BY RALPH EJIMKONYE
The simmering political battle between Governor Hope Uzodinma and his predecessor, Senator Rochas Okorocha, may have gone overboard.The duo have become cat and mouse since Uzodinma was sworn in as governor of Imo State on January 16 after the Supreme Court had pronounced the latter as governor of Imo State
On Wednesday, the State Executive Council, at a meeting presided by the Governor, “approved the restoration of all illegally allocated plots in and around the state capital, revoking of their C of Os and restoration of original names and plans of all layouts within Owerri capital territory”
According to the State Commissioner of Information, Declan Emelumba, who spoke to newsmen shortly after the State Executive Council meeting, the decision of the Council was in line to the adoption of another White Paper on lands and related matters recommended by the Panel of Inquiry on lands in the State.
The Emeka Ihedioha administration, had set up several Panels of Inquiry, including the Panel on Lands, which arose out of several complaints that administration had received on issues pertaining to land allocation during Okorocha’s reign as governor of Imo State.
The Okorocha administration was alleged to have indiscriminately allocated lands, with most benefactors being family members, political associates and loyalists of the then governor.
Aside revocation of C Of Os, the state government said it “is proceeding with plans to demolish all illegal structures not contained in the new Government House permanent site at New Owerri and the restoration of the Arugo and Ekwema layouts to its original plan”
The media has been awash with reports that the new measure is targeted at the former governor who and family members do have properties in these areas which is at risk of being demolished. While officials of the State government say that the policy is in line with plans by the state governor to embark on urban renewal, there are fears that it is a new dimension in the ongoing political face off between Uzodinma and Okorocha.
The duo have engaged in relentless political altercations lately.