Chidiebube Okeoma, Owerri
Elders from Owerri zone have advised the governor of Imo state, Hope Uzodinma, to start according Rochas Okorocha, due respect as a former governor of the state.
At press conference in Owerri, the state capital, the chairman of Owerri zone Elders Forum, Marcus Onwuanibe, advised the governor to pursue peace instead of using the recovery “mantra” to fight Okorocha.
The elder statesman urged the governor to explore legal options in his recovery mission against Okorocha and not to resort self help.
He said “Our attention was drawn to a Press Statement purported to have emanated from a meeting of a group that tagged itself, OWERRI ZONE LEADERS OF THOUGHT, few days ago, at the instance of a serving Commissioner in the State.
“Aside insulting heavily the former governor of the State and Senator Representing Imo West Senatorial District, Senator Rochas Okorocha those who were present at the meeting in question also encouraged Governor Hope Uzodinma to employ self-help or unorthodox approach in handling whatever issue the government has with the former governor, Senator Okorocha.
“As elders from Owerri Zone, we found such developments as very unhealthy. And bearing in mind, the wrong impressions such Statements must have left in the minds of well meaning people of Imo State and the public in general, we, the elders from Owerri Zone, decided to meet and objectively look at what is happening in the State at the moment and offer our pieces of advice for the good of the Zone and the State in general.
“After we had extensively and objectively x-rayed the stand of those who met in the name of “Owerri Zone leaders of thought”, and the current situation in the State, we resolved as follows:
“That, His Excellency, Governor Hope Uzodinma and his government should pursue peace and ensure peace and avoid any action that is capable of disturbing or distorting the peace of the State.
“That, the governor should shun any advice to resort to self-help or unconventional methods in resolving the issues they have with the former governor of the State, His Excellency Owelle Rochas Okorocha.
“That, we are aware that matters Concerning Senator Okorocha and the reports of the Panels vis-à-vis the Whitepaper, are all pending in various Courts of our land. It is therefore very important and advisable to allow the Courts to decide on the issues before them. That is the most Civilized thing to do. Any other approach is self-help and should not be encouraged.
“That, those who think they have any evidence against Okorocha should either apply to the Courts to be joined or appear as witnesses to the matters in question instead of advocating and calling for actions that could throw the State into an unimaginable crisis, which the State cannot afford now, especially when the National Bureau of Statistics rated Imo as the State with the highest rate of unemployment.
“That, we also want to call on Governor Uzodinma and his government to bear in mind that Okorocha governed the State for eight years and he did very well. We therefore ask that he should be accorded all the respects and regards he deserves. We should know that other Nigerians and the world over, are watching what is happening in Imo.
“That, we want to use this opportunity to remind our Owerri Zone people that no governor had developed Owerri Zone more than Okorocha. We all knew how Owerri, the State Capital was, before Okorocha. He came and expanded Owerri. Dualized roads in Owerri. Opened roads in Owerri. Built fly-overs and tunnels in Owerri, the first of its kinds. Our Children also benefitted largely from the free education he introduced.
“That, Okorocha built the University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Aboh Mbaise/Ngor-Okpala in Owerri Zone. He built one hospital each in the 9 LGAs that make up Owerri Zone, with some of them functioning now. He renovated or remodeled all the old Schools in Owerri, including Government College Owerri, Emmanuel College Owerri, Ikenegbu Girls Owerri, Akwakuma Girls College, Amakohia Girls Secondary School, Government Technical College Owerri, Owerri City College. And when Owerri Girls College was returned to the Catholic Church, he quickly built Imo Girls College along Okigwe road, Owerri.
“That, Okorocha had converted Ahiara Technical College into a Polytechnic, and upgraded the Imo Airport to an International Cargo Airport. He repurchased the Resin Paint Industry at Nguru Mbaise which was sold before him, rebuilt it and handed it over to a foreign Company, SkyRun from China. And there is no Local Government in Owerri Zone, Okorocha did not Construct upto 40 Kilometres of roads.
“That, in his government, Okorocha appointed many sons and daughters of Owerri Zone into key positions, including two of them serving as Secretary to the Government of Imo State at different times and one, as Accountant-General of the State.
“So, Okorocha deserves the gratitude and respect of Owerri Zone people and not abuses.
“Finally, since no Court has found Okorocha guilty of any wrong doing, we see or regard all the insults and claims against him as mere blackmail. And we can only change this stand when the Courts rule otherwise. We call for peace. We call for Calm. We call to order, those fanning the embers of hate, crisis and discord. And those looking for appointments from the government of Senator Uzodinma and those working to retain their positions should find a more refined way of achieving their desires, instead of insulting Okorocha and engaging in campaign of calumny against him to achieve their goals. The peace of the State cannot be sacrificed at the altar of political hate or political desire.”