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Gov. Uzodimma’s CON, GSSRS Awards Unsettle Imo PDP, Samdaddy


Gov. Uzodimma’s CON, GSSRS Awards Unsettle Imo PDP, Samdaddy

By Collins Ughalaa KSC

Unsettled by the recent honours done to the performing Governor Hope Uzodinma, the minority and battle-weary People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Imo State has thrown itself into a frenzy with a fresh round of mudslinging targeted at the governor. The PDP’s headache is that it does not understand why, despite all the propaganda it churns out on a daily basis against the governor, he keeps rising like the phoenix and soaring like the eagle.

In a space of five days, starting from Tuesday, May 23, to Saturday, May 27, Governor Hope Uzodimma has dominated the news for wonderful reasons. On Tuesday, the governor was at the inauguration of the Second Niger Bridge, alongside Governor Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe, the Asagba of Asaba, Prof. Chike Edozien, among others, but he was the cynosure of all eyes as he mounted the podium and uttered words of great wisdom and throughout the inauguration of the Muhammadu Buhari Bridge. Soon after the inauguration of the bridge, the news emerged that Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State was going to bestow on the governor the highest award ever bestowed on individuals who have distinguished themselves in the service to the society, the Grand Service Star of Rivers State (GSSRS). The news of the GSSRS award was yet to settle when the news also emerged that Governor Uzodimma has been honoured with yet another award, the prestigious Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) by the federal government.

Imo people are agog with the deserved honours done to their governor, as they rightly describe the honours as merited due to the governor’s hard work which has produced dividends of democracy to Imo people. The State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, reechoed the feelings of the Imo people when he said that Governor Uzodimma’s recognition by the federal government signposts his immense contributions to national development and unity. He added that the award was a vindication of Uzodimma’s tireless commitment to national cohesion and patriotic zeal in the discharge of his duties. The Chairman of the Board of the Benjamin Uwajumogu College of Education, Ihitte-Uboma, HRH Eze Oliver Ohanwe, also spoke on the honours, saying that the governor deserves any honour done to him by the federal government, state, groups or individuals because “he has proven to have capacity for national, state and individuals development.”

While Imo people rejoice with their governor, the PDP in Imo State grieves. The honours come to it as rude shock, and it cannot understand why these awards should come to a man it had painted in false colours. Of all the awards, the award from PDP’s Nyesom Wike is the straw that broke the carmel’s back. In his letter to Governor Uzodimma on the award, Wike acknowledged his tremendous support to the government and the good people of Rivers State. Coming from a PDP bigwig, the GSSRS award on Governor Uzodimma appears to be the loudest statement and action from inside the PDP, and it rattles the party in Imo. This is understandable, but it is not the governor’s fault that his good works are speaking for him, and he is being recognized. Wike’s award, no doubt, vitiates all the false labelling from Imo PDP and exposes the party as desperate, conniving, maniacal, untrustworthy, usurper, and perceived enabler of non-state actors; it signifies the PDP’s loss of support, its vulnerability, and imminent defeat on Saturday, November 11.

The pretender to the governorship of Imo State and the so-called governorship candidate of the PDP, Samuel Anyanwu (Samdaddy), had boasted that with Wike’s support he would become governor of Imo State. He had also boasted to his people that Wike singlehandedly made him the National Secretary of the PDP with the plan to help him become the governor of Imo State in 2024. When Samdaddy bullied respected leaders of the PDP to grab the governorship ticket of the party, he did so banking on Wike’s support, not on any demonstrable capacity of his. With the GSSRS award, it is now obvious to Imo PDP and its prerentious candidate that they are standing alone, orphaned, exposed for what they are, and now made a laughing stock.

Of course, Governor Uzodimma was in Rivers State to receive his GSSRS award, and he was received by the Igbo Community in Rivers State and Bayelsa State. The leaders of the Igbo Community during the reception held at the Presidential Hotel, Port Harcourt, took turns highlighting Uzodimma’s leadership credentials and describing him as an uncommon leader and the shining star of the Igbo Nation. “We are happy to inform you that Igbo communities across the country share the same positive sentiments on your achievements. The Igbo Community in Rivers State and Bayelsa State are proud of you, and we thank you for the good work you are doing in the southeast region. We thank you for your reintegration efforts towards bringing the Igbos into the nation’s platform…On behalf of the Igbo Community here in Rivers and Bayelsa States, we assure you of our unreserved and unflinching support towards your reelection come November 11, 2023 in order to afford you the opportunity to do more of what you know how to do best in the interest of Imo State, Southeast and Nigeria at large. We are committed to supporting our position by physical presence to drive voting and campaign,” said the Igbo Community in a welcome address.

Dumbfounded by these epochal events, Imo PDP resorts to yet another smear campaign as its weak response to the events. It could not hide its underbelly well enough but exposed itself when it referenced the GSSRS award and endorsement in its statement, saying that the governor is now desperate, buying endorsements and running to his fellow governor for award and validation. Whereas the PDP knows it cannot convince Imo people, it once more threw up the security challenges in Imo State. There is no pretences about the fact that Imo State is facing a phase of politically contrived insecurity. Unscrupulous politicians thought that unleashing insecurity on the state would give them the governorship, but they have since failed in their antics. The governor has left no stone unturned in his genuineness to restore law and order, peace, and development in the state. But the PDP thinks it can accuse him of perpetrating insecurity and thus help itself to power. It wants to produce governor on the blood of innocent Imo sons and daughters.

The politically contrived insecurity has taken a toll on the state. The governor, his appointees, and members of the APC and associates have been targeted and many killed by bandits. The custodial centre and police command in Owerri were set ablaze, and inmates released by the bandits; traditional rulers have been targeted, countless houses burnt while members of the PDP are spared. In all of these, the PDP conveniently ignores the fact that the governor has been able to liberate communities hitherto held by bandits who were enabled by unscrupulous politicians. Rather, the party labours in vain to convince Imo people that the governor is behind their sad ordeal. The PDP has done this since 2020, but it lost the 2023 general elections woefully because Imo people know the truth, that the governor is taking all legitimate steps to end insecurity. Yet the PDP, like the stubborn fly that refuses to heed advice and follows the corpse into the grave, pretends not to realise that Imo people have since abandoned it.

The PDP, in its press release of Sunday, May 28, mocked Imo people with the killings, abductions, tortures, beheading, arson, and other heinous crimes perpetrated by bandits, but never condemned the bandits anywhere in its 1,196-word press release. In its mischievous desperation, the party shamelessly called on Nigeria’s brand new President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to intervene in Imo, not to help end insecurity but to help them fight Governor Uzodimma and win the November 11 governorship election.

By its utterances and actions, the PDP continues to expose itself as a group of people who does not mean well for the populace, enemy of progress and peace, enemy of law and order, and enemy of the people. If the PDP is genuinely interested in finding those who are perpetrating insecurity in Imo, it should answer police invitations and allow its leaders to also answer police invitations. They should all make statements to the police and help Imo people see for themselves those sponsoring insecurity in Imo.

In spite of the mudslinging from Imo PDP, Imo people have continued to stand with the governor in the fight against insecurity. The governor has done so much to bring the situation under control, and we have seen the results. Businesses have resumed, and nightlife is back. Schools are open, and banks and markets are open. The economy is back on its feet. What the governor needs is not the needless distractions from Imo PDP but the continued support of all. Despite the resources expended in the fight against insecurity, the governor has delivered on his mandate in terms of dividends of democracy and much more. You can imagine what he is capable of doing if unscrupulous politicians had not dragged the state into insecurity.

Collins Ughalaa KSC
Special Adviser (Public Communications) to the Governor.

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