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Insecurity in S/East: Postpone Imo guber election, declare state of emergency, Igbo group tells FG


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The Odinala Cultural Heritage Foundation, otherwise known as (OCHIE Igbo), a foremost Civil Society Organization (CSO), has called on the President of Nigeria and Commander of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, Council of State, National Security Adviser, Chief of Army Staff, Minister of Defense, Minister of Interior, Department of State Services, Inspector of General of Police and the Nigerian Senate to consider terrific and spiraling insecurity, killings and assassinations going on in Imo State as a veritable ground to postpone the election or call for a State of Emergency.

OCHIE Igbo made the call in a statement jointly signed by its National President, Dr. Chukwuma Ogugua Orji, and the National Secretary, Dr. Theo Nwoba, on behalf of the organization.

In the statement entitled “Insecurity in the Southeast: Why Imo State Governorship Election should be postponed and State of Emergency declared, OCHIE Igbo noted that Imo State became the equivalent of Palestine shortly after the Supreme Court of Nigeria decided to gift the governorship to Senator Hope Uzodimma in January 14, 2020.

The group stated that their investigations revealed that some prominent members of the former President Muhammadu Buhari’s federal government decided to propel Uzodimma from fourth position in the 2019 election to serve reprisal purposes against the Southeast geopolitical zone.

It, therefore, noted that postponing the governorship election would set the stage for truth finding especially against the background of recent confession by Alhaji Asari Dokubo that his private militia was contracted to accomplish the sinister motives of the Buhari-led administration in Southeast, particularly in Imo State.

Read the full report below:

Coalition asks FG to prosecute Asari Dokubo for murder, arson, war crimes in South East

“Simply put, what the FG demonstrated through the Supreme Court, by allowing Hope Uzodimma to emerge, was to show the Southeast that they can subdue the agitators and as well as foist a governor in the zone, to portray Southeast as a suppressed and conquered territory.

“Furthermore, it is totally strange and incomprehensible how Uzodimma was allowed to stand for election in 2019, at a time he was battling fraud allegedly to the tune of $12 million, which was meant for the dredging of Calabar seaport.

“The question is, has Hope refunded the money? If yes, how? If no, why? How did the Department of State Services (DSS) clear Uzodimma to stand for election despite such allegation of monumental fraud around him?

“We are inclined to believe that with that huge albatross dangling round his neck, the former Imo West Senator became a willing tool in the hands of Buhari’s men, who were out to pursue a deadly Islamic agenda of conquest and destabilization of the Southeast.

“No doubt, Hope Uzodimma became the Man Friday of the Buhari Islamic agenda in the Southeast and that unhealthy fraternity provided him the springboard to stoke military onslaught and false-flag operations in the Southeast.”

OCHIE Igbo recalled that a prison break was staged, thereby paving the way for Asari Dokubo’s militia to operate amidst the subterfuge that the prison escapees were to blame.

It stated: “Recall that immediately Asari, the crisis merchant, was drafted into the multi-million-dollar insecurity business, Ahmed Gulak fell to the bullets of faceless gunmen, perhaps recruited to operate and attack identified targets.

Besides, Gulak’s death, series of deaths followed and Imo State gradually became the operational headquarters of the multi-million-dollar insecurity business in the Southeast. The aggravated and orchestrated insecurity in the region has set the Southeast back to 1970, when the war ended.

“On several occasions, at the banana junction at Orlu and other places, within the State, human heads were displaced like trophies at broad day light; without anyone apprehended and made to face the full weight of the law. Yet, Hope Uzodimma unapologetically junkets to Abuja, flies private jets and lives in mind blowing opulence and ostentation.

“Amidst all these ominous developments, it is unbelievable that the Federal Government is contemplating a governorship election in Imo State. We are Igbo and we hold dear the sanctity of life as a cardinal virtue in Igbo cosmology.

Therefore, allowing the governorship election to hold, while armed men, bandits and criminals have gone on rampage in Imo State, would amount to dancing on the graves of all the people that have been cruelly murdered by bullets of crisis entrepreneurs, including mercenaries like Asari and his cohorts.

Instructively, INEC and the security agencies cannot guarantee safety of electorate, electoral officials and materials in Imo, during the election. There is therefore every need for Nigerians and the international community to pay attention to the melodrama being staged by INEC in Imo State, preparatory to imposing another unpopular choice through the November 11, 2023 governorship election.

The level of insincerity being exhibited by INEC is an indication that Nigerians are deliberately being lured into another election that has been programmed to fail.

At the moment, Nigeria is highly inflammable and any prank to take the citizens for granted will surely lead to an unimaginable conflagration. Given the intelligence available at our disposal concerning Imo State, it is advisable for the Federal Government to declare State of Emergency in the State and investigate the insecurity in the state, rather than use the unfortunate incident as a bargaining chip to rig in Gov. Hope Uzodinma into office for a second term.

For the records, the following instances prove that we are not alarmist in our call for a suspension of the governorship election in Imo State:

On October 12, 2023, Mr. Kenneth Ukaegbu, the Supervisory National Commissioner of INEC in charge of Imo State visited INEC office at Imo State and made NOTABLE policy statements.

They include:

a.         That the Imo governorship election won’t be held in 38 Polling Units (PUs). (According to INEC, the reason for their inability to hold elections in 38 PUs is because the Commission recorded zero registered voters there).

b.         That INEC is PREPARED to conduct the upcoming Imo State governorship election in 4,720 instead of the 4,758 polling units that make up the entire polling units in the state.

