BY BENEDICT NWACHUKWU, ABUJA
Imo State citizens resident outside the state have expressed fears that the November 11 off-cycle governorship election in the state has taken the form that may lead to a bloody polls if the ruling All Progressives Congress and the main opposition People’s Democratic Party continue with the campaign of character assassination.
The worried diaspora Imo citizens accused the giants behind the ugly trend, the incumbent Governor Hope Uzodimma, who is seeking reelection and National Secretary of the PDP, Samuel Anyanwu, who is also the party’s governorship candidate for the state for refusing to caution their supporters.
Recently, the APC alleged that the PDP candidate was in an unholy alliance with former governor of the state and APC Chieftain, Rochas Okorocha, to return University, other loot seized by the government in power.
Speaking on the way campaign is going in the state, Abuja based business man, Bethel Obinna said the politicians have left the problems bedeviling the state only to embark on frivolous issues.
He said the good people of Imo State need assurances from the politicians that the state will be conducive to live and do business as well as perform other necessary daily activities without the loss of life and property.
Recalling the negative banters from the parties that could trigger off election violence, Obinna said, “Imo State Government on Tuesday declared that it has information on a secret agreement between the governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party in the State, Senator Samuel Anyanwu and former Governor, Senator Rochas Okorocha, to return all seized and looted assets to Okorocha, and stop further implementation of the White Paper, should the PDP win the governorship election.
“In return, Okorocha will bankroll the election of Anyanwu, who is said to be desperately in need of cash to fund his election,” the government added.
Obinna asked what benefit was the allegation to the people of Imo State who have been subjected to a high degree of sufferings.
“It’s true our people suffered and are still suffering for the past 12 years. Our expectations now are to have a government that will navigate us out of these sufferings, solve insecurity, put an end to this sit at home imposition which has crippled our economy. These politicians should tell us what we will benefit when they come into office in 2024.”
The state government in a statement issued by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba to support its allegation, listed some of the seized looted assets to include the KO Mbadiwe University, Ogboko (Okorocha’s hometown) and the Palm Garden Estate in Owerri.
“Government has intelligence that the two desperate politicians have entered into an unholy alliance to short-change Imo people in the unlikely event that PDP wins the upcoming election,” Emelumba said.
He further said that part of the agreement was that Senator Anyanwu ( Samdaddy) will reverse and stop the implementation of the White Paper which indicted the former governor of siphoning billions of naira through phony contracts, including returning the KO Mbadiwe University to him.
Emelumba also claimed that in exchange, Okorocha would fund the election of Anyanwu, including handing over his political structure to the PDP candidate.
Tagging the PDP candidate an enemy of the state, Emelumba said, “It is not as if Senator Samuel Anyanwu can ever win the election but it is necessary to inform Imo people for them to take note of their enemies who wish to ruin the state for them by returning them to Egypt.
“We are not interested in how he became the governor. The four years are about to expire, that’s why we will have an election on November 11. Instead of telling us why we should not vote for him, they are busy calling him Supreme Court governor. These utterances can trigger off violence at campaign grounds. Imo State has witnessed much blood shed, so we are not praying that it continues. Therefore our politicians must watch their campaign utterances
“Of course it is clear that what this means is to encourage further looting of the commonwealth of Imo people in the unlikely event of a Samuel Anyanwu government.”
PDP and its supporters are also not relenting to present the APC candidate and incumbent governor in very bad light.
Like the APC, PDP supporters in their campaign have demonized governor Uzodimma, making him a subject of their campaign while abandoning issue-based campaigns.
Reacting, Kano State-based Cosmos Okechukwu condemned the campaign that is creating tension in Imo State and warned that it would do nobody any good.
He said referring to the governor as Supreme Court governor as a campaign tool does not translate to what the PDP intends to offer to the Imo people if they win the upcoming election.
“We are not interested in how he became the governor. The four years are about to expire, that’s why we will have an election on November 11. Instead of telling us why we should not vote for him, they are busy calling him Supreme Court governor. These utterances can trigger off violence at campaign grounds.
Imo State has witnessed much blood shed, so we are not praying that it continues. Therefore our politicians must watch their campaign utterances,” he said.
Hitting back at the APC for tagging its candidate an enemy of the state, the PDP claimed that history has shown that since the creation of the state, Imo has remained a peaceful and hospitable state where investors and foreigners come for relaxation and business ventures.
“Our people started witnessing pockets of insecurity immediately when the apex court delivered the most controversial judgement and declared Hope Uzodimma as the Governor of Imo State. His only mission since he was imposed is to make the state more insecure when he went after his perceived political rivals by unleashing his reported militia killer group against his targets,” the PDP said.
Ikenna Onuoha, Special Adviser (Media) to the National Secretary, and PDP governorship candidate, was quick to discredit governor Uzodimma by claiming that a Human Rights Organization, Inter Society in Enugu during its press conference indicted Governor Uzodinma’s administration where they reported that over 1,600 unarmed Imo citizens were killed, 400 disappeared in 29 months.
Onuoha claimed that Hope Uzodimma and his APC government in Imo state are afraid of the rising popularity of the governorship candidate of the PDP in the state, Senator Samuel Nnaemeka Anyanwu and his plans to make Imo the safest and freest state, East of the Niger which has led to the influx of political juggernauts to the PDP.
He added, “In a few weeks from now, more critical political stakeholders in APC, Labour Party, Action Alliance and others will collapse into PDP to be able to oust this vicious Hope Uzodimma’s administration in the state. Senator Anyanwu’s plan to make Imo safe again is indeed, a sealed deal.”
Another Abuja-based Imo State businessman who pleaded anonymity blamed the former governor, Senator Okorocha and his political followers for heating up the political arena of the state.
He said the comment by Okorocha at the birthday celebration of the PDP candidate fuelled the campaign of calumny.
He said Okorocha was invited to Samdaddy’s birthday, while addressing the dignitaries; he began by expressing bitterness that the Imo State he left peacefully a few years ago has become a theater of war, and attributed it to leadership failure and incompetence.
“The former Governor also acknowledged the capacity of the celebrant and PDP governorship candidate, Senator Anyanwu to secure Imo State from the grip of killings occasioned by insecurity having functioned as House of Assembly member during his administration as Governor. Okorocha further described the PDP candidate as not only a capacity filled vibrant young man but a man with a free mind.
Okorocha also claimed that the ongoing insecurity in the state has overwhelmed the government of Uzodimma, and therefore poses serious threats and grave danger to Imo people; hence promised to convene a special meeting with select critical leaders for the purposes of unraveling the scourge.
“If you are Hope Uzodimma will you not accuse him of entering into agreement with the PDP candidate?”, he queried.
He warned Imo youth to ignore the politicians who are beating drums of war expecting to use them saying that if any of them dies as a political thug, his family has nothing to gain from it.
Meanwhile, unconfirmed information at the disposal of The Point indicates that tension is brewing up in the state with the residents not sure of their safety as the recruitment of thugs and stationing them within some strategic places in some local governments to unleash mayhem on Imo people during the election is ongoing.
Recall that seven members of Imo PDP State Working Committee (SWC) of the PDP paid the governor a courtesy call, after dumping their party and joining the Imo APC on Monday, June 19, 2023.