They don’t come any bigger in the political waters of any state. One is a former Senator and sitting governor of the state. The other is a former governor and a sitting Senator. They are political heavyweights of the highest calibre in the state.
Hope Odidika Uzodinma, governor of Imo State was elected Senator representing Imo West Senatorial District in 2011, got re-elected in 2015 under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and saw off his tenure in 2019 when he contested for the office of the governor under the banner of the Progressives Congress (APC).
Owelle Anayo Rochas Okorocha decamped from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2011 and became governor of the state same year, flying the flag of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). He remained in office until 2019 after gaining re-election in 2015 under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to which he had decamped in 2013.
In 2019, Okorocha was declared winner of the Imo West Senatorial seat vacated by Hope Uzodinma.
From the PDP in 2011, Okorocha left for APGA when he could not get the gubernatorial ticket of the party with Uzodinma playing a major role in Ikedi Ohakim securing a return ticket. In 2018, Uzodinma jumped to the APC in his quest to realize his governorship ambition when the odds clearly did not favour him in the PDP. As was expected, Okorocha did not favour him, but he wrested the ticket anyway from the incumbent governor and his anointed son-in-law, Uche Nwosu.
On Sunday, February 21, 2020, Senator Rochas Okorocha was reported to have been arrested and questioned by the Police in Imo State after he was said to have unlawfully gained entrance into Royal Spring Palm Estate belonging to his wife, Nkechi but had gone under the seal of the state government.
Regaining his freedom after several hours with the police on Sunday, Senator Okorocha, while speaking to newsmen on Monday accused Gov. Uzodinma of sending thugs and policemen to harm him. He said his adversaries failed in their mission as his personal aides where on ground to ward them off and ferry him to safety.
“I want to add that the IGP (Inspector General of Police) should order the immediate arrest of Chinasa Nwaneri and Eric Uwakwe. They led thugs that injured one of my orderlies and staff with machetes. They also shot Uzor, my in-law, shattering his feet with bullets”, Senator Okorocha said.
In his reaction last Tuesday, Gov Uzodinma dismissed Okorocha’s claims, alleging rather that it was the Senator who personally stormed the seized property along Akachi Road in Owerri with thugs, injuring some policemen and civil defence operatives in the process.
The governor who addressed State House Correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja explained the circumstances that led to the seizure of the contentious property and accused Okorocha of breaching government order and inflicting bodily harm on security operatives.
“He went there with thugs himself, wounded the policemen there, wounded the Civil Defense people. A Civil Defense officer is currently still in the hospital. He (Okorocha) then broke in to the estate”, he said.
The Chief Press Secretary to the governor had earlier issued a statement indicting. Okorocha of working with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state to undermine the government.
“It is on record that the senator recently said he is working in cohort with the opposition to achieve his political ambition, and he has not hidden his romance with key PDP figures in Imo State to undermine the All Progressives Congress (APC) government of Governor Uzodinma”, the statement read in part.
Of course, groups and factions in Imo State politics have since been speaking, issuing veiled threats on various platforms and media spaces while the generality of the people watch helplessly as their leaders and their supporters engage themselves in a battle for supremacy over their common patrimony and political relevance.
Reacting to the development in a press chat with The Tide in Port Harcourt, legal practitioner and public affairs analyst based in the Rivers State Capital, Barr. Arochukwu Paul Ogbonna described it as a show of shame devoid of integrity on the part of the leaders who constantly generate conflict situations to feather their nests and leave the people with no material benefit.
“The development is a show of shame. It shows the extent to which the ruling class in Nigeria can degenerate in their contest over power; in their contest over the common wealth of the people and creating controversy and rearing insecurity all over the place.
“What has happened in Imo does not show any sign of integrity nor that any of them is worthy of commanding the respect of the people in the position of leadership”, Barr. Ogbonna submitted.
He bemoaned the likely division, confusion and disillusionment the conflict between the political giants could have on the people and advised the citizenry in the state to remain united and refuse being dragged into the fray and thereby lose their (people) power over the ruling class.
