The governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodimma, has urged Imo citizens to cooperate with the Nigerian Army to ensure a peaceful Christmas celebration in the state.
The governor made the call during the launch of a military exercise code named Operation Golden Dawn 2 by the Nigerian Army 34 Artillery Brigade Obinze in Imo State ahead of the yuletide.
“This exercise is being flagged off today is a very welcomed development, the reason being that one, if we cooperate with the Nigerian Army as citizens, give them the necessary support, we will have a very peaceful Christmas, we will not have all these unknown gunmen, all the bandits causing mayhem here and there. Number two, it will encourage our brothers and sisters who live outside Imo State to come back home knowing fully well that Imo State is now secured,” Uzodimma said.
He commended security agencies for the continuous sacrifice and launching the exercise “at a time that we have gone into Ember months knowing fully well that majority of Imolites are Christians and Christians take Christmas very seriously”.
According to the Brigade Commander, Brigadier General Sani Suleiman, the exercises are aimed at checkmating activities of bandits, criminals and neutralize all forms of criminality in the state especially during the Yuletide season which is just around the corner.
Suleiman added, “The Nigerian Army has continued to conduct internal security operations and exercises to combat criminal activities bedeviling the country in recent past. The South East and Imo State in particular has experienced a rise in security challenges ranging from kidnapping, armed robbery, assassination, banditry, insurgency among others.
“The 82 Division of the Nigerian Army with Headquarters at Enugu in its bid to curtail this criminal activities disturbing peace in the South East particularly during the festive period flagged off Exercise Golden Dawn in line with Army Headquarters directive in furtherance of peace.”
The Independent National Electoral Commission on Tuesday said it will conduct governorship elections for Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi states on November 11, 2023.
According to a statement signed by INEC National Commissioner, Festus Okoye, the decision is in fulfillment of constitutional provisions.
“At its weekly meeting held today Tuesday 22nd October 2022, the Commission approved the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi States’ Governorship elections,” the statement said.
“This decision is in fulfillment of the requirement of Section 28(1) of the Electoral Act 2022 which mandates the Commission to publish the Notice of Election not later than 360 days before the date fixed for the elections. Similarly, Sections 178(1) and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 mandates the Commission to conduct such elections not earlier than 150 days and not later than 30 days before the expiration of the term of the last holder of the office.
“The tenure of the incumbent Governor of Imo State ends on 14th January 2024 while those of Kogi and Beyelsa States end on 26th January 2024 and 13th February 2024 respectively.
“Accordingly, the Commission has decided to conduct the three elections on Saturday 11th November 2023.
“The statutory Notice for the elections will be published in the three States on 14th November 2022. Party primaries will be held from 27th March to 17th April 2023 while the online portal for the submission of nomination forms (EC9 and EC9B) by political parties opens at 9.00am on 24th April 2023 and closes at 6.00pm on 5th May 2023. The final list of candidates will be published on 9th June 2023 while campaign by political parties commences on 14th June 2023 and ends at midnight on 9th November 2023.
“The full Timetable and Schedule of Activities has been uploaded to the Commission’s website and social media platforms.”
The All Progressives Congress (APC) women in the South-East on Wednesday held a rally in support of the party’s presidential candidate Bola Tinubu and his running mate Kashim Shettima.
The women’s wing of the APC presidential campaign South-East zone gathered in large numbers at the Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu Square in Owerri, the Imo State capital to drum up support for their party’s candidate.
Dressed in colourful attire, leaders of the group took turns addressing the crowd and urged them to vote for the party’s candidate.
Chioma Uzodimma, South-East Women’s Coordinator for the APC Presidential Campaign and the wife to Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, said Wednesday’s rally is a preamble.
She urged the women to get their permanent voter cards and on “that day, from beginning to the end,” vote APC candidates.
On his part, Governor Uzodimma said the APC is the party to beat in next year’s exercise. He expressed confidence that the duo of Tinubu and Shettima will cruise to victory in 2022.
“APC is one united national political party in Nigeria and we are all committed to APC, and we are all working for APC.
“We believe that what is happening in Lagos should happen in Nigeria. We believe that those who initiated what is happening in Lagos should also initiate what would happen in Nigeria,” he told the women at the Government House.
