From George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
Owerri, the Imo State capital was yesterday literarily shutdown by various associations and groups who staged a solidarity march for President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Rochas Okorocha.
The solidarity march tagged ‘Three million-man march’ was staged as the planned one million-man march being spearheaded by the former speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly, Kelechi Nwagwu, failed to hold on Monday.
The organisers of the solidarity rally said it was for good governance, fight against corruption, exemplary leadership and amazing achievements exhibited by the duo of Buhari and Okorocha.
Governor Okorocha’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Sam Onwuemeodo, who disclosed this in a statement said the rally was initially scheduled to hold last Monday as a counter to “the planned one million-man march anti-government rally being organised by a PDP chieftain and former speaker of the state House of Assembly, Kelechi Nwagwu also scheduled to take place on that Monday.
“But, the governor directed the organisers of the pro-government three million-man march to shift their own rally to enable the anti-government rally take place without challenge on Monday and even told the police to grant them the permission for the rally since we are in democracy.”
Onwuemeodo noted that on Monday, neither the organisers of the anti-government rally nor anybody or group of persons including Nwagwu showed up.
This, he said, authenticated government’s optimism that no reasonable and patriotic Imo man or woman would come out for a protest rally against a government that has achieved so much in six years.
“The pro-government three million-man march solidarity rally, literarily shutdown Owerri, the state capital and in spite of the traffic caused by the large crowd, nobody complained, rather, motorists were shouting from their cars in support.
“They finally arrived at the Government House where the coordinator, Jeff Nwaoha told the governor that they have organised the rally in appreciation of the president’s achievements, especially the relentless war against corruption and the governor’s monumental achievements in the state.
“He added that Imo people have never had it so well before now and that the achievements of Okorocha in six years have surpassed the achievements of all those who governed the state before him put together,” he said.
According to him, Nwaoha also pointed out that they wanted to appreciate the president and the governor for their people-oriented leadership and to assure them that Imo people are solidly behind them, thanking the president and the governor for the amnesty programme while praying for the quick recovery of President Buhari.
Addressing the crowd Governor Okorocha said: “Today, you have shown me that I am really the Senior Advocate of the Masses and the civilian general of the people. Thousands and thousands of people coming all over the state to show solidarity at your own time and cost and to shame our detractors who could not bring out one person for their one million-man march against me, I shall never fail you people.
“There is peace in the Niger Delta. These young men seated, maybe most would have been killed by the police or army if I did not intervene with the amnesty programme. Today, we have peace in Ohaji/Egbema and Oguta. Today, we have broken the jinx that poor people can never be millionaires. We have taken 305 youths here and made them millionaires. With this jinx broken all of you have the capacity to become millionaires in the future.
“I have heard your request for a proactive successor, before I leave I will send you the Holy Spirit, I will never leave you alone, you can imagine if previous government for the past 30 years have been working the way I am working now, by now Imo State would have been London. The massive infrastructure in the state is only within six years, so think of 30 years.”
The governor also urged the Imo people to pray fervently for Mr President’s recovery.
The groups and associations that participated in the solidarity rally included, Imo Progress Movement (IPM), Imo State Council of Youths (ISCY), Youths Assembly of Nigeria (YAN), Nigeria Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTN), Imo State Almagamated Traders Association (ISAMATA), National Union of Imo State Students (NUISS), Niger Delta Youths (NDY), Imo Pilots (IP), Niger Delta Rescue Youth Movement (NDRYM), Women for Good Governance (WGG) Youth For Defence of Democracy, Niger Delta Volunteer Corps, ISOPADEC Youths, Timbers Drivers Association, Student Union Governments, among others.