“It is going to divide the people the more and definitely, as it happens in local politics, it’s going to be triggering up crises, quarrels, fights and even bloodbath among the loyalists. So, it goes to reinforce and goes further to fortify the argument we have raised in the past that the ruling class in our society are the harbingers of insecurity, they are the creators of insecurity, they are the ones who generate the crises that undermine the entire system and compromise everybody.
“A sitting senator, a sitting governor fighting … definitely it’s a means to excite the people and before you know it, various factions will start fighting and the police will have much more than enough on their hands to handle”, he lamented.
He advised the people of Imo State not to give in to the antics of their leaders and particularly urged the youths to always stand on the side of the law in their engagement with the political elite as they would gain nothing but frustration if they allowed themselves to be used as dispensable in the political power play of those who have gotten it all already and nothing to lose.
“I think the people of Imo State have not been blessed with very good leadership for sometime now and they have to come together.
“First of all, they need to come together. They must do everything humanly possible to stand on the part of the law; let them be very law abiding. Let, particularly, the youths refuse every attempt to use them as shield”, he said stressing that: “These are political office holders whom they expect good governance from; whom they expect to give them the best to represent their interest and to give them good services.
“For such people to fight and use their resources, fight over their resources and employ their resources to fight themselves means they will abandon governance for politics.
“So the youths should resist the temptation to be used as canon fodders, to be employed as supporters of A or B to go fighting political interests for the interest of political office holders. They shouldn’t be distracted. They should demand for political accountability, they should demand for openness in the political process and in the management of their resources at the state.
“But if they derail by allowing themselves to be used as supporters and used as thugs and touts to be fighting each other, then the political office holders have nothing to lose. They have reached a stage in their career where they’re comfortable and therefore the ordinary man will suffer. And the entire citizens of Imo State should resist the temptation of being dragged into the personal quarrel or disagreement of political office holders that have abandoned governance for politics”, he insisted.
To save the people the adverse backlash of the titanic clash of the Imo State political juggernauts, Barr. Ogbonna appealed to the traditional institution, leaders of thought, other notable stakeholders and the APC hierarchy within the Imo West Senatorial Zone in particular and the state in general to wade into the matter with a view to nipping the crisis in the bud.
“It is expected that the elders in their Senatorial district should call them to order, should ask them to exercise restraint and self discipline. Some of the things they drag into the media space are things they can resolve internally and issues worse than this had been resolved internally. When you drag it into the media space, you get innocent people involved and you over heat the polity.
“Let the traditional rulers, leaders of thought, opinion leaders and some other stakeholders, both within and outside the party see how they can bring them together to resolve this thing on the side of the people.
“Any attempt to get factionalised, I think they may spend the next four, five six, seven years or more talking about this one and only issue. As it happens in Nigeria, people will die, resources will be wasted and nothing will be achieved”, he admonished.
SDP Wants Death Penalty For Election Riggers
The Social Democratic Party, SDP, has advocated for death penalty against election riggers ahead of 2023 general elections.
This was as the party kicked against zoning of the Delta State Governorship ticket to the Central Senatorial District, saying in a state like Delta with its political maturity and as home to eggheads, competence must trump zoning.
Chairman of the party in the state, Amb. Oke Idawene, who is also the Chairman, Forum of SDP State Chairmen, stated this in an interview with The Tide source.
He commended the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, for its decision to deploy the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, in the September 11 state Assembly bye-election in Isoko South 1, Delta state, saying the technology helped to reduce incidents of multiple voting.
Idawene said the device was able to guarantee the credibility of voters’ accreditation by preventing incidents of multiple voting or the use of stolen Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs, to vote while the use of the incident form was eliminated.
On rigging, he said the problem is not with INEC but other stakeholders.
