As the people of Imo State wait to receive the President and Commander- in- Chief of the Armed Forces of Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mohammadu Buhari, who is billed to land Imo State this morning, there is tension, and mixed feelings among the populace.
The palpable scenario is caused by call by the Indigenous People of Biafra IPOB, asking all the States in the South East to observe a sit-at-home, to frustrate the visit of the President to Imo State.
However, the Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma has assured the citizens of their security, and urged Imo masses to troop out in their numbers to accord the visiting President a resounding welcome.
Already, the Imo State capital Owerri, is beginning to wear a new look with hasty jobs going on with completion of some roads, with others painted and pot holes filled.
The Governor, Senator Uzodinma was seen personally supervising some of the on-going repair works in the State capital, even as the Naze/Poly junction has been partially blocked to mount the Traffic Lights at the Road which leads into the State capital from the Airport, which Mr President will travel.
Trumpeta was told that apart from Commissioning of some projects, the President will hold a Town Hall Meeting where he will interact with the people, including Traditional Rulers, the Clergy, Party Chieftains, Captains of Industry, Market men and women, and others.
However, as the Government prepares for the August Visitor, the IPOB said that Ndigbo should observe sit-in- home because of the what IPOB called the marginalization faced by Igbos in the Buhari administration, adding that Ndigbo have not to celebrate about the Buhari administration.
The outlawed Organization said through one of its “Directors” that Igbos have suffered untold hardship and marginalization since 2015 the Buhari administration assumed office.
But the Imo State Governor said that Imo State has enjoyed good relationship with the Federal Government led by Buhari, and will accord him a befitting welcome.
However, the scenario has caused confusion among the populace, as there is apprehension as there is fear over any breach of security by the proscribed IPOB members as the Government will not look aside while hoodlums intimidate the masses.
Reacting on the visit APGA chairman, Imo State, Charles Iwuala said that
“APGA as a party must know actually what Mr President is coming to do in the state before we make statements. Just this morning, over the radio we learnt that the President is coming to commission traffic lights, streetlights, re-painted Wethdral and Okigwe roads, Egbu-Chukwuma Nwoha road, relief market road, though it has been commissioned twice, no problem. We also gathered that Mr President is to commission the flood control system as the Governor claimed to have taken care of the flood in Owerri, while Ndimo are opting for canoe transportation due to heavy flood after rains. Even the former APC Governor said the rains in Imo State are *acidic rains* etc.
“All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA Imo State as a party and the original Political mouthpiece of the masses in the state insists that for us and the majority of Ndimo to see a meaning in the Presidential working visit: President Buhari must be taken to Federal Medical Center, FMC, Owerri, mortuary department and see by himself, the dead bodies of innocent Imo youths killed by UNKNOWN UNIFORM MEN (UUM).
“The president is expected to condemn the killings of Imo youths which looks like a youthful ethnic extermination. We expect Mr President to condole with the families of these young youths that were extra judicially murdered in their prime age. We expect the President to take responsibility of their killings as well as the killing of police and army officers who lost their lives during the time of heightened insecurity. The President must apologize to Ndimo for the bad leadership his party, APC has imposed on Ndimo right from the former APC Governor of Imo State till this present Governor.
“Imo APGA is telling Mr President to go beyond Wethdral and Okigwe roads, commissioning of demolished roundabouts and installation of traffic lights to visiting some LGA headquarters in the state and see by himself that some of them are not different from Sambisa forest. Some LGA headquarters has become a good place for hunting grass cutters and other bush meats.
“Mr President Sir, Imo APGA would like you to take a tour to Nekede- Ihiagwa road. You need to see the good works of our Governor.
“My dear President Buhari, can you demand to see some wonderful jobs our Governor have done along Nekede old road and Umuguma road also with street lights all over. Haba, Governor Uzodinma, why are you excluding all these good roads done under your regime from the Presidential working visit for commissioning?
“President Mohammadu Buhari, listen and listen very carefully, let me tell you, if actually you will come, though I know you may not make it. If you failed to make it as I suspect, pls pass this message to anyone else who might come to represent you.
“Mr President, please, insist that you must be taken to Orji junction, take the road leading to Toronto, follow it up to Road safety round about, cross over and burst to Naze junction. Mr President Sir, you will see many wonderful road networking, dualized and completed by our dear workaholik Governor.