“We believe that the good work the President has done for the past seven and half years has to be supported and continued. The only way this can happen is if our women will come out en masse; if our youths will come out en masse; if our politicians will come out en masse and support a winning team because you don’t change a winning team.”
The women also marched through the streets of the Imo State capital as they ramped up support for Tinubu.
Governor Hope Uzodimma has accused politicians in Imo State of blackmailing security agencies and playing politics with the present insecurity situation in Orsu Local government area of Imo State.
Briefing Journalists at the Government house in owerri on the present security Situation in Orsu local government area in Imo state, Governor Uzodimma says in separate attacks by bandits in orsu-Awo Idemili area, within the last one month, the Nigerian army has lost a Major and currently a military Captain is in a critical state receiving attention at the ICU department of the Federal medical center.
Urging politicians to join the government and security agencies in her fight against criminality and banditry in order to restore lasting peace in Imo state. He maintains that his administration will stop at nothing to bring criminality and banditry to an end in the state.
Governor Uzodinma also cleared the air regarding claims by some politicians suggesting that figures in the voters registration in Omuma ward in his community were inflated to favour him in the forthcoming election.
According to the governor, the claims are all figments of his detractors imaginations, one that demonstrates the impact of his government and the strength of his party to win the hearts of the Imo people.
President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday in Owerri, Imo State, commended Gov. Hope Uzodimma for his efforts in developing the state, saying, “You have written your own history,’’ after he saw the ultra-modern chamber of the rebuilt House of Assembly.
The president said his administration will leave a legacy of major development projects across the country, while saluting Imo State Governor for giving more attention to constructions and institutional reforms that will improve lives of the people.
President Buhari, who commissioned the Owerri/Orlu dual carriage, Owerri/Okigwe road and the renovated House of Assembly Complex, noted that the Imo State government had made remarkable progress with infrastructure in three years.
“I am delighted to be back in Imo State – the Eastern Heartland – to commission a number of projects executed by the administration of His Excellency, Governor Hope Uzodimma.
“I am happy to note that within just three years of the administration of Governor Uzodimma, I have made two official visits to Imo State to commission projects in the state.
“On each occasion, I have received a very warm hospitality of Imo people, for which I am always appreciative. Ndi Imo, Ndewo!
“As it is often said in local Igbo parlance, a good road deserves a second passage. It is a pleasant coincidence that the name of your governor, “Uzodimma” is derived from this same idiom. Little wonder, therefore, that he has made the provision of good roads one of his top priorities,” he said.
The President said his administration recognizes the importance of critical infrastructure in economic development and was determined to drive the economic development of Nigeria through the provision of vital infrastructure across the length and breadth of the country.
“This can be seen in our commitment to certain critical projects such as Deep Sea Ports, new airport terminals and buildings, various railway projects, a network of gas and power infrastructure, roads and bridges including the Second Niger Bridge, telecommunications infrastructure to mention but a few.
“I am therefore happy to see that the APC administration of Governor Uzodimma is doing similar improvement here in Imo State.
“I commend the Governor for being able to do so with the limited resources at the disposal of the State Government. This proves that when leaders are dedicated and focused, much can be achieved for our people, “ he added.
The President said the Federal Government will continue to support the government of Imo State to ensure that it continues to provide the dividends of democracy to the people.
“This support is equally available to all the states of the Federation irrespective of the differences in political party affiliations,’” he assured.
The President encouraged Imo State indigenes to keep supporting the Governor to actualize his dream for the state, particularly on good governance.
“In my last visit here, I encouraged you all to support your Governor so that he can do more for the people of Imo state. I am happy that you took my advice and today, he has presented to me three key projects for commissioning.
“I have just commissioned the dualized Owerri – Orlu road, the Owerri Okigwe road (Phase 1) and the rebuilt House of Assembly Complex.
“I am told that these two major roads, which I commissioned, cut through several local government areas of the state. The roads will therefore serve as major stimulants to the local economy of these parts of the state,” the President stated.
President Buhari noted that previous administrations in the state were unable to fix the roads because of their unique and difficult terrains, which were complicated by erosion.
According to him, “it took the sheer determination and courage of the current government to fix these roads. So, I say “Bravo” to the Governor of Imo State, whose name I was informed means “good road”.
“I was also informed that the House of Assembly Complex which I have just commissioned was dilapidated and abandoned for over 10 years before the intervention of the present administration.
