Whenever there is an attack anywhere or someone gets killed, it concerns and connects to everyone thus making everyone a victim, although some are always more affected and “more victim” than others, for example, people whose houses and other property including vehicles were burnt or destroyed in the process, even the ‘killer or assassin’ , when he/she gets killed, it also affects their immediate family and someone there will definitely become a victim by and large, so it is an avoidable vicious circle.
What happened at Akokwa, in Ideato North Local Government Area of Imo State, on January 14 2023 during a political rally organized by one Ugochinyere, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Candidate for Ideato North and South Federal Constituency, was like a rude shock to many peace-loving Imo citizens.
Sincerely, it was a beastial and unwarranted attack on a political rally and on unarmed Imo citizens exercising their freedom of association, guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended. More worrying is the fact that it came on the heels of a similar attack on the former Governor of Imo State, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, who was saved miraculously by God Almighty.
What could be the motive for the attack and likely gain of the attackers, is difficult to establish but one thing certain is that it is wrong to shed blood.
I have heard and read people’s different opinions about the ugly incident. Some are intelligent, well – articulated, while some are bland, hateful and totally misguided.
Some even suggested that Governor Uzodimma, should adopt a tough stance or assume emergency powers to deal with the menace of insecurity, though with the approval of the State legislature but that seems an extreme measure with extreme consequences including loss of lives and property.
Much as the suggestions as per how to deal with the unwarranted attacks of gunmen and bandits seem cogent, some of them are however at variance with the true character of the Governor, Distinguished Senator Hope Uzodimma – who is a peace-loving man that abhors hurting anyone and hates shedding of blood because it conflicts with his character, deep-seated Christian beliefs and teachings of the Bible.
For instance, following the stealing of his mandate by the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Uzodimma did not resort to violence or threatened to make Imo State ungovernable – far from it.
Instead, he used legal means by approaching the court as a true democrat with respect for the rule of law to recover his stolen mandate. Recall that when ‘the same people,’ conspired to steal his Senatorial mandate in Orlu Zone, Distinguished Senator Hope Uzodimma, did not threaten anyone and did not instigate violence – no. He rather went to court even up to the Supreme Court to recover his mandate.
Remember, that one of the main beneficiaries of the stolen mandate that lasted for seven months, once upon a time in Imo State, had threatened to make Imo State ungovernable, immediately after they were sacked by the Supreme Court, having failed to disprove the overwhelming evidence of electoral fraud against them as presented by the formidable legal team of Gov. Uzodimma.
Given the fact that credible intelligence has proven that the unwarranted but deliberate attacks on innocent and peaceful Imo people (especially members of the All Progressives Congress APC, Imo chapter, supporters of Gov. Uzodimma and his government), are politically-motivated, one might be tempted to suspect that those who threatened to make Imo ungovernable in 2020 could be behind the killings and terror visited on Imo people.
One other thing most commentators scarcely mention or deliberately gloss over is the attack on Nigeria Correctional Centre facility in Owerri, on April 5, 2021 and the release of over 1,844 hardened criminals, most of whom are still at large.
Since after that unabashed bravado, which the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has constantly denied any involvement, Imo State has been under attack by armed criminals parading as gunmen. Many innocent people have been killed, property destroyed but the determined effort of Gov. Uzodimma with the support of the Federal Government, has been able to contain what seemed like a conflagration at a point in time, and confine it to pockets of attack easily handled by security agencies.
That is why I posited earlier that adopting extreme measures in the form of assuming emergency powers like we are in a state of emergency might not be appropriate due to the fact that it will send the wrong signal to the country and people overseas especially the potential investors. It might also lead to an escalation of violence when what is required is de-escalation.
Meanwhile, it is not in the character of Gov. Uzodimma, to shed blood or allow anyone including security agents to kill people – never. He has a covenant with God Almighty and determined to keep it. The covenant is strong and about service to humanity. He did not come to kill and destroy – never. He came to build, recover, rehabilitate and reconstruct. He came to restore the lost glory of Imo State and prove to the world that it is possible to serve altruistically.
