The Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma, and his sacked predecessor, Emeka Ihedioha, have disagreed over allegations by the Imo State Government that the former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and his party, Peoples Democratic Party, were plotting to destabilise the state.
Uzodinma had in a statement on Wednesday levelled the allegation, while Ihedioha disputed it, saying the government was crying wolf where there was none.
In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary/Media Adviser, Oguwike Nwachuku, Uzodinma accused Ihedioha and the PDP of a plot to stage a protest on Thursday (today).
The statement, titled: “Again Ihedioha, PDP Plan to Destabilize Imo,” said: “The Imo State Government is aware of plot by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state to stage protests tomorrow, Thursday during which they will again pour insults on the Supreme Court Judges for refusing to reverse their earlier judgment on the Imo governorship case.
“The government is fully aware of the plan by the PDP to hide under the guise of welcoming ousted Governor Emeka Ihedioha back to Imo to stage the protests. Their plan is to make it look like Imo people trooped out to welcome him and hide under that cover to display placards condemning the Supreme Court Justices for refusing to reverse their judgment in favour of Ihedioha and the PDP.
“From the airport they plan to proceed to Owerri, the state capital to continue with the protests.
“Government is also aware that they have imported thugs from neighbouring states for this purpose because the few members left in their ranks cannot make the impact they crave for.
“Government therefore calls on the security agencies to take note of this devilish plot by Ihedioha and the PDP and take necessary steps to ensure that there is no breach of peace in the state.
“Imo people cherish the peace which the coming of Governor Hope Uzodimma has brought to them and will not take kindly any act geared towards truncating it, more so if such acts are deliberate.
“The government notes that it is unfortunate that Ihedioha and the PDP have refused to accept the final judgment of the Supreme Court as truly final and have decided to resort once again to sponsored protests , perhaps to accomplish their earlier threat that if the Supreme Court failed to reverse their judgment, they ‘would make Imo State ungovernable.’
“From the statement released by Ihedioha after the refusal of the Supreme Court to reverse its earlier judgment, where he said that the Judges of the Apex Court will not go unpunished, it was obvious that he was still up to some mischief. This planned protest is only part of it.
“However, the state government wants to make it abundantly clear that it will no longer tolerate unbridled affront on constituted authorities in the name of the exercise of freedom of expression.
“There must be an end to every litigation and that of Imo governorship tussle which came to an end on 3rd March 2020 cannot be an exception. Any further attempt by the supposed leaders and their cohorts to take laws into their hands will be treated for what it is and those involved will face the full wrath of the law.
“Government advises Imolites to be watchful of the enemies of progress and remain peaceful as it will not shy away from its core responsibility of protecting lives and property.”
But in a statement he personally signed, Ihedioha said he was only visiting the state, the first since the Supreme Court judgment affirming his removal from office, for the congresses of the PDP.
He said: “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 14th January 2020 and was planning to come in to participate in the ongoing Congresses being conducted by my party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). While I have in recent weeks elected to stay away from family and friends in Imo, I am not aware that I have been exiled out of the state.
“Unfortunately, the statement by the Imo State 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.
“On the contrary, 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 stigmatize 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.
“The constitutional rights, including the right to free speech and to freedom of movement, are inalienable. And nobody can take that away from me. I will certainly, by the grace of God, be visiting the state very soon.”