|Imo State Governor; Rochas Okorocha|
Some concerned Imo State leaders in Abuja, under the auspices of Concerned Imo State Leaders (CISL), yesterday urged Governor Rochas Okorocha to resign because of what they called “clearly established leadership incompetence and serial blunder on the most elementary duties of governance”.
Addressing reporters in Abuja, the group also advised the House of Assembly to invoke the impeachment clause to unseat the governor, if he fails to resign over his alleged disregard for court order and the recent demolition of the Ekeukwu Market in Owerri, the state capital.
CISL’s spokesman Sam Obaji accused the Okorocha administration of embarking on an unlawful, reckless and unprofitable demolition of the market.
The group said four people, including a 10-year-old boy, Somtochukwu Igboanusi, were killed and several others injured during the market demolition.
They said: “As leaders in Imo State from various zones and across different political party lines, we are pained that at this time government should focus all resources and …alleviate economy hardship and youth unemployment, the government in Imo State is sending struggling families to severe poverty and misery through irresponsible governance.
“By refusing counsel, rejecting court injunctions and going ahead to carry out the demolition of a market that has been in existence before Independence in 1960, the Imo State government has provoked the people and threatened the peace of the state.
“As Chief Security Officer (CSO) of the state, the governor ought to have realised that such wanton and reckless disregard for the sensibilities and interest of the people in a democracy poses a grave challenge to national security at a time the Federal Government is concerned about insecurity across the country.
“As leaders of Imo State, we would ordinarily support any well-conceived urban renewal project in the state as we know the economic growth spill-offs of properly executed infrastructural development in the state. But what we are witnessing in Imo State is a self-interested and uncoordinated urban renewal project that consists largely of demolition of private properties and transfer of recovered plots of land to cronies for private development.
“The fact is that the present demolition was carried out in reckless violation of a clear court order of Justice S. I. Okpara, restraining the Imo State government from demolition of the market until determination of the suit filed by the stall owners.
“In as much as it is the priority of government to determine the direction of urban renewal, we believe that a responsive and responsible government would undertake a process that minimises hardship and disruption to economic and social life of the citizens.
“We are very angry at this uncivilised, reckless, thoughtless and disrespectful model of governance and warned that henceforth, we will be out to fight the governor to stop him from further destroying life and livelihood in Imo State.”
The government urged Nigerians to investigate the purported killing of the 10-year-old boy during the demolition.
It said only a thorough investigation would bring out the truth.
The government challenged those behind the rumoured killing of the boy to tell the world where the incident took place.
It said those with 2019 ambition were behind the rumoured killing, adding that such persons were leveraging on the relocation of market to cause trouble in the state.
In a statement in Owerri, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Sam Onwuemeodo, dismissed the calls for the governor to resign.
The statement reads: “We want to reiterate our demand that the reported death of a boy should be thoroughly investigated for the public to know the particular area the incident took place and the circumstances surrounding the reported death to reveal whether the whole story has anything to do with the movement of Ekeukwu Owerri Market or not.
“Again, now that the relocation has been completed, it is also left for those behind the rumours of killings, with some quoting six, some quoting five and some quoting three, to tell their audience where the bodies of the rumoured dead persons are deposited and where their families can be located so that interested Nigerians can go into investigation on their own to ascertain whose claim should be believed.
“Unfortunately, some people have taken such wicked rumours wholesale. We are challenging those behind the claims to come forward to authenticate their claims. That is the way to unearth the truth. And where they fail to do that, they should cover their faces in shame.”