“Mr President, you need to ask where MCC-Uratta road is. Please try and visit the road as Governor Uzodinma has completely dualized it with flyovers and street lights everywhere.
“Finally, President Buhari, Imo APGA will be happy to join and clap for you if you can insist to see the road leading to Ikeduru, Isuala Mbano, Onuimo etc.
“Mr President, this your visit should be a three days working visit to enable you or whoever you want to send see many more projects done by our Governor waiting for commissioning.
I bet you Mr President, if you would be able to see all that I have pointed out, you will be left with no other option than to advise the Governor of Imo State, Dist Sen Hope Uzodinma to resign before you leave Imo State.
“Imo APGA have already compiled over “135 sins, atrocities, executive lies and executive rascalities of this present administration.”
“As it stands now, Imo is being governed without commissioners, SAs, SSAs. No local government election. The worst of it all, our state legislators are fighting over who will wash plates and clothes for the Governor, where both speaker and deputy hijacked the entire washing of plates and clothes including buying akamu and akara for Governor’s wife. If you raise your voice at IMHA, you will be suspended.
Similarly, the state PDP added “We received with mixed feelings the news that President Muhammadu Buhari will visit Imo State on Thursday, 9th September, 2021.
“Ordinarily, a presidential visit is a grand event. It is something every state looks up to given the fanfare and camaraderie that come with. Presidential visit is also significant because it does not come easy. It usually provides the president an opportunity to share the success story of any state being visited. In the light of the foregoing, the people of Imo state are expected to be elated at the prospect of the visit of the President.
“But we note with regret that these familiar feelings and moods are absent in the case of the presidential visit to Imo state. Rather than be expectant and elated, the people are actually wondering what the president is coming to do in Imo State.
“Their feeling of loss and consternation derives from the emptiness and despondency that pervades the atmosphere in the state. In recent months, Imo, once a land of peace, was forcibly turned into a theatre of war. A phenomenon called unknown gun men reared its ugly head to the amazement of the people of the state. It was expected that the governor would toe the path of peace and arrest the slide. Instead, he exacerbated an already bad situation through inflammatory words and actions.
“Today, Imo knows no peace principally because the governor is on the warpath.
This situation was not helped by the angry and unstated manly remarks of Mr President who threatened war and brimstone over separatist agitations. The unfortunate outcome of all this was the innumerable extra-judicial killings that took place in the state in the name of seeking out and fighting separatists. Imo under Governor Hope Uzodinma is a police state. Basic freedoms of the people have been curtailed while an army of occupation reigns and rules in the land. The entire scenario leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.
Beyond all this, the governor has been running a government from exile. He is known to be an absentee governor who visits the state whenever he deems fit.
A statement signed by the state publicly secretary, Ogubundu Nwadike further states
“It is also a well known fact that the governor has done very little to improve the infrastructural status of the state. There are no projects in any sector of the economy. In fact, the little economy the state had has been eroded by bad governance. Today, petroleum marketers in the state have jerked up pump prices of petroleum products because there is no government to negotiate with them over their grievances.
“In all, the state of affairs in Imo State is appalling and tear-jerking.
As a people-centred political party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Imo state has stopped at nothing to get the government to do the right thing. But our wise counsel has been falling on deaf ears.
“In the light of the foregoing, the PDP in Imo State cannot but also wonder what this presidential visit is all about. We ask this because the Uzodinma government has no project to commission or showcase. There is therefore no basis for the state visit of Mr. President.
“We note also that neither the president nor the governor has shown concern for the plight of the people. If anything, they are the source and cause of the ongoing war of attrition in the state. The presidential visit will therefore leave a bitter taste in the mouth.
“For us in PDP, the presidential visit is a deliberate ploy to mock the people of the state to their very face. This is callous and inhuman. Consequently, we invite the president, if he is really the father of the nation, to use the occasion of his visit to look inwards with a view to righting the grave wrongs he has done to the people of the state. The president can show some humility and remorse and use the occasion to mend fences with the people.
“The president should also use his good offices to clip the wings of the governor who runs the state from outside. A mere fanfare will not help the bad situation in the state. Rather, it will generate more anger and acrimony.