“This is equally commendable, because of the importance of the legislative arm of government in the sustenance of democracy. I, therefore, applaud the governor for according due respect to this arm of government which is at the heart of our democracy, “ he said.
President Buhari extoled the Government of Imo state for “the road revolution”, describing it as “infrastructure revolution”.
In his remarks, the Imo State Governor noted that the Owerri/Orlu dual carriage and Owerri/Okigwe road had significant economic value to the state and other neighboring states.
“Each of the projects has a remarkable history. Behind the dualized road has been a nightmare for decades,’’ he said, adding that erosion made the construction more difficult.
Gov. Uzodimma said: “To the glory of God we have found the courage, dedication and means to fix the road. The seemingly intractable challenges have been addressed.’’
The Imo State Governor noted that the renovation of the House of Assembly had made it more befitting for the lawmakers, after it was abandoned for many years.
The Governor thanked President for his interventions to ensure development in the South East, with historic projects, like second Niger Bridge, which would gulp the highest single investment in the zone of more than N360 billion, approval for upgrading of the Federal Medical Centre to a teaching hospital and establishment of a naval base in Oguta, Imo State.
President Muhammadu Buhari has arrived in the southeastern state of Imo to commission some projects by Governor Hope Uzodimma’s administration.
The President arrived at the Sam Mbakwe Cargo Airport at exactly 11 am on Tuesday and was received by Governor Uzodimma and other leaders of the state.
Buhari was also welcomed by a crowd at the airport with most of them comprising men in red caps and white outfits. There were also women in traditional outfits dancing on the tarmac as the President arrived in Imo State.
The four catholic sisters abducted on Sunday at Umulolo community along Okigwe-Enugu Expressway in Imo State have been released.
The sisters identified as Johannes Nwodo, Christabel Echemazu, Liberata Mbamalu, and Benita Agu were said to be on the way to a morning mass when they were kidnapped.
Imo State police spokesman, Michael Abattam who on Wednesday, confirmed their release, said: “The four reverend sisters have been freed. They were released yesterday”.
According to him, the hostages were released “unhurt”, but he refused to reveal if a ransom was paid.
Also, confirming the release of the sisters to the press in Owerri was the Secretary-General of Sisters of Jesus The Saviour (Generalate), Zita Ihedoro,
“Today is a memorable day for us. Therefore, we wish to share this joy with all men and women of goodwill who in one way or the other contributed to the quick and safe release of our dear sisters,” she added.
“We sincerely appreciate and thank you for your prayers and moral support during this difficult moment. May Jesus the Saviour whom we have come to serve, bless, protect and provide for you, especially in times of difficulty.”
The abduction of the Catholic sisters was the latest attack n the southeast where separatist tensions are on the rise.
Gunmen have reportedly killed seven security guards at their duty post within Umuafom autonomous community in Orogwe, Owerri West Local Government Area of Imo State.
According to a source, the attackers operated in a gestapo move, they came in two vehicles and a bike on Monday night and killed the local guards at their duty post at different locations within the area.
Giving more details, the source said a commercial motorcyclist who is presently receiving treatment at the Federal Medical Centre Owerri due to gunshot sustained was said to have ran into the bandits during the operation and while trying to escape he was shot in the leg.
Another victim who is also receiving treatment at the Federal medical center also sustained a machete cut while trying to escape.
This unfortunate incident has caused panic in the area as some residents are temporarily leaving the area for a safer abode for fear of a reprisal attack on villagers, considering the fact that all the seven local guards are non-indigenes of Imo state.
The Imo State police Public relations officer, Michael Abattam has confirmed the attack, he said the incident is under investigation as to unravel the attackers.
Abattam also pleaded with the community to remain calm and not panic as the police will provide adequate security in the area.
He also reminded them of his resolve to hold the Local Government Area election in Imo State any moment from now and the need for him to appoint Sole Administrators who will oversee the coming election.
Governor Uzodimma also told the dissolved IMC Chairmen that his government will not hesitate to engage their services in other areas they are found capable as APC members.
In their response by Chairman of ALGON in Imo State, Mr Willie Okoliogo, who is also the Chairman of Oru West Council, the IMC Chairmen promised to remain loyal to the governor and the APC.