Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State has explained why his administration is seizing a property belonging to his predecessor, Rochas Okorocha.
He said the state government’s action was in accordance with a report of a judicial panel set up by former Governor Emeka Ihedioha before he left office.
Mr Okorocha, a serving senator, was involved in a fracas on Sunday with the governor’s aide and some youth over the government sealing of a hotel belonging to the senator’s wife.
The senator was arrested and briefly detained at the police headquarters, Owerri.
“You will recall that before I became the governor, the Ihedioha administration set up a judicial panel of inquiry to look into acquisitions of lands and conversion of government lands to personal property. The judicial panel of inquiry chaired by a judge met and they concluded their job. And a white paper has since been raised,” Governor Uzodinma told reporters on Tuesday in Abuja after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.
The governor said the senator went with thugs to unseal the wife’s hotel.
“He went there with thugs himself physically, wounded the policemen there, and wounded the civil defense people, the civil defense officer is currently in the hospital.
“He then broke in and entered. Of course, you must have heard him say he is richer than the government and that he is above the law.
“I am not directly involved. It is a position taken by the government. There is a difference between governor and government,” Mr Uzodinma said.
The governor continued, “The government of Imo State sealed a property. And I think that if there is anything anybody considers that is not right, the person should go to court to address the issue. Not to take laws (into his hand).
“I remember that under Ihedioha, there was a recovery committee, chaired by one Jasper Ndubaku, when they tried to visit Okorocha’s house, they were beaten to a stupor. And the same man who did that is now also doing the same thing.”
The governor said he has no “personality issues” with Mr Okorocha.
Mr Okorocha’s personal aide, Ebere Nzewuji, denied that the senator tried to unseal the property.
“When he arrived at the premises, they were confronted with thugs who had guns and machetes, and they were attacking him and his entourage.
“He (Okorocha) can’t go there to make trouble, he went to ask questions. A staff member was beaten up, even the hotel’s guests still had their property inside the hotel.
“He wasn’t going to unseal the property,” Mr Nzewuji told PREMIUM TIMES, Sunday.
The origin of the feud between the two leaders could be traced to the 2019 governorship election in Imo where Mr Okorocha, then as governor, supported his son-in-law in another party, instead of Mr Uzodinma, who was the candidate of APC — Mr Okorocha’s party.
Mr Okorocha said Governor Uzodinma wants to intimidate him and his supporters.
“I do not know what the governor wants to achieve, but I think he wants to make everyone fear him,” Mr Okorocha told a crowd of supporters, which paid a solidarity visit to him in his residence in Owerri on Monday.
“A governor who came through court should know how to respect the rule of the law. We shall resist them.
“Let me remind him, he cannot be judged by the number of people he has locked up, but by the performance he has done for the people.
“Let him build one hospital and we can clap for him, let him build one school and we can clap for him, let him build one road and then we can clap for him,” the senator said.
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