First City Monument Bank, FCMB

By Emeka Obasi

Imo River is boiling, our hallowed ground cannot be desecrated. Those who plan to set the state ablaze, from within or using extraneous influence will meet their Waterloo. Peace resides in Imo, the Holy Ground that purifies the atmosphere and habours heroes.

Criminals,whether imported or nurtured at home must be reminded that the game is up. Those who are genuinely working for progress and equity have nothing to fear. As they go about their lawful duties, the gods of the land will protect them.

I do not know much about Ahmed Gulak. What I know is that Ndigbo do not kill their guests. The Police claim he was killed by IPOB. It did not take long to waste some young men all in the bid to apprehend his killers. IPOB faulted the killer tag stamped on the organisation by the cops.

Those who killed Gulak may never be known under such charged atmosphere. Owerri is home to everyone. Gulak was free to visit as many times as he wished. It is a taboo for us to kill visitors in our midst. If that job was executed by an Igbo, then he should await the wrath of the goddess of Imo River.

I have nothing against security agents as long as they are in Imo to maintain genuine peace. Anyone who rushed to the state as part of an army of occupation should think twice. Karma is roaming, from Owerri to Orlu to Okigwe and nemesis is not in the dictionary as a filler.

Unknown Gunmen remain unknown. The puzzle does not have to attract Pulitzer attention. At the appropriate time, everything will be unraveled for nothing lasts forever. If they are for us or against us, we shall get there.

IPOB was born out of perceived injustice and chose the path of peace. The group was not armed and did not plan to take up arms against government. If things have changed, I am not aware. Outlawing IPOB as a terrorist organisation has not helped anyone.

Government, Unknown Gunmen and IPOB must not shed innocent blood in Imo State. If Abuja genuinely wants to fight the real criminals and they are found in Imo, count on my support. We seek a clean Imo, we do not want Gunmen to cleanse Imo.

Our security agents must not be trigger happy. Imo is not a killing field. They are at liberty to fish out criminals if properly identified. Imo was never conquered during the Civil War. No one should think that time has come to conclude the war.

Those who are burning and maiming security operatives should be ashamed of themselves if innocent Igbo service men and women are targeted. Since they are yet to be identified in the real sense of it, I believe they can not be Igbo. Any Igbo that kills a fellow Igbo in the name of insurgency should be prepared to face Mmiri Imo.

It is not mere coincidence that General Emeka Ojukwu chose Imo as his official residence until the war ended. Madonna High School, Etiti haboured the Biafran leader and Owerri was the last capital of Biafra. The Tactical Headquarters of the Biafra Army was at Isu Grammar School in Nwangele Local Government Area.

Owerri fell and was recaptured in April 1969. That was the only time Ojukwu promoted himself. Before Ojukwu left Biafra, he chose an Owerri man, Brigadier Patrick Amadi, as Chief of Army Staff. Ahiara Declaration was earlier made in Mbaise.

As a boy, I remember that Ojukwu abandoned his caravan in my village which is located in today’s Imo State. And the first time the general appeared as a combatant on home soil was the battle of Oguta. He went to war as  boys chanted ‘ Imena Ojukwu’.

Radio Biafra could be described as the First Wonder of Africa. Enugu, the first capital of Biafran fell as early as 1967 but Radio Biafra continued to broadcast from Enugu. It turned out that the station moved from one hide out to the other, thanks to the ingenuity of Engineer Heron Okeahialam.

There was a period Okeahialam hung the aerial of Radio Biafra on a palm tree in his hometown, Otulu Ahiara, Mbaise. At the end of the war, Nigerian Commander, Col. Olu Obasanjo was shocked to find Radio Biafra Enugu operating from Obodoukwu, Uruala.

Major Jonathan Uchendu who trained at Sandhurst with Abdul Bagudu Mamman from1964, led the famous Abagana ambush. Squadron Leader August Okpe was Chief Pilot of the Biafran Air Force. During the Gideon Orkar coup of 1990, two key officers, Lieutenants Patrick Chidi Obasi and S.O.S Echendu found a way out.

Imo is the home of Nigeria’s first Olympic gold medalist. It is the state of Chidi Imo, the first athlete to win the 100m back to back at the Universiade. It is the land of Dick Tiger Ihetu, first African to win two world boxing titles. It is the place of  Titus Okere, the first Nigerian professional footballer.

All those who think Imo is for miscreants and siren blowing dunderheads will soon be put to shame. And whatever affects Imo, affects Igbo land. Events in Owerri will usher in a new Igbo man, with the foresight of Michael Okpara and courage of Sam Mbakwe.

It is now an open register. All Igbo politicians who have held positions at the Federal level since 1999 will have to show what they did to better the lot of our people. Justice is coming and judgement will be swift. Waterloo began with Napoleon Bonaparte, it has moved to Imo State.

Imo is significant in so many ways. The land of warriors. Imo is home of Peace. Imo connects Ndigbo and Imo is the original wealth base of Nigeria. Oil was first struck there, that is why you have Shell Camp in Owerri. Those who want red blood in Imo do not know History.

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