Since the unfortunate killing of Master Somtochukwu Ibeanusi on Saturday, 26th August, 2017, by agents of government of Imo State, I have but spent most of my time praying for the repose of the soul of this 10 years old boy who was the hope of the Ibeanusi family. I also commend Ndi Imo for praying for the family and for all the wounded and dispossessed.
Inspite of this extreme provocation, I commend Ndi Imo, particularly the traders and Ndi Owerri Federal Constituency for remaining law abiding.
I frown strongly on the deployment of the military and use of live bullets against unarmed civilians during this act of impunity and illegality. I have joined all well meaning Nigerians in demanding to know who ordered the deployment of the military against a civilian population in a purely civil matter, even when there is a subsisting court injunction issued by Hon Justice S.I. Opara of the Imo State High Court.
Imo people, and indeed all Nigerians, should recall that in my letter to Governor Okorocha dated 26 August, 2016, I advised the Governor in unmistakable terms against the demolition of the market. I drew the Governor's attention to the excruciating economic recession in the country, massive job losses in Imo State, the calamity of Mechanics Village demolition without compensation and alternative. In short, I told him that the timing was wrong and timing in leadership actions is of essence.
Again, I have severally called the attention of Governor Okorocha to the flagrant abuse of the Owerri Master Plan and disobedience of subsisting court orders by himself and the agents of his administration. In this matter, the Governor failed to address his mind to the fact that the Ekeukwu market does not belong to Imo State Government but a private business investment by the developers and traders.
The death of Somtochukwu is one too many and a collective shock to Ndi Igbo. A near-impenetrable sense of impunity - of being above the usual rules and laws, has become a defining feature of Okorocha's administration. Anyone who presents a threat to that impunity is ostensibly attacked, dismissed, abused, pummelled, and may be killed.
Definitely Okorocha may have other reasons for upping the crisis level in the State just to take people's attention away from critical issues in the state such as economic survival, abandoned local government election, unpardonable environmental pollution in the State, the war and sharp division in his party, the APC in the State, his promise of 5 new aircrafts for his Imo Air since April 2017, etc, etc. Imo people are hurting for lack of jobs, lack of water, lack of food, lack of healthcare, lack of peace, and lack of hope.
While we all perish in poverty as a result of Okorocha's job extinguishing policies, he is smiling as the ultimate boss, the guy who is so rich and powerful that he can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, and to whomever he wants (including demolishing the economic livelihood of the people, grabbing whichever land he wants, seeding our hospitals to Federal agencies etc). In our state Imo he is the only winner; if someone gets killed it does not matter because we have all become the losers. Impunity to him, even more than gold, is the ultimate signifier of his success.
No matter the shocks and scare tactics thrown our way, we must all be united as humans to assist those affected by this inhuman calamity by donating to Ekeukwu Owerri Market disaster Fund. Nothing is too small. I thank those who have done so already. We must all unite to say no to bad ideas and bad actors. We must all say no to one-man mega brands. Those who believe that money and power provide license to impose one's will on others while ignoring both laws and common sense.
Okorocha and his fellow travellers must be seen for what they are: a symptom of a deep viral infection that we decided, collectively, to inhale, and one we must come together to heal. We must collectively rise to the responsibility of the moment. The truth is that there are ways to pierce the Okorocha bubble. All we need now is to collectively identify where to place the needle.
Fomer Governor of Imo State