Anyim Congratulates New Zamfara PDP Exco, Condemns Attack On Headquarters

It’s time to steer Imo from its current ugly phase to the path of development and committed leadership.

You may not fully appreciate the pains that come with hailing from Imo, these days, unless you are from the state. Mere introduction as an Imo indigene, now, attracts uncanny looks at you – some, of suspicion, pity and or outright avoidance. When it is further stretched that you are from Orlu, you instantly become a topic; that is if you are lucky those sitting by your sides, do not relocate to other seats.

That is the running perception on Imo. Perception, it is said, could be right or wrong. In the case of the Eastern Heartland, as the state prides (or prided) itself, it may be difficult to situate the situation.

In a way, the state presently, illustrates Prof Anezi Okoro’s fictional work, “One Week One Trouble” – in which the lead character, a mischievous secondary school chap, stumbles from one trouble to another, almost every week- either riding the school’s bull or interrupting a sports event, to tampering with laughing gas at the Chemistry lab! That of Imo is however more tragic, happening in blistering succession and reducing the state to a playhouse of absurdities.

Elsewhere, I had tried to locate the piteous developments in the state to the war of attrition among its political elite. Politicians in Imo see the state as a booty to be scavenged on. In the scramble, they take no prisoners but go for a kill.

At all times, they have their eyes on target, not necessarily for public good but for what they stand to gain. They fit into the class of men described in the curious book, “The Mafia Manager”, by V., that are driven by one aim: “profit and not averse to using any means to ensure and increase that profit”. None is altruistic in the true sense of the word.

Most ferocious in the deadly enterprise, is the ongoing feud between Governor Hope Uzodimma and his predecessor, Senator Rochas Okorocha. Both have thrown civility to the wind in going about their consuming encounter, leaving the state, worsened.

If you have followed the costly gamble by men of the state’s Police Command in picking up former Chief of Staff to Okorocha, Uche Nwosu, from a church service, on Sunday, December 26 and his being released the next day, you can then understand the unreasonable show of power in the state.

It is not for us to determine the appropriateness of the police in invading a place of worship to apprehend a suspect. Our concern rather, is the extent to which the state has suffered while the unnecessary display of raw power lingers. Criminal elements have cashed into the situation to traumatize the people more.

Life in Imo, presently, is cheap, perhaps sliding to the confusion in Somalia. Hardly any day passes, these days, without sordid tales from the state. You can argue that the stories may have elements of embellishments or exaggeration but you cannot entirely dismiss them with a wave of the hand.

There is always a story of blood, cold blood, spilt without qualms. It is either the security agents engaging the youths, gangs against gangs, evoking sad memories of the black-on-black violence in the apartheid South Africa. It is a rat-race of sort.

There have been incidences of travellers being abducted by unknown gunmen, traditional rulers kidnapped and killed. People have had their private organs chopped off, heads severed and put on public display. As if these are not enough, cannibalism has crept into the mix.

A casual sampling of returnees for the Christmas and New Year in the East, indicated that Imo has the lowest figure. Many of those that managed to sneak into their communities, stayed indoors due to the uncertain climate of security. The situation is really worrisome.

To every citizen of Imo, the turn of events in the state, calls for deep introspection. The state does not deserve its current lot. Here was an entity which the administration of late Dr. Sam Mbakwe took to an unprecedented height in human and material resource management. Then, it was a thing of pride to come from Imo. But following a succession of leaders who lack vision and mission at the helm of its affairs, Imo has lost much ground, slipping to an object of derision among observers. Things cannot continue this way, certainly.

Imo, incidentally, is one that epitomizes self-help in community development. It has not had the privilege of being pampered by the government at the centre but has not allowed that to weigh it down.

In the second republic, faced with acute infrastructure challenge and transportation system, the state under Mbakwe, built an Airport, constructed first class university, established industries in the then five senatorial districts and did other things that made it the envy of others and a pride to the citizens.

At the level of individual and communal initiatives, the people have given a good account of themselves. Imo, for instance ranks tops among the states with the highest number of Professors of different backgrounds in the country. It counts among states with highest number of candidates sitting for competitive examinations, annually.

For more than 10 years running, the state has consistently featured among the first 10 states in WAEC and JAMB examinations. At local levels, giant strides are being recorded.

The lesson in all these, is that in Imo, there is still a reservoir of hands and brains willing and ready to take the state to the next level. What is required to get the state back on the tracks, is committed leadership and a coalition of efforts by men and women of goodwill, irrespective of political affiliation, to stand firm and say; enough is enough!

Imo cannot be left to remain the way it is, now. In the last two years, the state has been in the news for the wrong reasons. This is the time to make a radical departure from the ugly past and work for a productive future. Every segment of the society, including the family, the religious and traditional institution, should be involved in this process of reinventing the state.

Imo does not have the luxury of time in reversing its story. The leaders also do not have the time for blame game, finger pointing and recriminations. The job at hand, is much and requires all brains at work.

It is well with my good people of the Eastern Heartland! Happy New Year.

– Duru is editor of The Niche Newspaper

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