It is no longer news that the rate of insecurity in Imo State has hit an unprecedented rooftop. Citizens of the state are allegedly brutally murdered in cold blood almost on daily basis either by security agents or hoodlums who have been having a field day causing mayhem in every nook and cranny of the state.
There are also multiple reports of security operatives molesting, arresting and detaining citizens on daily basis. The people can neither go about their daily businesses freely nor sleep with their two eyes closed. This is very sad when one considers the fact that Imo was once the most peaceful State in Nigeria until the Supreme Court installed Sen. Hope Uzodinma as governor from a distant fourth position.
In addition and prior to Uzodinma’s controversial emergence as governor, Imo had been known as one of the most united and democratic states in Nigeria. But it is unfortunate today that the story has changed considerably. The state is so divided currently and the economy crippled by the governor’s despotic policies. The reasons for these misfortune are quite obvious as any right thinking person can easily phantom why Imo is boiling.
It is an unarguable fact that Imolites didn’t welcome the Supreme Court proclamation of Uzodinma as governor of the state. If democracy is government of the people, by the people and for the people, then one can easily say Uzodinma’s government is without the people’s mandate. Consequently, a government without the mandate of the people can no longer be refered to as a democracy.
Uzodinma has by his actions and inactions given credence to the fact that indeed his government is not of the people, by the people or for the people. Some of the undemocratic policies of his administration which many consider as the reason why the state has been heated up such as, incessant delay in payment of worker’s salaries, intimidation of the free press, arrest and detention of newspaper vendors, opposition voices and the suppression of the masses are all indications of a despotic leadership.
Furthermore, the arrest and detention of personalities like the former Peoples Democratic Party New Media Director-General Mr. Ambrose Nwaogwugwu, a political activist, Prof. Iyke Nathan Uzorma; including the threats to the lives of the likes of radio personality, Mazi Chinomso Uba (Nonso Nkwa), and my humble self by suspected agents of the government, are all evident to Uzodinma’s despotic disposition.
The height of the governor’s despotism was made manifest when he declared publicly, that he unilaterally invited the military to the state to flush out members of the IPOB/ESN, without a resolution of the House of Assembly. Since then, there has been widespread reports of human right abuses and extrajudicial killings by security operatives in the state.
And one would ask, if it is appropriate for an elected governor with the people’s mandate to militarize the state in order to intimidate, hound and cause extrajudicial killings of the same people who voted him? If actually the governor invited the military to secure the state as he claims, why then are the people groaning and dying daily?
Based on the foregoing, it has become obvious that the insecurity in the state may be a channel through which the people are venting their displeasure to Uzodinma’s government. Sociologists will agree with me that insecurity and crime can not thrive in a society with an acceptable leadership. As a result, it won’t be out of place to say that the security challenges in the state has a socio- political origin and would require dialogue to resolve, instead of the barrel of the gun.
It is for this reason that political analysts had wondered why the governor chose the option of military force over dialogue to resolve the security challenges in the state.To make matters worse, the governor declared recently that about 400 people had been arrested over the cases of insecurity in the state. He also complicated the matter by stating also that most of those arrested were not Igbos.
But many political watchers are of the opinion that the governor was economical with the truth. As those non-indigenes he claimed to have arrested, were actually innocent Imolites made scapegoats of the government’s inability to manage the security challenges in the state. In this manner, it is obvious that Gov Uzodinma has pitched himself against the people he was meant to protect and lead.
At this point one would wonder if the governor is more of a problem than a solution to the state. However, the governor must understand that the position he is occupying tenaciously today is like a barber’s seat which swings thro and fro. He must acknowledge the fact that many governors have come and gone before him, and that he too would also go one day.
The million dollar question he must ask himself is, how will the people receive him at the end of his despotic regime? In all this too, he must bear in mind the agelong but wise Igbo adage that says, the people can finish what one cooks for them but no one can finish what the people cooks for them. A word is enough for the wise!
Ekene Bob-Ekechukwu Esq
Public Affairs Analyst