Flowing from INEC’s policy statements, our concerns are as follows;

a.         It is suspicious that INEC is bold enough to state that elections will not be held in 38 PUs, because the Commission did not register voters there. Therefore, is the commission saying AUTHORITATIVELY that it is poised to hold elections in all the remaining 4,720 PUs? This is ridiculous.

b.         It is really worrisome that INEC made no CATEGORICAL statement concerning how it plans to hold elections in GREATER parts of Imo State that have SERIOUS security concerns.

For the avoidance of doubt, Imo State has 27 LGAs – with 3 Senatorial districts comprising of; (Orlu Zone – 12 LGAs/Owerri Zone – 9 LGAs/Okigwe Zone – 6 LGAs).

At the moment, out of the twelve (12) LGAs in Orlu Zone only 6 are habitable – Oguta, Ohaji Egbema, Orlu, Orsu and Njaba LGAs have been TOTALLY and COMPLETELY overrun by armed bandits and criminal elements. In fact, Gov. Hope Uzodinma’s LGA – Oru East is ravaged. People have been rendered homeless and made refugees in their homelands. In Orlu Zone communities adversely affected incudes; Awo- idemili, Ihitenansa, Amaebu, Ogbaeruru, Amannachi, Amaifeke, Ihioma/Ebenese, Amaruru, Okporo, Umutanze, Atta Njaba, Izomba, Assa – Awarra, Assa – Obile, Awarra Ikwerede.

Under such circumstances, the INEC definite comment and policy statement on how it really plans to go about the election in the high-risk areas is complicit. It simply means that they will leverage on the insecurity in those areas to rig the election for the highest bidder.

This is typical of what played out during the 2023 general elections in Imo State, where the State Government leveraged on the crisis at Okigwe LGA to write results for National Assembly Members.

Unfortunately, an attempt to repeat such action, this period, will definitely lead to the Somalisation (Somali) of Imo and ignite a mass action which the state may not recover from.

In Okigwe Zone which has Six (6) LGAs, the recent killing of security operatives at Umualuwaku of Ehime Mbano LGA has led to the exodus of the natives from that area. There are myriads of video clips, in the social media space showing how the army wreaked havoc in that area when they visited on a retaliatory note.

Of course, in the eternal words of Fela Anikulapo Kuti, it is ‘their regular trademark’. Therefore, the simple question is, will elections be held in such areas?

In Okigwe Zone communities that are adversely affected incudes; Umualuwaku, Aba Branch, Umuhim, Ihube, Aku, Umulolo, Agbaobu, Umuawaibu, Amuro and Ogii etc.

Evidently, some parts of Okigwe LGA have been under siege, occasioned by bandits, kidnappers and criminal elements. They have also been under military occupation and operation, with heavy aerial bombardments and air raids being staged by the Nigerian army.

For the above reasons, Archbishop Biereonwu Livinus Onuagha of Okigwe Archdiocese of the Methodist Church of Nigeria released a video clip, in which he wept profusely and inconsolably about the military occupation, bombardment and intimidation, which has displacement the entire Okigwe people stretching into Umunneochi, Isukwuato, Lokpanta of Abia State.

Pathetically, native people are being displaced from their ancestral homes and turned into refugees. Again, the question is, will INEC still conduct elections in areas like this?

At Onuimo LGA, under Okigwe zone, the people are yet to recover from invasion of armed men that killed Christian Ihim, popularly hailed as Zako, the ward Chairman of the All Progressives Congress in Umuchoke ward in Okwe. The gunmen after killing Ihim, kidnapped five other persons in the community. Again, the question is, will INEC still conduct election in Onuimo LGA?

The Owerri Zone has nine (9) LGAs. That is the only zone that seems to be enjoying cosmetic peace. However, on October 10, 2023, the serene community of Emeohe Mbaoma Emii, in the Owerri North LGA was gripped in shock and disbelief, over the gruesome murder of two of their own – Mr. Anyasodor and his wife. It was a murder so grisly, so gruesome, so cruel, so terrifying. They were murdered in their home.

While Mr. Anyasodor, reportedly, a retired bank Manager, was murdered in his living room, and his body burnt beyond recognition, his wife was butchered in her bedroom, on her bed. Again, the question is, will INEC still conduct elections in places like this?

Similarly, on October 12, 2023, at Obinze in Owerri Zone, a young man in his prime, Mr. Goodnews Onyemzoroegbulem, a Chieftain of the Labour Party, was cut down by his assailants.

On October 15, 2023, gunmen gruesomely murdered the cousin of the Labour Party (LP) governorship candidate in the State, Senator Athan Achonu at his country home in Ezeala, Ezike Ehime Mbano Local Government Area. Until his death, Innocent Obi popularly known as “Onye Army” was the deputy registrar of the Federal Polytechnic, Uwana in Ebonyi State. He was hacked to death by his assailants and dumped at the boundary between Ehime Mbano and Ahiazu Mbaise.

Going by these statistics of insecurity in Imo State, it is crucial for INEC and the security agencies to come out plainly and tell the world where elections will be held and where they will not be held. The fact that they are playing politics with this is suspicious.

Observably, Mr. Ukaegbu cleverly avoided mentioning number of collected Permanent Voters Card (PVC) for the election in Imo State. Is this forgetfulness or oversight? Mr. Ukaegbu’s ‘smartness’ in this instance is DEEPLY revealing.

Apparently, potential voters didn’t see the need to go out to collect their PVCs in preparation for the election, because they are disgruntled, disenchanted and feel terribly used.

The renewal and escalation of violence, murder and arson in Imo State, prior to the Governorship election is an indication that insecurity in the State has reached frightening heights; making it practically impossible for elections to hold in that State.

Being part of the states where Asari Dokubo proudly revealed to be among areas, he had conducted illegal operations, there is need to declare state of emergency and postpone election in Imo State to quickly address the rampaging politically-motivated security crisis.

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