundreds of Facebook walls, Facebook groups, blog sites and WhatsApp groups accompanied by brief but enchanting piece about Okorocha, another source hints that the idea is to pass off the Eastern Palm University, which is owned by the governor as one of the “landmark achievements” he is bequeathing to the state so as to warm himself into the hearts of Imo people, even as he quits office.
One of the social media influencers, Ikerionwu Arthur Nnaemeka, writing on a popular Facebook group with over million membership,”Igboist” , speaks elegantly of the university and Okorocha thus: ” I am happy that the narrative about him has changed in these few days.. he finished well. There are a lot to remember him with …when the history of Imo state will be written”
Another social media influencer who goes by the name, Caring Eberechi Heavenly, saturating her Facebook wall with pictures of the controversial university, exclaimed: “My Igbo people get taste!” She then went on to eulogise Okorocha and the school: “Eastern Palm University in Imo state is a world class standard university, comfortable and well equipped, built by Rocha Okoroacha”
Okorocha has been evasive as to whether the Eastern Palm University is actually owned by Imo state.When he muted idea of the university, the out going governor had branded it state owned but insiders say the state of the art ivory tower is actually owned by him under his Rochas Foundation.
RipplesNigeria, an online portal reports: ”
While governor Okorocha claims that the university is the outcome of a joint venture between Rochas Foundation and Imo state, stakeholders of the state insist that the university, clandestinely built with Imo state funds, belongs fully to the state.
Okorocha had told some journalists that Imo State government’s holding in the university is “infinitesimal” while, according to him, the land upon which the university was built, was property of Rochas Foundation where he actually intended to build his own private university.
He has however refused to disclose how much of Imo state funds went into the construction and funding of the university”
According to findings, Eastern Palm University was registered at the NUC as the 42nd state-owned university and the 143rd university in Nigeria. However, it was listed by JAMB as a private university.