–      Party decries action

Following directives and orders issued by the Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma, a government task force recently stormed the state secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) along Okigwe road Owerri to recover with immediate effect two vehicles allegedly donated to the party by the recently sacked government of Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha.

The two impounded vehicles which are property of Imo state government include one JAC Truck attached to the office of the party Chairman and one Innoson Truck assigned to the office of the part Secretary.

A statement from the PDP described the recent government action as “another evidence of increasing deliberate resolve by the current regime to deal ruthlessly with Imo PDP” and wondered where such actions will lead the government and state as time progresses”.  

The statement signed by the acting Publicity Secretary of PDP, Mr Ogubundu Nwadike,  noted that, “it will go down on record that this is the first in the history of politics in Imo State, at least since 1999, that vehicles donated to a political party by a previous government will be withdrawn by a new regime”. He views the withdrawal of the Imo PDP vehicles by government as an unfortunate precedence in the annals of Imo politics.

Until this official withdrawal of the vehicles, they were property of Imo PDP assigned to the State Chairman, Chief Martins Ejiogu and the State Secretary, Nze Ray Emeana.

According to the PDP statement, the instruction for the withdrawal of the vehicles were communicated to Imo PDP leaders with two separate official letters to the effect addressed to the two officers in their individual official capacity in the party.

The unedited text of the letter of withdrawal read thus; “Return of no JAC Truck belonging to Imo State government back to the transport officer Government House, Owerri.” 

The release further stated,”after receiving the vehicles, the Taskforce leader’s handwritten acknowledgement read thus; “This is to acknowledge the fact that 1 No JAC Truck; has been recovered from Chief Martin Ejiogu of PDP Imo State by the Transport Unit of Imo State Govt. House; this day the 9th of June, 2020. It was signed by the Transport Officer as “T.O” Government House for Special Adviser on Security”.

It is necessary to note that the wordings above on the withdrawal letter and acknowledgement by the Transport Officer to the State Chairman was word-for-word same for the State Secretary. The only difference being that where “JAC” was written on the letter to the state chairman, “Innoson” was written on the letter to the State Secretary.

It may be recalled that between May 29, 2019 and January 14, 2020 when Imo PDP was in power, there was no time the Rebuild Imo administration withdrew any vehicle that its predecessor, the rescue mission regime of Okorocha, gave to All Progressives Congress (APC) in the State. The normal practice is for vehicles donated to a party by the government at any point in time to remain the property of the party.

However, the state government has since corrected the impression that the vehicles were donated to the party leadership by the sacked administration of Emeka Ihedioha. Instead a Government House Owerri release claimed that the two chieftains of the party, Martin Ejiogu and Ray Emeana, instead of returning their official vehicles as Chairman Land Use and Allocation Committee and member of Board respectively, clandestinely averted the vehicles to personal use as party executives to make it look like they were official gifts from government.