The phrase “the valley of shadow of death” was made famous by King David the son of Jesse in verse 4 of Psalm 23. Every literate mind can easily decipher the meaning of that phrase when the contest of its usage is examined under a literary microscope . However, one doesn’t need that much stress to understand that the valley of shadow of death implies a place of doom.
Since the Supreme Court foisted Senator Hope Uzodinma on the people of Imo from a distant fourth position in the 2019 guber election, all seems not to be well with the State. Instead of moving forward, the State has been on a reverse gear and auto pilot. Things seem to be going wrong on daily basis due to several unpopular and apparently clueless decisions made by the government. It was the holy book that said when a leader is righteous the people rejoice and when he is wicked the people suffer.
To say that the people of Imo have been suffering since the inception of this administration is an understatement. How can the people rejoice when workers and pensioners are owed several months in arrears, even during festive periods? How can the people be happy when opposition and perceived enemies of the government are hounded and victimized on daily basis?
How can the people be glad when insecurity in the State has escalated to an unprecedented level? Talking about insecurity, political watchers such as a faction of Ohaneze Ndigbo and the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) have blamed Gov Uzodinma for the high rate of insecurity in the State, and every right thinking person may agree with them.
Why is that so? A few months ago when innocent and unarmed civilians in Orlu were reportedly being massacred by soldiers invited by the governor to hunt down members of the Eastern Security Network (ESN) and Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), yours truly was one of the first people to cry out. I insisted that the governor should be held responsible for the innocent lives lost and properties destroyed during the exercise.
I cried out because I believed that no responsible government would permit the extrajudicial and senseless killing of its citizens. When the soldiers were withdrawn, I felt the governor had good intentions, so I praised him for having a listening ear. I never knew that the worst was coming.
Surprisingly, a few weeks after the army returned with aircrafts, armoured vehicles and bombed the town, destroying and wrecking havock. It was at that point it became crystal clear to many political observers that this government was grossly inept. I do not disagree with this position because I also believe that any reasonable government would have treated the IPOB/ESN matter differently.
Some are of the opinion that Gov Uzodinma invited the soldiers that killed his people just to please his paymasters in Aso Rock so he can retain his position. Does it mean that the blood of Imolites will now be used as sacrificial lambs for the governor to retain a seat which many believe he stole from Rt. Hon Emeka Ihedioha? Is it not too much injustice for the very people who were denied their mandate to also be sacrificed to sustain the alleged electoral fraud?
We can no longer deny the fact that the emergence of various agitations in the country such as the Boko Haram sect, bandits, Fulani herders, unknown gunmen, Oodua Peoples Congress, Amotekun, and even IPOB/ESN, were all as a result of failure of government at all levels in the country. Sociologists believe these groups emerged as a result of age long bottled grievances created by misgovernance.
It is believed that when the cause of an agitation is rooted in the socio-polity of a nation, the solution can never be the use of force but dialogue. For instance, the Boko haram insurgency would have been nipped in the bud had the Federal Government applied dialogue instead of force at the nascent stage. It was the killing of it’s founder Mohammed Yusuf by the police that led to members of the group taking up arms against the State.
It is sad to note that the Federal government hasn’t learnt from it’s mistakes as could be seen with the way the order the arrest and even killing of members of IPOB which is not a militant group. Judging from the Boko Haram experience, should anybody be surprised if by tomorrow members of IPOB are compelled to take up arms like Boko Haram?
Most unfortunately, Gov Uzodinma by his inability to learn from the mistakes of the Federal Government has also mismanaged the IPOB/ESN matter. Whereas some northern governors have towed the line of dialoguing with armed bandits, Gov Uzodinma has decided to continue to apply force on members of IPOB/ESN who have not been linked with any case of terrorism.
By so doing he is escalating the security situation in the State as could be witnessed by the incessant attacks on security operatives in various parts of the State by unknown gunmen. The recent attack on the police headquarters and correctional services where about 1,800 prisoners were set free and guns and arms carted away seems to be the climax.
The most important responsibility of government is the safeguard of lives and properties, and where such is no longer guaranteed, the people are exposed like sheep in the midst of wolves. If the unknown gunmen can attack the State police headquarters and correctional services, cart away arms and free prisoners without any iota of resistance, the clear implication is that there is no government in Imo.
Furthermore, instead of convening a meeting of critical stakeholders to chart a course out of this mess for the State, the governor is still compounding the problem by making inflammatory statements. Based on the foregoing, many now believe that Gov Uzodinma is more of a problem than a solution to the State. Consequently, will it be out of place for one to say that Gov Uzodinma is leading Imo State to the valley of shadow of death?
Ekene Bob-Ekechukwu Esq.
Public Affairs Analyst