He said: “The problem we have right now is not INEC. It is the people. Somebody tried to snatch a ballot box in Isoko South and he was gunned down. I don’t like bloodshed, but that is the way to go. Ahead of 2023, the punishment for such electoral malfeasance should be death by hanging. Anybody rigging elections is an enemy of the people and must be so treated.
“With the BVAS, the votes were not adulterated. There was no rigging in that election. For the first time in Nigeria, I went for an election where until the morning of the elections, the collation officers were not known and the voting pattern was clear. “To this end, I think we should give INEC all the support for electronic voting, electronic collation and transmission of results. It is only then we can get genuine leadership and see Nigeria tilting towards progressive tendencies. I want to call on the National Assembly to support this BVAS and other technologies used by INEC.”
Nwanosike Signs Four By-Laws
The Executive Chairman of Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State, Hon. Samuel Nwanosike has signed four bills into by-laws.
While signing the bills at the Ikwerre Council Chamber, Isiokpo, which were passed by members of the Ikwerre Legislative Assembly, Nwanosike described them as very significant to Ikwerre people.
According to him, “Just hundred days in office plus, we are here today signing into law four bylaws. It is a feat that is worth commending”.
“I want to thank the leadership of the 9th Assembly to continue flying the flag of legislative activities in Ikwerre Local Government.
“So, I want to assure them that the executive arm will continue to collaborate with them to make sure activities of government at the third tier level is done to provide dividends of democracy for the people of Ikwerre Local Government.
The Ikwerre chairman stated that the defaulters of the by-laws would be punished accordingly.
“As a government we will do everything within our power to make that the laws are properly executed”, he added.
He commended members of the Legislative Assembly for doing their best to serve the people of the Ikwerre LGA.
In his speech, the Leader of the lkwerre Legislative Assembly, Hon. Nwobuisi Chikwe-Tasie, said that the by-laws would be monitored and defaulters made to face the law.
The bills signed into by-laws were the Internal Control and Regulation of Sanitation Activities in Ikwerre Local Government Area as well as the Recovery of Possession and Protection of Premises and Other Matters Connected Therewith in Ikwerre Local Government Area.
Others were the Regulation and Control of Sawing of Premature Trees for Timber in Ikwerre Local Government Area and the Regulation and Control Operation of Motorcycles/Tricycles in Ikwerre Local Government Area.
Author Urges Political Leaders To Empower Youths
A budding author, Iyke Ekwueme Amirize, has identified youth empowerment as the key to transform society.
Mr. Amirize in a chat with The Tide shortly after the launch of his book,” Political Milestones in Rivers State” recently, said youths should also be schooled in leadership.
According to him, when youths are fully empowered, it creates equity and peace, as those who are not positively engaged are liable to be used in carrying out violent acts.
On the tutelage of young people in leadership, the author submitted that exemplary life is very important as young people copy what they see around them.
Commenting on the book, Amirize said the publication seeks to mirror the development of Rivers State since its creation in 1967.
“ The book is all about the milestones in the state. It covers the traditional, educational and judiciary and legislature, including the electoral processes”, he stated.
He said that Rivers State was working towards massive infrastructure development, but had not gotten to a full developed state.
He urged government to give attention to security of lives and property, as a way of spreading the dividends of democracy, adding that “the youths also need scholarships and employments”.
- Business4 days ago
Nigeria Doubles Down On Oil After Years Of Trouble
- Business4 days ago
FAAN Trains 121 Security Personnel In 12 Airports
- Business4 days ago
Omehia Hails Wike’s Infrastructural, Human Dev Strides
- Business4 days ago
National Carrier Gets N400m Allocation Despite Failure To Begin Operations
- Business4 days ago
Godwin Emefiele: Bad Bank Debtors Frustrating Loan Recovery
- Sports4 days ago
Rivers United Gets New Chief Coach …As Chairmen Hail Appointment
- Business4 days ago
Refinery’s Rehab: PHRC Boss Seeks Host Communities’ Support
- Business4 days ago
Diversification Of Nigeria’s Economy On Course – FIRS