By Barr. Ekene Bob-Ekechukwu
The Akachi Tower was built by the former Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha. According to the ex-governor he built the Tower, which cost a whooping N750m, as a “pilgrimage or adoration” Center, and also a tourist site. However today, popular opinion in Imo State disagree with the fact that the expensive Tower has any spiritual or aesthetic importance to the State. The citizenry are of the opinion that the Tower which is everything but godly should be demolished for the following 7 reasons:
1. Akachi Tower Was A Conduit Pipe Used In Siphoning Imo Treasury-
The revelation that the Akachi Tower was built with almost a Billion Naira sparked serious controversy in the State. Imolites were angry with the fact that Okorocha had to squander almost one third of the State’s monthly allocation over a hopeless and meaningless monument, whereas roads were in a horrible state, pensioners and civil servants were owed several months in arrears. As a result the continual existence of the Tower serves as a constant reminder, to Imolites of the numerous lives of pensioners and contractors lost due to unpaid entitlements. So the Tower has to be demolished and the funds wasted in its construction recovered accordingly.
2. It Is An Exact Replica Of The Mosque of Samarra In Iraq-
The Mosque of Samarra is a Muslim shrine built in Iraq in the 9th Century. According to one Muhammad Sadiq it’s a symbol of Islamic dominance over the area where the Mosque/Shrine is located. Imo is a Christian State. Several reports abound of Okorocha’s complicity in the plot to Islamize the Southeast using Owerri as his headquarters. So it could be rightly assumed that the Tower is symbolic of Islamic dominance and probably Jihad. Therefore, since Imolites do not subscribe to the Islamization of the State, the strange monument has to be demolished.
3. The Tower Is Situated On An Illegally Acquired Land-
The Land Use Act provides that private lands may be acquired, by government, after due process, if it is to be used to serve a public purpose. It is believed that Okorocha didn’t follow due process in the acquisition of the site where the Tower was built. Consequently the owners sued government and the Court ruled in their favour and ordered government to return the land to them. Based on the said judgment, it is incumbent on the government to demolish the illegal structure and return the land to the owner, in obedience to the Court order.
4. The Tower Has Neither Spiritual Nor Tourist Value –
It is deceptive and obviouly fraudulent for Okorocha to say that the Akachi Tower is a pilgrimage or tourist site. Pilgrimage Centers all over the world are not built by government. Instead they oftentimes emanate from historical religious and spiritual backgrounds. In fact they are usually tied to some supernatural or spiritual occurrences which attract faithfuls to visit the site. So most times, such pilgrimage Centers end up tourist sites.
There was no such spiritual occurrence or religious history connected to the Akachi Tower to warrant it’s declaration as a pilgrimage cum tourist site. Rather it could be seen by any right thinking person that the “cock-and-bull” story told by Okorocha about the Tower is geared towards diverting attention from the sleaze surrounding it’s construction. Pilgrimage and Tourist Centers do not emanate vide an “Executive Order” but as a result of historical connections and spirituality.
5. Allowing The Tower To Exist Amounts To Endorsing The Illegalities Surrounding It’s Construction –
Based on the facts already set down, it’s clear that the construction of the Tower is surrounded by Illegalities, starting from the wrongful acquisition of the site, the unjustified high cost of it’s construction and the deception encompassing it. Failure to demolish the Tower will amount to an endorsement of these Illegalities.
6. The Tower Is Blasphemous amd A Mockery Of God-
Okorocha forgets that God is a Sovereign Spirit who can’t be bought with money nor deceived. He is omni scient as a result, understands the true intents of every man’s heart. It is blasphemous and a mockery of God for Okorocha to seek to use His Holy Name to decieve Imo people in to believing that the Tower is in His honour. Whereas the Tower served as a conduit pipe to siphon a whooping N750m of tax payers money. Of what economic value is the Tower in a State where people were hungry and dying due to government’s inability to pay contractors, worker’s salaries and pensions promptly? God can’t be interested in a monument built from the sufferings and blood of the poor masses.
7. Neither Okorocha Nor The Federal Government Should Dictate How Imo Will Be Governed-
The demolition of the Akachi Tower is the prerogative of the Executive Governor of Imo State, Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha. We operate a presidential/ federal system of government. The federating units constitutionally possess a high degree of independence. Sometime ago, it was reported that soldiers were deployed to guard the Tower, when attempts were made to demolish it by the original owners of the land. It is unconstitutional for the Federal Government to have deployed the army to prevent the demolition of a State owned edifice without the invitation or consent of the Governor.
It is neither the business of Okorocha nor the Federal Government, how the State is being run. Consequently, if the government decides to demolish a mere Tower within it’s State, why should Okorocha or the Federal Government be concerned? Unless there is something Okorocha and the Federal Government knows about the Tower that Imolites don’t know about.
Barr. Ekene Bob-Ekechukwu