Why Nigerian state created a ‘Ministry of Happiness’ led by Governor’s sister

Nigeria’s Imo State has again stirred up controversy after creating the Ministry of Happiness and Purpose Fulfilment which will be led by Governor Rochas Okorocha’s sister.

This comes two months after an uproar over a statue erected in the state to honor embattled South African President Jacob Zuma.

The new ministry was earlier named the Ministry of Happiness and Couples Fulfilment which the governor’s office described as a typographical error during the swearing-in of commissioners.

Ogechi Ololo, the governor’s sister, was appointed the commissioner of the ministry. This further deepened the controversy despite her experience with the administration including a previous role as the governor’s deputy chief of staff.

“Happiness is something that is still lacking. My role is to create positive attitudes for our Imo people … This ministry is policy-driven,” she told the BBC.

The ridicule of the ministry on social media compelled Governor Rochas Okorocha’s office to explain the reason for setting up the ministry.

“The real essence of life is to be happy and to fulfil one’s purpose in life; Government officials are elected to address this. Happiness and Purpose Fulfilment Ministry, therefore, is established for the lost time to correct the policy framework to guide ministries and departments on what they must do to guarantee the citizens’ happiness and contribute better to the society.

“This is the very reason people elect their leaders: to guarantee their happiness and purpose fulfilment. A great leader, therefore, is one who provides happiness to the people. 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.

“The choice of Mrs Ogechi Ololo, a Master’s Degree Holder in Computer Science, USA who has been the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor on Domestic Matters and Food Security can be described as a round peg in a round hole.

“Before her appointment as the supervisory commissioner, she was charged with the responsibility of liaising with the Federal Government on N-Power Project, CBN Anchor project and BOI, Empowerment Projects.”

Face2face Africa is an African-owned and operated media platform committed to informing and connecting black people around the world. Our mission is to bring a balanced perspective to the African narrative and provide the platform for discourse and interaction. If you have an important story to share or would like us to bring more attention to something in your community, please email us at storiesthatmatter@f2fafrica.com.

This article by Ismail Akwei was first published on face2faceafrica.com

Published by Ismail Akwei

Ismail Akwei is an international journalist, digital media and communications professional, editor, writer, arts, culture and tourism advocate, human rights activist, pan-Africanist, tech enthusiast and history buff. He has worked with multinational media companies across Africa and has over a decade’s experience in journalism.

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