…Buhari to commission Balloon Technology for erosion control – Imo govt
…No project to be commissioned in Imo – PDP
…Buhari visited Imo three times when I was governor – Okorocha
…IPOB declares sit-at-home
By Chinonso Alozie
The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Youth wing, on Wednesday said Ohanaeze has directed Igbo youths to mobilize themselves to welcome the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari.
The Deputy National Leader, Ohanaeze, Onwuasoanya Jones, disclosed this in a statement to newsmen in Owerri.
According to Ohanaeze, the visit of Buhari, would be an opportunity for Igbo leaders and groups to directly engage the president on how to solve their grievances.
They said among other things, “As we are all aware, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, shall be in Imo on official working visit on the 9th of September, 2021. The President’s visit to Imo is his first working visit to the State since taking office in 2015 and the first time the State is hosting a President on working visit since 2009.
“This visit is especially significant given the recent communication from the governor of Imo State, His Excellency Distinguished Senator Hope Uzodimma, to the effect that the President is coming to put final seals on some strategic federal government interventions and partnerships which the Imo State government has agreed with the Federal Government.
“Also, a lineup of people oriented and audacious projects are scheduled to be unveiled and inaugurated for the use of Imo people and for our individual comfort, notwithstanding our political or social leanings.
“The President is also billed to hold a town hall meeting with all classes of people from across Igbo land, including, the youths, traditional institution, traders, artisans, religious leaders and the political class. This town hall meeting shall afford anyone or group the opportunity to ask the President any questions or ventilate whatever might be our personal or group grievances and hopefully, the President shall take adequate note of these questions, observations and complaints.”
“It is delighting to note that the President is not coming for a jamboree but for serious businesses that every true Imo nay Igbo son or daughter should look forward to. It is on the strength of the above that Igbo youths, worldwide have resolved, not only to welcome the President to the Eastern Heartland, Imo, but to also come out in their numbers to give the President, the hospitality he deserves within the period he is in Imo.
“May I reiterate that Igbo youths are peace loving, hardworking and honorable people and would therefore not bring themselves to take part in any act that aims to disrupt this important State event. Anyone or group of people found to be involved in any act aimed at disrupting this State visit or harassing those who wish to participate, should be treated as invaders and or felons and not doing so on behalf of Ndigbo or Igbo youths,” Ohanaeze said.
On the side of the Imo State Government, through the Commissioner for Information and Strategy Declan Emelumba said While mentioning the project to be commissioned, the govt warned, “Any group threatening to cause problems does so at their own risk. I want to say this, Imo and Igbo in general will benefit. Among other things the president Buhari will also be having a closed door town hall meeting with “select leadership” of the five South Eastern states during the visit.”
The projects to be commissioned include; “First phase of the Naze, Ihiagwa and Nekede link road, and a baloon drainage system designed to alleviate perennial flooding. Also, the Egbeada bypass road which was constructed to reduce traffic at the city centre and the new executive chamber at the government house would also be commissioned.”
Speaking also, the Imo State All Progressives Congress, APC, Caretaker Committee, led Marcillinus Nlemigbo, called on party leaders to take advantage of the coming of the President.
The APC, through the Director General of APC, Media Center, Cajetan Duke said: “The state caretaker committee of the All Progressives Congress APC, Imo State chapter under the chairmanship of Prince Barr Marcillinus O. Nlemigbo welcomes the President and Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, to Imo State on a one-day working visit.
“The President will on Thursday, September 9, 2021, arrive Owerri Imo State capital, for the commissioning of some of the transformational and significant projects of the shared Prosperity administration of His Excellency Distinguished Senator Hope Uzodimma, the Executive Governor of Imo State. The projects include, but not limited to the Naze Junction/Federal Poly/Ihiagwa/FUTO/Obinze Road, totaling over 14km; the Balloon Technology for the control of erosion in the State capital, urban renewal projects etc.
Mr. President, who will also meet with our revered Traditional Rulers, the clergy, captain of industries as well as leaders of the Apex Igbo sociocultural organization, Ohaneze Ndigbo, in his strategic partnership for national cohesion, peace and security. While we consider this visit very strategic and timely, we call on all Imolites, particularly members of our great party to come out enmass to welcome Mr. President in our usual disposition of warmest hospitality.”
But the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, through the State Publicty Secretary, Ogubundu Nwadike, said Imo people have been wondering what project the President would be coming to commission and that there are no project in any economic sector of the State.
The PDP said: “We received with mixed feelings the news that President Muhammadu Buhari will visit Imo State on Thursday, 9th September, 2021.
“Ordinarily, a presidential visit is a grand event. It is something every state looks up to given the fanfare and camaraderie that come with. Presidential visit is also significant because it does not come easy. It usually provides the president an opportunity to share the success story of any state being visited. In the light of the foregoing, the people of Imo state are expected to be elated at the prospect of the visit of the president.
