Imo State Commissioner for Information, Prof. Nnamdi Obiaraeri, in this interview with CHIDIEBUBE OKEOMA, talks about the establishment of the Ministry of Happiness and Purpose Fulfilment, the erection of statues of some African presidents by Governor Rochas Okorocha and some other controversies in the state
Recently, the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, appointed his sister as the commissioner for happiness and purpose fulfilment. Is the governor aware that what he did amounted to nepotism and an abuse of office or was it that he just didn’t care?
The reaction that greeted it was a manifestation of ignorance. The constitution is very clear. Section 42 of the 1999 constitution states that no one should be discriminated against, on grounds of sex, place of origin or status. What is the issue here? Is the lady qualified to serve the state? We are talking about a lady who is old and married. She has her life to live; she is from Owerri North by marriage and Ogboko by birth, and our law is very clear that she can fly a flag of confidence. So, if out of 30 commissioners that were appointed by the governor, a deputy chief of staff is asked to supervise a ministry, what is nepotistic about it? No law was violated. She is the deputy chief of staff and she was asked to oversee the activities in that ministry, or is there any law that stops the governor from appointing his sister?
A mild controversy followed the announcement of the establishment of the Ministry of Happiness and Couples Fulfilment and when it was later announced that it was meant to be the Ministry of Happiness and Purpose Fulfilment. Many people saw it as an afterthought given the backlash that trailed it. How do you defend that?
The government made an appointment and clarified it; I don’t think that should be a controversial issue. You see, life is all about happiness and purpose fulfilment, and how it affects the affairs of the state. We are talking about providing leadership that can be emulated. Just last month, the United Kingdom created the office of the minister for loneliness. So, that we created a ministry for purpose fulfilment was not something unusual. The essence of government is to make people happy; the primary essence of governance is to promote the happiness and the welfare of the people. And talking about a state that has 305 millionaires, a state where we have free and qualitative education at primary, secondary and university levels, a state that has over 4,000 women that have been empowered, a state where urban renewal has become the order of the day, why would purpose fulfilment be something to be laughed at, instead of being emulated? Like I said, the essence of governance is for people to be happy. So, the idea is to make sure that the government builds its projects and policies around happiness and purpose fulfilment. That is why you see a medical doctor that has a job jumping into the lagoon to commit suicide. That is a product of being unhappy. Hate speeches, the one we get from the social media and every imaginable public space, is a function of unhappiness. That ministry is a multipurpose ministry that would orientate Imo people, redirect the young people and make the elderly to begin to see themselves as fulfilled in life. So, it’s a very serious business. Other states should clearly emulate Governor Rochas Okorocha by creating ministry of happiness and purpose fulfilment.