Decries State Of Imo Under Uzodinma

The Labour Party in Imo State has unequivocally condemned the arrest and gruesome attack on the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Joe Ajaero by thugs allegedly led by state government agents and operatives of Imo State Police Command yesterday, 1st November, 2023. 

The Imo State Labour Party Chairman, Barr. Calistus Ihejiagwa during a World Press Conference described the assault on the Labour Leader as tyrannical, brutal, hellish and totally unacceptable, adding that atrocious, obnoxious, suppressive and tyrannical occurrences have been synonymous with governor Uzodimma’s administration. 

His words “Presently Imo State under hope uzodinma we are witnessing gross violations of the Constitution with regards to those inalienable fundamental human rights.

“Imo people are also not known for this low level of intolerance, recklessness and brigandage, hence every true citizen of the State especially workers, must condemn this despicable act of desperation of the governor.

“Comrade Ajaero was addressing workers at the NLC Secretaraite when the government thugs swooped on them. They beat him up alongside the General Secretary and the Deputy President of the Dock workers, who reportedly suffered broken arms, while their phones and other valuables were collected from them. 

“They locked him up and when they saw that his health was failing as a result of their merciless beatings and dehumanization, they released him in the evening and some good samaritans rushed him to the hospital where we is being treated.

“The NLC President Comrade Joe Ajaero is currently traumatized and in serious as a result of the despicable and heinous assault on his person.

“Comrade Ajaero’s offence was leading the protest against the wicked anti-labour policies of the state government under the highly intolerant governor Hope Uzodinma.

“It is common knowledge that under his rudderless administration, Imo workers have never had it this bad, as it has become an instrument of coercion and oppression which pauperises the people.

“Rather than focus on developing sustainable policies, programmes and opportunities that elevate as well as provide meaningful living to workers and the people, the governor continues to champion discriminatory, divisive, dictatorial and violent policies that depress and dehumanize workers and citizens.

“For 3 years and 7 months, the workers and pensioners have been denied their salaries and pensions. The governor even designated several workers as ghost workers in order to evade paying them salaries and pension

“Under Uzodinma, Imo State has become the only unenviable state where ghosts report for work everyday and actually do the work in hunger and starvation.

“More so, the Uzodinma administration has reneged on earlier agreements, such as the 2021 accord.

“It is this wickedness that the organised labour NLC and TUC) led by its leaders, Comrade Joe Ajaero and Comrade Nuhu Toro, NLC President and TUC Secretary General respectively decided to protest against by declaring a occupy Imo State to get the attention of the deaf and oppressive government.

“Sadly, instead of attending to the Imo workers’ plights and genuine grievances, Uzodinma let loose his thugs on the helpless workers and brutalised many of them, including the President of the NLC and many national, zonal and States officials of both NLC and TUC, as well as destroying their vehicles.

“Following outcry and threat by the entire national organised labour to declare immediate strike, the police came up with a lame excuse that it only took Comrade Joe Ajaero into protective custody.

“It is laughable to hear the government talk about a court order. One begins to wonder when hope uzodinma began to recognise court orders because despite becoming a a governor through a curious court order, he has never obeyed any court order since he became governor. So, one may ask him what had changed?

“We in Labour Party, join Imolites of good will to condemn the turning of Imo State into a police state since the inception of the hope uzodinma administration. 

“Several Imolites have lost their lives in bloody attacks, which governor hope uzodinma has refused to tackle or is incapable of tackling. 

“The latest arrest of Comrade Ajaero calls to mind the destruction at Ikenga Ugochinyere’s home in Akokwa, Ideato North LGA, the abduction of a seasoned journalist Nonso Nkwa, and several others, including the traditional rulers that have tragically lost their lives in the last three and half years. 

“This has also confirmed fears that the governor’s recent decision to waste taxpayers’ over N5 billion to takeover all the rooms in every hotel in Owerri metropolis for eight days beginning from November 4 to 12 is for nefarious reasons, especially to accommodate the thugs he intends to import into the state for the November 11 election. 

“It is worrisome that security agencies in the State have been compromised and are lackeys of governor hope uzodinma.

“Pictorial evidence of the battering the labour leader received in the hands of security operatives is out in the public sphere for all to see. 

“We believe that President Bola Tinubu and the Inspector General of Police can see the depravity going on in Imo State and dissociate their good offices from the evil being perpetrated by hope uzodinma and the pliant security operatives who are willing to join his army of brigandage and suppression of the people.

“Once again, we cry out and call on President Bola Tinubu to look into the state of affairs in Imo. He should urgently pay attention to what is happening in the state and cause a quick change of guards in the security architecture to ensure that the will of the people is not subverted by one emperor.

“While we congratulate IGP Kayode Egbetokun for his confirmation as the substantive Inspector General of Police, we implore him to exhibit the same sterling qualities that catapulted him to the peak of his career by reining in the Commissioner of Police in Imo State, who has not made any pretensions of doing the bidding of Governor Hope Uzodinma.

“We are crying ourselves hoarse so that the world will hear us and pay attention to what is going on in this state. We invite you newsmen to be diligent and thoroughly professional in your reports. You owe society the duty of investigating and reporting the atrocities going on in this state. 

“Meanwhile, we have it on good authority that contrary to the provisions of the Electoral Act and Electoral Guidelines APC in collaboration with INEC has perfected plans to conduct elections at non-INEC designated elections venues in flash points in ORSU and some parts of ORLU LGAs affected by civil disturbances during the 11th November 2023 scheduled Governorship Elections in Imo State.

“The plan is to hide under the present state of insecurity in Imo State to have elections in areas affected by violence hold at APC’s choice locations. Whereas we are not opposed to any scheme that would have electorates in those areas vote, we are opposed to having elections in those areas hold in such a manner that only APC supporters would be allowed to vote or a manner that would allow APC rigg the election as they did in the February 25th and March 18th general Elections where INEC announced that elections will not hold in ORSU and some parts of ORLU LGAs, yet went ahead to write results in favour of APC whereas no elections held in those areas – in a perfectly planned scheme presently referred to as the “Omuma Magic.”

“We hereby draw the attention of the security agencies, INEC and federal authorities to this unfortunate development and insist that steps must be taken to ensure that nothing is done to scuttle or compromise this all-important election in Imo State.

“We also boldly say that the forthcoming election must be different from the rest. Imolites are determined not to allow election riggers to subvert their will again. They must come out en masse to vote without fear of intimidation and the votes must count.

“If Uzodinma feels he has done well beyond the propaganda, let him face his opponents in a fair contest instead of plotting to destabilise the state by muzzling opposition.

“We urge the international community, the human rights community, civil society groups and election observers to take note. We also plead with the Nigerian government to stop Governor Uzodinma from allowing his desperation for re-election to set the state ablaze beyond the current carnage it has witnessed under his rudderless administration so that the November 11 governorship election and transition to a new government is done in peace.

“We conclude by saying that this November 11th Governorship election does not worth the blood of anybody.

“Labour Party we stand for a free, fair, transparent and credible election, so that a governor will emerge through the ballot boxes and not through Ben Johnson way.

Our eyes are on INEC and security agencies, we pray they will live up to their expectations”.