From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
Some Imo elder statesmen have expressed concern over the face-off between Governor Hope Uzodimma and Senator Rochas Okorocha with a call on citizens not to allow the tension to degenerate into a breakdown of law and order.
Okorocha, who is the Senator representing Imo West at the National Assembly, was arrested on the order of the state government for forcibly breaking into a property the government had sealed.
In a statement on the incident, a group of elder statesmen under the auspices of Concerned Imo Elder Statesmen condemned what they referred to as “Senator Okorocha’s unlawful entry into the premises of Royal Spring Palm Estate already taken possession of by the Imo State government after due process, as outlined above.”
The statement was endorsed by the Obi of Obinugwu, HRM Eze (Dr) C.I. Illomuanya, CON, Chancellor, Federal University, Birinin Kebi, Kebbi State; Chief Ralph Obioha (Okpuruisi Zuruoha II); Rt. Hon. (Dr) Maxwell Duru (Omeudo Okigwe); Prince Lemmy Akakem (Okpata Ozuoha of Owerri) and Chief (Sir) Simon Udunka, Hon. Commissioner Emeritus under Governor Sam Mbakwe.
The elders equally condemn Senator Okorocha’s action of personally leading unauthorised persons to break into the property, knowing full well that such an action was tantamount to challenging the authority of security agents that were lawfully deployed to guard the property; and that any possible clash arising therefrom might lead to a breach of public peace.
The statement reads in part: “We completely disapprove of Senator Okorocha’s behaviour more so at a time when security challenges, together with sundry issues of national concern, have made the country very susceptible to social unrest at the slightest provocation.
The statement added: “We commend the state government and the Nigeria Police for ensuring that the matter did not escalate.
“As bona fide members of the Imo State society, we wish to state, without any equivocation or fear of contradiction, that we wholeheartedly support any legitimate and lawful moves taken by the state government to restore the Owerri City Master Plan and recover every property or assets collectively owned by the people but which were illegally appropriated by any individual or group; and we seize this opportunity to urge the good people of Imo state to support the same.
“Conversely, we enjoin every well-meaning indigene of the state, irrespective of partisan affiliation or personal affinity, not to collaborate with, connive, or assist any other fellow, no matter how highly placed, to thwart the noble intentions of the state government to recover our stolen patrimony and, in effect, lay a foundation for the culture of transparency and accountability among public officers in the state.”