“But we note with regret that these familiar feelings and moods are absent in the case of the presidential visit to Imo state. Rather than be expectant and elated, the people are actually wondering what the president is coming to do in Imo State.
“Their Feeling of loss and consternation derives from the emptiness and despondency that pervades the atmosphere in the state. In recent months, Imo, once a land of peace, was forcibly turned into a theatre of war. A phenomenon called unknown gun men reared its ugly head to the amazement of the people of the state. It was expected that the governor would toe the path of peace and arrest the slide. Instead, he exacerbated an already bad situation through inflammatory words and actions.
“Today, Imo knows no peace principally because the governor is on the warpath.
This situation was not helped by the angry and unstatesmanly remarks of Mr president who threatened war and brimstone over separatist agitations.
“The unfortunate outcome of all this was the innumerable extra-judicial killings that took place in the state in the name of seeking out and fighting separatists. Imo under Governor Hope Uzodinma is a police state. Basic freedoms of the people have been curtailed while an army of occupation reigns and rules in the land. The entire scenario leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.
Beyond all this, the governor has been running a government from exile. He is known to be an absentee governor who visits the state whenever he deems fit.
“It is also a well known fact that the governor has done very little to improve the infrastructural status of the state. There are no projects in any sector of the economy. In fact, the little economy the state had has been eroded by bad governance. Today, petroleum marketers in the state have jerked up pump prices of petroleum products because there is no government to negotiate with them over their grievances.
In all, the state of affairs in Imo State is appalling and tear-jerking.
As a people-centred political party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Imo state has stopped at nothing to get the government to do the right thing. But our wise counsel has been falling on deaf ears.
In the light of the foregoing, the PDP in Imo State cannot but also wonder what this presidential visit is all about. We ask this because the Uzodinma government has no project to commission or showcase. There is therefore no basis for the state visit of Mr. President.
“We note also that neither the president nor the governor has shown concern for the plight of the people. If anything, they are the source and cause of the ongoing war of attrition in the state. The presidential visit will therefore leave a bitter taste in the mouth.
For us in PDP, the presidential visit is a deliberate ploy to mock the people of the state to their very face. This is callous and inhuman. Consequently, we invite the president, if he is really the father of the nation, to use the occasion of his visit to look inwards with a view to righting the grave wrongs he has done to the people of the state. The president can show some humility and remorse and use the occasion to mend fences with the people. The president should also use his good offices to clip the wings of the governor who runs the state from outside. A mere fanfare will not help the bad situation in the state. Rather, it will generate more anger and acrimony.
Also, former Governor of Imo state, and the Senator representing, Imo West Senatorial District, Rochas Okorocha, through his Special Adviser on Media, Sam Onwuemeodo, said: “Former governor of Imo State and Senator Representing Imo West Senatorial District, Owelle Rochas Okorocha is delighted to welcome the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari as he visits Imo State, on Thursday, September 9, 2021.
“The President had visited the State three times when Okorocha was the governor of the State. Imo was one of the first States President Buhari visited few months after the formation of All Progressives Congress, APC. That was in 2014. The President came again after the March 28, 2015 Presidential election, to thank Imo people for their effort and support for his election. That was on April 7, 2015.”
Okorocha claimed that “The President had also visited the State in 2018. And each of the referenced visits had seen a mammoth crowd of Imo people receiving Mr. President .The President had also, in the course of thevisits then, Commissioned or inspected some of the landmark projects of Okorocha, including the International Cargo Airport, the Ultra Modern Police Headquarters and Prison Headquarters, respectively.
Others were, the Orji Flyover, the Akwakuma flyover, the Concorde Junction tunnel, the Assembly Junction tunnel, the Imo International Convention Centre, the Magnificent Justice Oputa High Court Complex, ISOPADEC Headquarters, New Governor’s Lodge.
“Your Excellency recall also that Okorocha had taken a very big Political risk by joining the Merger that gave birth to APC. He did that at the risk of his Second term. And was given all kinds of ugly names for being part of the Merger that metamorphosed into APC.
“His Excellency should also recall that during the time of Okorocha as governor crime rate was at its lowest ebb in the State. Night life was apparent. Peace was totally restored at Ohaji/Egbema/Oguta Oil Producing areas of the State where militancy was a problem. Okorocha used God given wisdom to get the militants to drop their guns and embraced peace.
“During the time of Okorocha investors besieged the State because the needed peace or the enabling environment was created. The State especially Owerri, the State Capital was opened up. We had a lot of layouts and estates. Business ventures strived to a very large extent. Roads were constructed where nobody had felt were possible.”
In the same development, the leadership of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, under Nnamdi Kanu, has reportedly announced a sit-at-home order in the Southeast Zone, to protest the continue incarceration of their leader Mazi Kanu.
They also said part of their complaints were that Igbo youths were allegedly killed during the insecurity period of unknown gunmen and that the people of the Southeast should stay as a sign of protest against what it described as unfair treatment of their people.