George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
Ex–governor of Imo State, Chief Emeka Ihedioha, yesterday, explained the suspension of his planned return to the state to the alleged plan by the state government to arrest and detail supporters who come out to receive him in Owerri.
In a statement personally signed by Mr. Ihedioha, the ex-governor said he decided to postpone his scheduled return when it came to his notice that state government acting in concert with security agencies planned to arrest and detain his supporters.
“It has come to my attention that the Imo State government, yesterday, issued a statement on my planned visit to Owerri this morning. As most people are well aware, I haven’t visited the state since the Supreme Court judgement of January 14,and was planning to come in to participate in the ongoing Congresses being conducted by the PDP. Unfortunately, the statement by the Imo government, made several spurious allegations, including that I plan to lead violent protests as well as import thugs to perpetrate violence. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am not, and have never been, a violent person. My reputation is that of peace and fair play. I have never propagated or tolerated violence. And I never will.
“I have been informed that the government of Imo State, acting in concert with some rogue elements within the security apparatus, is planning the arrest and detention of many of our supporters and to visit mayhem on the expected large crowd which they anticipate will come out to welcome me back home. By judging me by their own character, their scheme is to stigmatise and garb us in the toga of violence. These are the tendencies of unpopular and illegitimate regimes. It is therefore for the foregoing reasons that I have decided to postpone my trip to Owerrri so as to frustrate their evil plans and machinations. My visit is not worth the life of any Imo citizen. However, the massive deployment of security personnel by the government as well as thugs cannot deter us and the majority of our people from pursuing our collective vision for a better Imo State,” Ihedioha said.
Members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and supporters of the former governor had trooped out as early as 9am to the party’s secretariat along Okigwe road in Owerri in anticipation of the return of Mr. Ihedioha who had remained outside the state after he was sacked by the Supreme Court on Januaury 14.
In anticipation of Ihedioha’s return, armed security agents had positioned themselves in strategic locations in the state capital’s metropolis to forestall any breach of peace following runners that the PDP would stage a protest with the return of Emeka Ihedioha to Imo.
Ihedioha, however, assured that he would be visiting the state soon as nobody could take away his inalienable right to freedom of movement and speech.