When some misguided fellows were pointing an accusing finger at Gov. Uzodimma, in the aftermath of the tragic event at Akokwa, especially the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Imo chapter, I felt very bad because Gov. Uzodimma cannot descend into such recklessness – what for? He is the Governor of entire Imo people including the opposition and it is his duty to protect everyone. Therefore, it hurts him sorely, when any Imo life is lost because he believes every life matters.
Unfortunately, the PDP in a recent press release signed by Chief Charles Ugwu, and pretentious protest, continues to fan embers of acrimony by peddling fallacies just to stoke up confusion among the populace.
PDP cannot claim that Imo State is a theatre of war and it is being targeted or prevented from campaigning, when Atiku Abubakar, the Presidential candidate of the party had come to the state and campaigned peacefully without any obstruction, intimidation or harassment.
The PDP cannot claim that Imo is unsafe while, Sir Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party, had campaigned in Imo State peacefully and safely. The sporadic attacks in Imo State by some enemies of the masses do not in any way warrant the call for state of emergency because no state in Nigeria is free from such attacks.
I had expected the PDP to react strongly by condemning the deadly attack on the former Governor of Imo State, Chief Ikedi Ohakim but the party remained unconcerned and mute.
The Akokwa incident though as bad as it were, is not the first nor more painful than others like it. It is dangerous that a party like the PDP, will resort to wild speculations and assumptions without any substantive evidence to buttress her claims – this terrible attitude speak volumes about the wicked inclinations of the leadership of the party, whose preoccupation is to grab power by all means and continue with “share the money.”
The malicious assumption that the Ebubeagu Security outfit, which is a pan-southeast effort, established to assist the Nigeria Police and other security agencies fight crime in the zone is targeted at the PDP in Imo State is as ludicrous as stupid. The PDP in Imo State should do some soul-searching because it has failed as a party.
Meanwhile, there are reports that troops of the 82 Division, Enugu, have stormed and destroyed the camp of the gunmen that carried out the deadly attack right there at Akokwa, killing three of them and capturing some while others fled with bullet wounds – this development has proven those pointing an accusing finger at the government of Imo State, so wrong.
Speaking during the 7th Imo Stakeholders’ Forum, which held at Ndubuisi Kanu Square, Owerri recently, Governor Uzodimma pointed out that he did not come to grab but to serve adding that he will never compromise his determination to succeed as a good Governor.
His words: ‘We must not play politics with Imo State as we have no other State. I am not desperate but it is regrettable that some politicians have vowed to continue to cause trouble. I wonder why only APC members, members and supporters of the government are the targets of insecurity. I urge the trouble makers to repent. That which I will get by taking blood should not come to me.What Imo needs is transparent and God-fearing Governor with the capacity to move the State forward.”
A leader that made such declaration cannot be joking. A leader that made such statement cannot be bloodthirsty – never! This is corroborated by the fact that in the face of deliberate provocations by criminals like the burning of his house at Omuma, all hell did not let loose in Imo State, regardless of the fact that Gov. Uzodimma, has got the power and connection. When he threatened to announce the names of sponsors of insecurity in Imo State, he later soft-pedalled because he did not want to overheat the polity but some in their wicked nature misinterpreted it as cowardice and mere grandstanding but I know and it is true that Uzodimma, who withstood Rochas Okorocha and Emeka Ihedioha can neither be intimidated nor frightened by any mortal.
Come what may, providence has positioned Gov. Uzodimma as the father of all Imo people and based on that, I advise that the opposition and all troublemakers should stop stoking up hate and inciting violence. The opposition should patriotically accept the olive branch held out by Governor Uzodimma and join the efforts to make Imo great by allowing peace to reign because when insecurity festers, everyone is a victim.
God bless Imo State.