Mmahu, the Ohaji Egbema Local Government Area headquarters was thrown into frenzy last Saturday when the convoy of the governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, was attacked and pelted with stones and sands by some irate youths believed from the area.
The incident, which happened the same day President Jonathan and his campaign train were in Owerri, the state capital, according to some members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, was masterminded by hired political thugs brought in from nearby Rivers State by the PDP and its House of Assembly candidate.
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According to eyewitnesses, the attack started after the governor had addressed the party members and entered his vehicle to leave; then the stones started flying from different angles as the governor’s convoy left the place.
It was learnt that when the governor’s convoy left, the angry youths descended on the member representing Ohaji Egbema State Constituency, Chief Luke Chukwu, the council chairman, Sir Gideon Mefor and a political leader in the area, Chief Placidius Ekwueme, leaving the aides to the lawmaker and Ekwueme wounded on the head.
Speaking with journalists in Owerri, a notable PDP member from the area, Hon. Barnabas Nwadiogo described the allegation against his party as a joke, because according to him, every member of the party was in Owerri to listen to President Jonathan during his campaign rally.
According to him, whatever happened to the governor and his APC members must have been a natural reaction to bad governance of the the governor and ineptitude representation of the member representing the area in the state legislature.
“If there was any humiliation of any kind on the day Governor Okorocha visited Egbema, people should not link it to anybody. This shows that Ohaji Egbema youths are not happy with the governor and his ill treatment of the local government area by his administration”, he said.
According to him, no right thinking indigene of Ohaji Egbema should be happy with the governor and his party because “this is a man who came in power and killed Ada Palm. He leased it Ada Palm to Roche, which many believe is his company and collected N3.4 billion. He also used the company to get a bond of N1 billion making it N4.4billion and yet nothing is happening there now.
“Okorocha sacked all the workers of Ada Palm without severance allowance because they protested the non-payment of more than six months salary arrears. He has not done anything for the land lords of Ada Palm.
“Also, in Ohaji Egbema which is the goose that lay the golden egg, Okorocha has not completed any road project in Ohaji Egbema and the people are suffering of bad roads, look at our ISOPADEC fund, the impact is not being felt in the area because the governor does not release the funds to our people.
“In spite of all these, the governor came to our place to call our youths IIndian Hemp smokers and drunkards and since his emergence as the governor, he stopped ISOPADEC from paying for our electricity and since then, no community has electricity.
“So, it is not surprising to hear the youths throw stones at the governor and his APC members because nobody will be happy being denied what he used to enjoy before especially by a man we all thought would do better”, Nwadiogo stated.
Reacting to the incident, the transition committee chairman of Ohaji Egbema LGA, Gideon Mefor denied that the governor nor any leader in the area was pelted with stones, saying no indigene of the area “can throw stone at me not to talk of Owelle Rochas Okorocha who has done what no other governor had done for our people since the creation of Imo State”
He said “if the youths had problems among themselves that should not be interpreted that they are disenchanted with the governor. The truth of the matter is that the people of Ohaji Egbema demonstrated their love for Governor Okorocha because of the several road networks he has asphalted in our place including the one in Hon. Nwadiogo’s community. The crowd that attended the Egbema rally can be described as unprecedented because no political party can muster that kind of crowd in a single local government in a day the president of the country was in the state.
“So, all those stories about throwing stones were not true and can never be true because after His Excellency finished addressing the crowd, I accompanied him to his car where he greeted other people before leaving, thereafter, I went straight to my office where some others were waiting for me. After seeing them, I entered my vehicle and left. So, there was no incident of stone throwing”, Mefor said.
He stated that none of the propaganda being peddled by the opposition would change the positive impression Governor Okorocha had made on the minds of the people of the area.