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A former Governor of Imo State, Ikedi Ohakim has declared that the impression that Imo Charter of Equity is a new document is wrong because it has been running since 1998, until it was truncated by ex-Governor Rochas Okorocha in 2011.
The new charter which was articulated by Imo Elders Council and endorsed by Governor Hope Uzodinma this year to ensure key elective offices, especially those of the governor, are rotated among the three senatorial zones with less rancour.
Reacting to the document while addressing reporters at his Owerri home yesterday, Dr. Ohakim said the impression ought not to have been given that Imo Charter of Equity was being discussed for the first time.
He said: ‘Apart from the fact that it is misleading, it denies the generality of the people the opportunity to put it in its proper historical perspective, which is the only way we can understand why it has remained elusive.’
Ohakim, who traced the historical background of the charter, however, blamed the collapse on the lies sold to the Imo people by Okorocha that he would serve only one term as well as promoting false allegation against him of flogging a reverend father, hence the Catholic without proper investigation bought the lies, which eventually truncated the charter of equity in the state.
According to the former governor, ‘I agree with the elders who drafted the current charter with the proviso that its implementation will begin after the incumbent governor, Senator Uzodimma, has completed his second term in 2028.
‘Given our experience in 2003 and 2015 – forget the aberration of 2011 – we have to take into consideration the factor of a sitting governor. It is heartwarming that Governor Uzodimma is favourably disposed to the idea of returning to the charter because it will take a sitting governor to make it work; as we witnessed under Governor Achike Udenwa and as it is the case in all the states around us where power-sharing is working.
‘But if Uzodimma gets his second term through another round of scrambling for power among the three zones, it will again be ‘to your tents oh Isreal’. In other words, contrary to the thinking in some quarters that Governor Uzodimma might have engineered the new interest in the charter, the truth is that it will be impossible to implement it without taking his interest -as an incumbent – into account.’
On insecurity, Ohakim admitted that the situation is worrisome in the state and across the Southeast, but he exonerated Governor Uzodimma from the insinuations that he deliberately hoisted it in the state.
He described such a notion as nonsensical even when the governor and himself had been victims of insecurity, noting that Governor Uzodimma was on top of the situation.
Ohakim said verifiable statistics with the Nigeria Police does not show that Imo State has the highest number of crime in the Southeast.
‘As a private citizen, I move around the Southeast and I can say without any fear of contradiction that on the matter of insecurity, our dear state, Imo, is not worse off. That does not mean that we should give any room for complacency, but we should not blackmail ourselves and act in a manner that will undermine the collective integrity of our dear state and its people.
‘I have been personally involved in several meetings on the matter of insecurity in the Southeast and I know that the governors are doing quite a lot. Whether we like it or not, the matter rests squarely on the shoulders of the Federal Government; which is why I will once again restate my position that in this highly tempestuous time, we need a governor who enjoys a good reputation with the federal authorities as Governor Uzodimma does,’ he said.
Ohakim called on youths to try as much as possible to protect the elders, instead of being used as tools to destroy their future and render the society ungovernable.