Pro-democracy groups yesterday held a peaceful protest in Abuja against the arrest of the immediate past Governor of Imo state, Senator Rochas Okorocha.
Some of the inscriptions on the placards read “United we stand, divided we fall”, “Gov Uzodima stop the witch hunt, APC means peace, restore peace in Imo APC”, “Rochas we believe, leaders must be respected”, “Rochas is a leader, stop the use of thugs”, “Nigerian Students condemn the attacks on the person of Rochas.”
The protesters, who brandished various placards to register their anger over the development, claimed that Okorocha’s arrest allegedly at the instance of his successor, Hope Uzodinma was part of the grand design to deny the southeast geo-political zone the exalted seat of the presidency in the 2023 poll.
Malam Hamza Rahama, who spoke on behalf of Youth speakers of Nigeria, argued that Okorocha’s arrest by armed policemen constitutes a threat to democratic rule in the country.
“Okorocha is one good material if not the best we have for 2023 after President Muhammadu Buhari and all this harassment and intimidation is because of the next election of which they believe should he vie for the Presidency then he remains a threat to them,” Rahama said.
“Nigerians especially the common man will resist all sort of intimidation aimed at truncating Sen. Rochas Okorocha Presidential ambition because of their strong believe in his capacity to change their fortunes beyond the lines of tribes and religion.”
Mohammed Ibrahim, who spoke on behalf of the Arewa Youth Consultative Council (AYCC), condemned the role player by security agents in the harassment and arrest of Okorocha representing Imo west senatorial district.
“We must publicly condemn the worrisome reports of how Men of the Nigeria Police Force attached to the state government House watched as thugs attacked his Excellency, prior to his arrest,” Ibrahim said.
“This is an indication that the Imo State Government is having a hidden skeleton on this issue, which must be condemned with the most strictest sense. We cannot fold our arms and watch our Security operatives are being used to achieve political aims.”
Comrade Ilefa Peter, who spoke on behalf of the All progressive congress (APC) good governance forum, called on President Muhammadu Bihari and the Chairman of the APC caretaker committee, Malam Mala Buni to wade into the face off between Okorocha and Uzodinma in the interest of the party in Imo state.
The group maintained that the party cannot be coerced to deviate from the zoning of the 2023 presidency to the South East.
The group said, “Okorocha, has paid his dues in our great party. He stood as a lone voice in South East and gave the zone a formidable face, he was the voice of the APC in the southeast while the present Governor was in PDP fighting him for bringing APC to South East, he Rose and became Chairman of the Progressives Governor’s forum and served the forum diligently as a true party man, his love for the APC cannot be quantified, as the past Governor of Imo State, who undertook great and lofty projects in the state, and that gave APC a name in that region.
“It is saddening then to leam that, a man who has fought tooth and nail for the party in South Eastern Nigeria is been ridiculed by his fellow party man all in the name of recovering government assets when in the true sense, it is a journey of personal vendetta.
“The national organ of our great party cannot continue to fold her hands and watch the Governor of Imo State messed the whole effort of his Predecessor, the party as a matter of urgency must call the Governor to order and instill peace in the State for the good people of Imolites.
“Okorocha has sacrificed a lot for this party to be left in the hands of his successor to continually play the script of the enemies of South East. It is high time, the party came in to end this crisis once and for all.
“Governor Hope Uzodima should learn to consolidate on the past gains of his Predecessor and work harmoniously for the overwhelming good of Imolites. Government is a continuum, and if truly the party is supreme, our Leaders must learn to consolidate on the party’s ideology of fostering peace and unity at all fronts.”