The faceoff between the Imo State governor, Emeka Ihedioha and his predecessor, Rochas Okorocha, has escalated in the last two weeks, with growing concern that it could snowball into full blown crisis if urgent steps are not taken to quell the warring factions.
The situation was further incensed by the governor’s order for the arrest of Okorocha by citizens of the state, following the assault of the Chairman of the Committee for the Recovery of Government Property, Jasper Ndubuaku by irate youths.
Secretary to the State Government, Uche Onyeaguocha, gave the order, while addressing a mammoth crowd of youths before they were dispatched to the Sam Mbakwe Airport to ambush the former governor who they assumed was returning to the state from Abuja.
Onyeaguocha said that the state had also placed Okorocha on security watch and urged Imo citizens to arrest him and alert the government whenever they found him in the state.
The state government said that it has become imperative to order for the arrest of the governor following his inciting statements credited to him during his last visit to the state.
The arrest order is coming on the heels of a similar statement issued by the Chairman of the Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers, Eze Agunwa Ohiri that the Inspector General of Police should call the former governor to order.
Already the state is tensed following the arrest order placed on the former governor. Observers have expressed concern that the order is capable of inciting supporters of both camps to violence.
Meanwhile, the former governor has described the order for his arrest by citizens of the state as a “direct invitation to anarchy”.
A statement signed by the Media Adviser to the former governor, Mr. Sam Onwuemeodo, read, “the Secretary to the Government of Imo State, Mr. Uche Onyeaguocha was quoted in the media to have ordered at a Press Conference for the arrest of the former governor of the State and Senator representing Imo West Senatorial District, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, whenever he comes into the State. And the only reason he gave was that Imo people sympathetic with the former governor had prevented the Chairman of the government’s Property Recovery Committee, Mr. Jasper Ndubuaku with thugs from invading and looting the private residence of the former governor.
“And this is our response to the reckless arrest order; the arrest Order was an open invitation to anarchy or fracas in the State because Imo people will always come out to defend Okorocha. It also shows insensitivity on the side of the government in the State because such arrest Order was uncalled for and Onyeaguocha has no right to issue an Order of that nature.
“The Order only adds to their continued disrespect for the former governor, which is a very bad precedent. After May 29, 2019, Owelle Okorocha relocated to Abuja. He was in Abuja when the recovery committee members slapped the daughter, Mrs. Uloma Rochas Nwosu, invaded and looted the shops of the wife, Nneoma and that of the daughter too. And just the previous week, Onyeaguocha invaded the private Guest House of the former governor.
“The government had written petitions to EFCC and ICPC. And these agencies have begun investigations, yet they do not want these bodies to do their work which also arose from their petitions.
“Onyeaguocha has repeatedly said that Chief Ihedioha does not have the capacity to govern the State and he has taken over the day to day running of the government. That is why he could give such an irresponsible Order against a former governor of the State.
“The same Thursday, Onyeaguocha led thugs to Sam Mbakwe airport and said they were waiting for the former governor. This is the first government in the history of the State that is fanning the ember of anarchy”.