Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha, who was previously widely criticised for using public funds to erect statues of African leaders, has sparked outrage after appointing his biological sister as the commissioner for happiness and couples’ fulfillment.
Mrs Ogechi Ololo on Monday took up the first such portfolio in Nigeria.
She previously served as Okorocha’s deputy chief of staff and special adviser on domestic matters, in charge of Christmas decorations.
Reacting to criticism by Nigerians, Mrs Ololo on Tuesday said she is “truly surprised by the outbursts of young Nigerians… If you don’t understand something, keep quite, read and research. Make good use of your senses”
Below is her full post on Twitter:
“The Executive Governor of Imo State; Rochas okorocha has done a good job in commissioning this new office which is a first of its kind in Nigeria. The people of great Imo State deserve Happiness and a fulfilled life. God bless Imo State.
“In a time were couple 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.
Highlighting the responsibilities of her office, Ololo wrote:
“1. To ensure citizens of Imo state remain happy despite the economic meltdown and Biafran fiasco.
“2. To ensure couples in Imo state have a reduced divorce rate and better fulfilled marriages
“3. Cater to welfare of the the average Imo indigene.
“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.
“Let me educate Nigerians on this, for those lacking ignorance. United Arab Emirates has ministers of happiness and they are ahead of us. Read https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minister_of_State_for_Happiness_(UAE) …”
Okorocha has been accused of appointing family members and cronies to government offices without regard to the state’s lean finances, including naming his son-in-law as chief of staff.
In recent months he has honoured Liberia’s outgoing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and South Africa’s Jacob Zuma with statues in the state.
Zuma’s statue was reported to have cost 520 million naira ($1.4 million, 1.2 million euros).
Okorocha was criticised for the expense as public sector workers in Imo were owed several months’ salary.
He has also been criticised for spending millions of naira to put up a Christmas tree reputed to be one of the biggest in the world.