FORMER Imo State governor Senator Rochas Okorocha has vowed to show his successor Governor Hope Uzodinma that he has the strongest structure on the ground in response to his recent arrest in Owerri.
Yesterday, Senator Okorocha who governed the state between 2011 and 2019, was arrested after he forced his way into the Royal Spring Palm Estate, Owerri. Governor Uzodinma has seized the estate which belongs to Senator Okorocha’s wife Nkechi, claiming it was state property appropriated by the former governor.
Senator Okorocha, who has since been elected as the lawmaker representing Imo West Senatorial District, vowed to stop what he sees as the seizure of his personal property and yesterday forced open the estate to reclaim it. He was subsequently arrested and taken to the police station in Owerri.
Accusing Governor Uzodinma of unleashing hundreds of thugs against him, Senator Okorocha has boasted that he has the strongest structure in the state. Sam Onwuemeodo, Senator Okorocha’s spokesman, alleged that Chinasa Nwanari, Governor Uzodinma’s special adviser on special duties, led an assault on his boss.
He accused Mr Nwanari of storming the estate and destroying vehicles in the former governor’s convoy. According to Mr Onwuemeodo, the policemen and more than 1,000 armed thugs led by Mr Nwaneri attacked Senator Okorocha who was only accompanied by his personal aides.
Mr Onwuemeodo said: “We are still watching events as they unfold. Okorocha has the strongest political structure in the state and teaming followers and if he had expected the attack, he would not have moved with his personal aides alone.
“Okorocha has never been a violent man. This planned attack, unprovoked and unwarranted has opened a new but ugly chapter in the politics of the state. We shall react fully to the situation.”
In response, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council (OYC), has condemned in strong terms the arrest of Senator Okorocha. OYC president Mazi Okwu Nnabuike, said Governor Uzodinma should get prepared to face the wrath of Igbo youths, adding that it was shameful that he descended so low just because of his interest in the presidency.
Mazu Nnabuike said: “It is now clear that Hope Uzodinma has a single agenda – to destroy Igbo land. This has clearly manifested in his sending of military men to Orlu in Imo State where several lives were wasted and properties destroyed.
“As if that was not enough, just a few days after, he now ordered the arrest and humiliation of Owelle Rochas Okorocha, a distinguished Igbo son. It is on record that Owelle Rochas Okorocha has done for Ndigbo more than any other single person was able to do.
“A visit to the Ohanaeze Ndigbo secretariat will show the gigantic edifice he single-handedly constructed for Ndigbo, well befitting, a pride of place. It is also on record that even before Owelle Rochas Okorocha became governor of Imo State, he had already established himself and was already building educational structures and empowering the youths here and there.
“One, therefore, wonders how a man imposed on Imo people as governor will suddenly wake up and decide to attack Okorocha for no just cause. It appears that the same people who brought this man to power through the back door, the instrumentality of the Supreme Court, are also behind this dance of shame Uzodinma is involved in.
“But certainly, we are not going to sit by and watch Hope Uzodinma destroy Igboland all in a bid to satisfy the ego of his political masters. He should get ready to face our music and he should get ready to contend with millions of Igbo youths home and beyond.
“Igbo youths call for the immediate release of his Excellency Owele Rochas Okorocha and demand an end to any further harassment of this noble Igbo leader. We have also reliably gathered that Hope Uzodinma has no single investment in any part of Imo State, not to talk of Owerri and this is the reason he is not interested in protecting lives and properties.
“The Royal Spring Palm has been under investigation by the EFCC and the matter is already in the court, so why can’t he await the outcome of court verdict? It’s actually a shame, a vendetta and pull him down syndrome by this agent of wickedness called Hope Uzodinma.
“To say the least, the youths of Ndigbo will do everything within our purview and reach to stop this embarrassment being meted on Senator Rochas by Hope Uzodinma and other presidential aspirants. There is no doubt that this act is heinous, barbaric and abominable by every standard and in every ramification.”
Meanwhile, the South East Governors’ Forum, has waded into the spat with Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State, the chairman of the forum, calling for peace. Governor Umahi asked the two men to settle the disputes internally, instead of washing their dirty linen in the public.
Governor Umahi said: “The South East Governors’ Forum has decided to wade into the impasse ensuing between Governor Hope Uzodinma and the former Governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha. We call for calm among the supporters of the two political heavyweights to ensure a timely and amicable resolution of the disagreement within the shortest possible time.
“We call on people of Imo State and the southeast geo-political zone to go about their normal businesses and shun provocative statements until normalcy is completely restored between the former governor and his successor.”