From Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
As the face-off between former governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha, and his successor, Hope Uzodinma, over asset recovery deepens, prominent stakeholders in the state have thrown their weight behind the government’s efforts to recover property and money allegedly stolen by past political office holders.
The stakeholders who made the call, yesterday, mandated Governor Uzodimma to use all legal means to recover everything belonging to the state which was stolen by any public official regardless of the status.
They promised to stand by the governor in his plan to rebuild Imo State. Among those who made the call were a former governor of Imo State, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, who was chairman of the stakeholders gathering, three deputy governors including Eng. Ebere Udeagu, Ada Okwuonu and Jude Agbaso. Others were former Speakers, Kelechi Nwagwu and Chiji Collins, current Speaker, Rt. Hon. Paul Emeziem and his deputy, Rt .Hon. Amara Iwuanyanwu, former Ambassador Greg Mbadiwe, retired deputy Inspector General of Police, Hilary Opara, Prof. Maurice Iwu, Dr. EJK.onyewuchi, OK 2000.
“We the stakeholders from Imo State from the 305 wards in the state, after a meeting in Owerri yesterday, do hereby resolve to mandate the state government to recover every property, money or wealth stolen from Imo people by any person, no matter how highly placed,” the people resolved.
Earlier in an address read by Governor Uzodimma tagged: Imo State Must Be For All Imo People – the governor used the opportunity of the 4th Stakeholders’ Meeting since he assumed office to brief Ndi Imo on his achievements so far in the last one year in office.
He also briefed them on the security situation in the state and the recent development involving the former governor of the State, Senator Rochas Okorocha, who recently took laws into his hands by going to forcefully unseal a property sealed by government.
Governor Uzodimma reiterated his commitment to serve Imo people with sincerity of heart, saying that his government would only do the things that are in tandem with the wishes of the people of Imo State.
He assured that nothing would make him to change his vow to God regarding service to the state.
Meanwhile, the embattled Senator Okorocha has described as deceitful and belated the forfeiture of his property.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Sam Onwuemeodo, the former governor said the action of the state government had further buttressed his earlier claim that Uzodimma was playing a double standard caused by envy and personal vendetta.
He pointed out that while applying for an Interim Order of Forfeiture last Wednesday, the state government never talked about the distortion of the Owerri Master plan again.
The statement reads in part: “They talked about illegally acquired properties. This is why the order is an afterthought, belated and deceitful. And with this Court order after they had invaded, looted and destroyed the properties in question leveraging on the Whitepaper, it only showed that they had acted wrongly, arbitrarily and unlawfully right from the outset.”
“Let us first and foremost, describe the interim order of forfeiture as belated, an after-thought and deceitful. It has further exposed the double-standard of what we have in Imo today as a State Government.
Okorocha further claimed that Governor Uzodinma’s government also deceived the Court to give them an Order of Interim Forfeiture because according to him “they never let the Judge know that there has been an existing and valid High Court judgement on the properties.