Tension in Owerri as S’Court delivers judgment today

…PDP, APC optimistic of victory

..Police on red alert in Sokoto

 VICTOR DURUAMAKU, Owerri

Palpable fear and tension have gripped residents of Owerri, the Imo State capital ahead of the announcement by the Supreme Court   that it will today, Monday January 13 deliver judgment on the petitions against the declaration of Emeka Ihedioha as the governor of Imo State by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

The Supreme Court had earlier slated the delivery of judgment on the case for January 19 but had to make a quick turn in announcing today as the Day of Judgment.

Daily Champion had noticed an unusual movement of armed security personal including the Police and the Army who were allegedly been deployed to some strategic locations to forestall breakdown of law and order ahead of the apex court’s ruling on who should occupy the Doglas House, the seat of power in Imo State.

It would be recalled that a catholic priest Rev. Father  Ejike Mbaka had stirred confusion in  the state  late last year when he predicted a change of guard at the Owerri  government house saying that the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Senator Hope Uzodima will triumph over Governor Ihedioha, a prediction which has divided Imo indigenes along party lines.

While members of the Peoples Democratic Party are upbeat that the Supreme Court would uphold Ihedioha’s victory, members of the All Progressives Congress and All Progressives Grand Alliance are hopeful that the judgment would go in their favour.

The director of Imo Orientation Agency, Martin Opara told our correspondent that there was no cause for alarm, expressing optimism that the apex court would uphold Ihedioha’s election.

He said that the declaration of Ihedioha as governor was in tandem with the Electoral Act as against the position of the petitioners.

Opara said “there is no cause for alarm. The governor will win at the Supreme Court as he won at the Tribunal and the Court of Appeal respectively. This is a governor that was voted by the majority of our people.”

But the APC chairman in the state, Daniel Nwafor said that he was hopeful that the judgment would go in favour of his party.

It would be recalled that the elders committee of the  PDP in Imo State had earlier in the week  reacted over prediction of Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka to the effect that the All Progressives Congress (APC) Governorship candidate in the last election Senator Hope Uzodima would take over power from the incumbent Governor Emeka Ihedioha this 2020.

The elders had expressed shock over the priest’s pronounced ‘judgment’ at his adoration ground in favour of the APC candidate in the election -Senator Hope Uzodinma.

It however dismissed the prediction as very sad and contemptuous of the nation’s Supreme Court.

In a statement on behalf of the elders which was made available to newsmen in Owerri, elder statesman and a chieftain of PDP Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu argued that INEC which duly and diligently conducted the polls had in honesty and in transparency and in pursuit of its duty as the electoral arbiter declared Chief Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP who scored the highest number of votes cast and also fulfilled all the other constitutional requirements the winner of the polls.

The decision, he said was received with very loud ovation by the people of the state who he said desperately needed to have a new beginning.

“Since then, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha has assumed office and very noticeable transformation has taken place in all aspects of life of Imo people. The activities of his Excellency Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha has been appraised on regular basis and endorsed by a council of elders”.

Chief Iwuanyanwu explained that the council of elders are impressed with his achievements in the areas of road maintenance, water supply, security, payment of salaries and pension to retired civil servants in the state, adding that groups outside the state had equally rated his government very high in the crusade against corruption and inflation.

As citizens who believe in the rule of law, chief Iwuanyanwu said that the elders would not prejudge the verdict of the Supreme court, saying that they have absolute confidence in the apex count to uphold justice.

While preparing grounds for a possible victory at the courts, the hitherto sacked local government council chairmen from 27 local government areas of Imo State who are of APC extraction allegedly stormed their various council headquarters with the view to forcing themselves back to office.

The former council chairmen and councilors who were towards the end of the last administration of former governor of the state Rochas  Okorocha brought into office were  sacked by the incumbent administration of Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha.

The aggrieved council chairmen and their councilors had since engaged the state government in a legal battle to reclaim their offices, though the matter is still pending in an Owerri High Court.

However reacting to this development, the Secretary to the government of Imo State, Uche Onyeagocha in a statement warned “the former council helmsmen to discard their plot or be prepared to face the full weight of the law”.

Barrister Onyeagocha noted that these council chairmen and their councilors have presented themselves as politicians who have the intension to disrupt the peace, unity and tranquility being enjoyed by the people of the state pointing out that the state government would deal decisively with any individual, group or association trying to foment trouble in the state.

He therefore advised traditional rulers, religious and community leaders, town union officials to caution their subjects against being used by politicians to cause confusion in the state adding that security agents had been placed on alert to deal with anybody who causes confusion in the state.

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