A SPECIAL REPORT
The silence of key politicians in Imo State over the spike in insecurity has continued to raise concern.
There are feelers that most politicians are keeping quiet for various reasons, either avoiding being dragged into altercations with the authorities or deliberately keeping calm and watch the ill wind blow away.
However, Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma has consistently blamed politicians for the insecurity in the State. Despite the Governor’s allegations, he has not been able to mention one politician behind the unfortunate security situation.
Security agencies are also yet to fish out any particular politician behind the attacks, despite claims by the State Commissioner of Police, Abutu Yaro, that some politicians are also fueling the crisis in the State.
APC, PDP, APGA Bicker
It has been observed that top political actors in the State have kept quite since the raging insecurity crisis began.
Aside Senator Samuel Anyanwu, who had represented Owerri zone at the Senate from 2015-2019, who condemned the activities of unknown gunmen, it has been total silence from other political players over the unfortunate situation in the State.
Rather the opposition political parties who kicked against it, tackled Governor Hope Uzodimma over the unfortunate situation in the State.
They are the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA.
The PDP aside blaming Uzodimma, also called for his resignation.
State Chairman of the party, Charles Ugwu, at a press conference at the State headquarters of the party in Owerri, called on the governor to resign for proving incapable of handling the security situation in the State.
He said “Governor Hope Uzodimma in his capacity and responsibility as the Chief Security Officer of the State has failed to protect the lives and property of Imo people.
Following the path of the PDP is the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA.
John Iwuala, Caretaker Chairman of the party, also called on Uzodimma and APC to quit the seat of government in the State for failing to tackle the menace of insecurity.
PDP’s stance as expected attracted fierce criticisms from the APC led government.
Imo State APC Chairman, Marcellinus Nlemigbo described the call by the PDP as laughable, frivolous and delusional.
“The call for the governor’s resignation by PDP is not only frivolous, laughable and delusional but a further demonstration of acute desperation to sneak back to Douglas House through the backdoor, even at the detriment of lives and properties of ndi Imo” Nlemigbo said.
Some observers of the situation contend that the opposition political parties in the State merely scratched the matter, without advising or proffering solutions to resolve it.
Chief Gibson Eke, a resident in Owerri said “From the statements made by the two opposition political parties in the State on a burning issue such as insecurity, it seems they intend to reap political gains from the situation in the near future.
“It is also not enough for the political parties to speak. They have leaders and their political leaders should speak out. If they keep quite now, and come out to speak to us during elections, apparently to seek for votes, would the people of Imo State take them serious?” Mr. Eke asked.
Silence Fuels Diverse Opinions
The silence of key political players such as former Governors of the State, Senator Rochas Okorocha and Emeka Ihedioha had fueled diverse reactions from Imolites.
Okorocha and Uzodimma have remained bitter foes, which dates back from the period Uzodimma grabbed the governorship ticket of the APC from Okorocha’s son in law, Uche Nwosu.
Uzodimma’s emergence as governor of the State via the ruling of the Supreme Court on January 14, 2020, seems to have further deepened the rift, despite Okorocha’s appearance at the swearing in ceremony of the governor.
The rift took a frightening dimension when a White paper from a Judicial Panel of Inquiry emerged, which recommended recovery and forfeiture of property belonging to former governor Rochas Okorocha, to the state government.
Okorocha had also alleged of a plot by the present government to link him to the present state of insecurity in the State. He had claimed on national television that Uzodimma hates him with a passion.
The former governor said “Governor Hope Uzodimma hates me with passion. He just hates me. I don’t know the reason he has been fighting me, but never a day, I fought him and I made it a point of duty that I will never fight back.
“But he just shows hatred and envy. I don’t know why or for what reason and he doesn’t seem to be changing. He is not relenting.
Uzodimma in his response through his Chief Press Secretary/Media Adviser, Oguwuike Nwachuku, said “Nigerians should not take him (Okorocha) seriously. He is being hunted by his ghost over how he destroyed a state he governed for eight years.”
“Imo people may forgive him but they will not forget what he did to them – raping the state in and out and making it look like a laughing stock until recently when Governor Hope Uzodimma took up the challenge to clear his mess
The former governor, who represents Orlu zone in the Senate, however condemned the gruesome murder of former presidential Adviser in the State, Ahmed Gulak, but was silent on the matters relating to insecurity in the State.
A statement by Sam Onwuemedo, his Media Adviser, rather accused the State government of arresting two members of his larger political family, which was geared towards implicating the former governor.
Former Governor Emeka Ihedioha has also been accused of keeping silent in the face of the tense security situation in the State.
Mr. Chukwudi Opara, a chieftain of the All Progressive Congress, APC in Owerri North LGA, did not single out Ihedioha.He also focused his gaze on past governors, Achike Udenwa, Ikedi Ohakim, and Rochas Okorocha.
According to him, former governors of the State, including past and serving lawmakers at the State and federal levels since 1999 till date, should come together under the umbrella of an emergency Peace Summit to aid the governor tackle insecurity and restore peace.
Opara told INNONEWS “Aside the former governors, serving Federal and State legislators, traditional rulers, the Clergy, should also be part of a Special and Emergency Summit where they would come together to brainstorm on ways of eliminating the raging monster of insecurity in the State.
Another chieftain of the APC in the State, who had vied for Owerri zone Senatorial seat in 2019, Chief Mike Nwachukwu, had in a statement last week, accused the opposition party and its leaders of making huge political capital from the insecurity in the State by keeping silent.
He said “The negative stance of the PDP on a serious issue such as insecurity is unfortunate and unacceptable. This is not time for politics or to reap political capital from the frightening level of insecurity in the State
“Leaders of the PDP in the State should be reminded that it is only when there is peace in the land that the electoral or political contest can take place.
However, a chieftain of the PDP in Owerri North LGA, Ndeze Amadi said Ihedioha should be left out of the present crisis. He said the former governor should be allowed to nurse his ordeal after he was unjustly removed from office as governor.
He said “Ihedioha should be left alone. When he was unjustly removed from office, how many political leaders in the State condemned the illegal abracadabra by the Supreme Court?
“When someone who came fourth in an election was suddenly declared winner and governor of the State, how many of us spoke against such injustice? We were all aggrieved, but most of us aided such bare-faced judicial robbery when we all kept quite.
“Besides, it is clear that members of the IPOB are the ones behind these attacks as revealed by the security agencies.What do you want the former governor to do or say?
“Is Ihedioha the governor of the State? Somebody is in charge of the State and that person is Senator Hope Uzodimma. He is the chief Security Officer of the State. He owes it a responsibility to secure lives and property in the State.
“It is not the duty of any former Governor or any past political office holder to secure lives and property. When they were in charge- the former governors, they took charge and secured the State. Nobody came from outside to do their jobs for them. We must get our facts right.
Amadi continued “Security is everyone’s business. We as citizens have roles to play to ensure we are all secured.
“We should not personalize it, as if it is the duty of former governors alone to provide security.
Mr Fred Ibe, a political analyst, said it is out of place to keep on calling on former governors to speak or fight the level of insecurity in the state.
“I believe the sitting governor has all the firepower to fight this insecurity. And from all indications, he has made considerable progress. He should be encouraged. If some politicians are sponsoring the attacks, there should be no hesitation in exposing them. I think we should leave the former governors and political leaders out of it.
“The traditional rulers should be fully involved in this. They are in charge of the grassroots where these hoodlums come from”
“There are feelers that most politicians are keeping quiet for various reasons, either avoiding being dragged into altercations with the authorities or deliberately keeping calm and watch the ill wind blow away”