There appears to be no love lost between Governor Hope Uzodinma and the good people of Imo State over which he is governor.It does not take a lot to sense that for a very long time, the people of Imo State will feel aggrieved with the Supreme Court for foisting on them someone they could never have voted for in a million elections even if the court only did what the law dictated and no more.
If Governor Uzodinma recognizes that the gods cracked his nuts by taking him to the Imo State Government House,he does not show it.The touch he brings to his office in Imo State has never lacked for iron or arrogance.
While his detractors argue that he has brought an iron fist to the administration of the state, his supporters say the attacks constantly coming his way is as a result of the fact that he does not shy away from the ocassional tough decision.
A state of insecurity
While the ghosts which haunted Nigeria`s Southeast during the atrocious civil war that raged between 1967–1970 appeared to take a long recess, peace reigned in the Southeast even as conflicts swept other parts of Nigeria
Indeed, the flame that Boko Haram ignited in Borno State at the turn of the decade has since flared into an uncontrollable inferno which has since surged beyond the state and into other states, and is now threatening to incinerate the entire country.
If the Indigenous People of Biafra(IPOB) group had thought that its agitations and activities were in the interests of the Southeast, it has since stood by, watching haplessly as criminal elements have infiltrated it, piling atrocities with each passing day.
Multiple attacks have been carried out in the Southeast to push a region known for its relative peace towards the precipice.
Imo State has been especially hard hit by the troubles in the Southeast.Until recently when Anambra State became the epicenter of the troubles, a lot of the attacks were centered in Imo State with citizens taking as many hits as security forces.
Even before the attacks started, Governor Uzodinma was already hugely unpopular,with many perceiving him to at best be the beneficiary of an opaque judicial verdict that fed from Nigeria`s highly corrupt patronage system.
What one will never know is how much of the attacks happened because Mr. Uzodinma was on seat as Governor, and how many of them were by forces bent on achieving their own goals.
What is clear is that Mr. Uzodinma`s incendiary rhetoric has never helped matters. Neither has his formation of the infamous Ebubeagu security unit which has lurched from one controversy to another since it came into existence.
The voice of Jacob and the hands of Esau
Created at a security summit of April 11, 2021 as a regional security outfit by the five South-east governors to tackle insecurity in the region, Ebubeagu was formally inaugurated by the Ebonyi State Governor Mr. David Nweze Umahi in December last year.
The outfit was no doubt created to ape Amotekun,a similar outfit in the Southwest which was created to counter growing security threats in the region.
With its headquarters in Enugu, it was mandated to coordinate the vigilante in the Southeast and generally improve the security situation in the Southeast.
It appears however that more than anything else, it was the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra group that panicked the South-east governors to the security summit in which Ebubeagu was formed.
With the incarceration of its leader in Abuja, the IPOB had increased the frequency of its attacks in the South-east,threatening and targeting the governors directly.
If today, Ebubeagu in spite of its handful of modest achievements is being fingered for contributing to some of the problems it was created to tackle,it is because many of its members have shown shown that they lack any iota ofprofessionalism.
There have been allegations of atrocities.
On Sunday,July 17, 2022, the lives of seven youths who were returning from to their community in Otulu, Oru East Local Government Area of Imo State from Awomama in neighbouring Oru West Local Government Area were brutally cut short, reportedly by operatives of Ebubeagu
Mr. Uzodinma has since absolved Ebubeagu of any complicity in the murder.Instead, he has blamed the killings which have shocked the entire Southeast on men of the Secret police and the Department of State Services.
Given the gruesome manner in which the young men were killed, no group would want to take responsibility.
What remains indisputable however is that seven young men have been extrajudicially killed. That alone should be enough to attract the strongest consequences possible for whoever was involved.
AMany in the Southeast have called on Governor Uzodinma to resign in the wake of the tragedy while many others have called for the immediate disbandment of the outfit.However, when last did a public officer to resign in Nigeria over a misdemeanour?
Premonitions about state police.
The allegations of impunity constantly levelled against the Ebubeagu security outfit in the Southeast and the fact that many have accused it of a lack of professionalism whatsoever would seem a dress rehearsal for what is to come if state police is introduced in Nigeria.
It does not take claivoryance to see that some unscrupulous governors who already operate like demi- gods will leave no stone unturned in turning their state police into their personal vigilante and vicious attack dogs.One only needs to look at what some state legislatures have become at the hands of some overbearing governors to know that in Nigeria anything is possible.
It however does not mean that in the face of rampaging insecurity, Nigeria should not explore all legal avenues to secure her citizens while getting justice for all those who are ever treated outside what the law prescribes.