•South-East need support of all zones to produce president
•Sponsors of killings in Imo’ll be named in 2 weeks
By Clifford Ndujihe, Politics Editor
GOVERNOR of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodimma, has urged the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to cede their 2023 presidential tickets to the South-East to ensure justice and equity in the country.
Uzodimma, who noted that the country took a similar step in 1999 to assuage the South-West, which was aggrieved over the June 12, 1993 annulled presidential poll won by late Chief MKO Abiola, said the South-East is in a similar state now and many Nigerians know.
The governor spoke to some journalists in Lagos, yesterday, a day after receiving The Sun Newspapers 2021 Governor of the year award.
Asked his take on the clamour for zoning of the presidency to the South-East in 2023, the governor said: We practise partisan democracy in Nigeria, and you get to power through political parties. As of now no party has selected its presidential candidate. What is utmost in the mind of every political party is to win election. No party will throw the opportunity away. The South-East needs the presidency but we can’t do it alone. We need the support of other zones.
“In 1999, the two political parties, the PDP, and All Peoples Party/Alliance for Democracy APP/AD through internal mechanism chose their candidates from the South-West so that head or tail the winner of the presidential election would come from the South-West. It was done to assuage the zone.
The 1999 situation is repeating itself and many Nigerians are in support of the presidency going to the South-East. Let the two major political parties -APC and PDP pick their candidates from the South-East so that justice will be seen to have been done.”
Imo’ll study Supreme Court judgement on 17 oil wells
On last week’s Supreme Court judgement, which gave 17 disputed oil wells to Rivers State, Governor Uzodimma said he was yet to get the details of the judgement.
“We have not seen details of the judgement. It is too early to celebrate. I want to wait till I see the details. Some of the oil wells are in Oguta Local Government Area of Imo State. Does it mean Oguta is now in Rivers State? I have a lot of respect for the Supreme Court. Until I see the details of the judgement, if there are areas that are not clear I will approach the court for interpretation,” he said.
Insecurity in Imo
On insecurity, Uzodimma, who called for the support of the media and stakeholders to fight the menace, attributed the problem to political opponents who he said were still aggrieved over their loss at the polls and past leaders who were working hide to save their loot.
His words: “Some of you saw what I did in Imo given the unusual security situation. The Sun saw them and deemed it fit to give me the award. We need your support to tame insecurity and achieve more in the state. The level of insecurity in Imo, before now was attributed to the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB and Eastern Security Network but it was caused by political opponents who want to make the state ungovernable or hide their loot. They are responsible for the insecurity not only in Imo but also in the South-East.
We have worked with security agencies and community leaders to bring the insecurity down. Imo is a special situation we need the support of all. If we succeed it is with your support. If we fail it is because you refuse to support us.”
Sponsors of unknown gunmen to be named in two weeks
Asked why he did not name sponsors of killings in the state, the governor said at a stakeholders meeting, recently, security agencies asked him not to do so because they were still investigating the killings.
“I contacted the security agencies two weeks ago, they asked for two weeks more. I hope in two weeks time, those responsible will be revealed to Nigerians. The security agencies asked for more time to do their investigation,” he disclosed.
South-East govs united over insecurity
On alleged disunity among five governors of the South-East, Uzodimma said: “The situation in the South-East is not different from other zones. We are working. We are united and working together to ensure security. Security issues are not discussed in the open. It is not true that we are not talking to ourselves.”
On The Sun governor of the year award after two years in office, Uzodimma said he was not surprised. “The award did not come to me as a surprise. I had no room for prevarication on my programmes for governing the state. When I came in Imo was dead and at the burial ground. I rescued it and those who wanted to bury the state are working hard to make it ungovernable.
Simultaneously, I embarked on many things. Adapalm that was moribund is producing 100 tons of palm oil per day. I have revived many moribund industries. I want to make Imo the industrial hub of the South-East but political opponents getting people from outside to attack the state. I am excited over the award but I would have wished things are normal so that we realise more of our plans,” he said.