By Stanley Uzoaru

Imo State Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), Ray Emeana in this interview spoke on various issues including the recent attack on the spokesperson of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), Ikenga Ugochinyere by gunmen.

The State government has often blamed the opposition party for insecurity in the state but your party is taking the blame back to the government, who is actually right?

It’s a failure of the government to appreciate their responsibilities, first and foremost, protection of lives and properties; it’s like an artisan quarrelling with his tools, how can the chief security officer of a state be there and the opposition is sponsoring insecurity. It’s a clear admission of failure on their part because in the first place, they have all the paraphernalia of government to identify who is behind the insecurity, it’s not what you accuse a person of. It’s a crime if somebody commits a crime, he should be arrested and charged to court. Two things we can deduce from their accusations; one, they want to divert attention, two it’s an admission that they have failed . The governor once said during a stakeholders meeting in 2021 that he would announce those behind insecurity in the state and till now, he has not announced it. We have been in this state for a very long time, after a change of government, there’s a tendency of criminality in the state arising from the fact that during elections, politicians must have to say the truth, arm criminals with weapons for selfish interest for the purpose of rigging election. If elections are over, these same politicians will abandon those criminals with the weapon they have procured for them, so politicians will now be using them for themselves; that’s the trend. Sometimes, the criminals after the election leave the state and sometimes they are arrested and crime would be reduced. But since 2020 when the present administration was sworn in, it has never reduced for one day, it continued to escalate and each time there are criminal activities, the governor without allowing the police to do their job would be the first person to say it’s the opposition. Recall when the prisons was attacked, that place is the most guarded area, it’s in the Government house. It was attacked and the governor said it was the opposition. Saying opposition is responsible for insecurity is like saying opposition is responsible for non- payment of workers’ salaries, that they’re responsible for non-payment of pensioners, that no hospital owned by the state is functional.

The governor has also laid emphasis to one thing that those attacked are members of his party APC, how do you react to this?

Like I said, as a governor, your job is to protect the lives and properties of people in the state. What happened recently justifies what the governor has been saying about insecurity, saying why are they not attacking those who are not in his party. I think he should be happy now that PDP members are being attacked; what is the motives of these attacks, the main reason for these criminality started with the failure of the government. Bureau for statistics has declared Imo as the highest state with number of youth unemployment; when youths are unemployed, what do they do, they become the devils workshop, who are they likely to channel their anger to. It’s likely those they perceive not doing their job, that’s one point you must note. The second is the highpoint criminality occasioned by agitation which has reached a crescendo with this present government. MASSOB, likewise IPOB never attacked anybody until this government came.

In your last press conference you addressed as the secretary of the PDP in the state, you mentioned that the attack on the CUPP spokesperson, Ugochinyere was pre planned, can you buttress on this?

I did not say it was pre planned; I said PDP said that given the incident, that developments that took place there, what happened before that attack appeared that it was pre-mediated that it appeared that the state government was involved.

So what happened before the attack?

What happened before the attack was that the governor has been consistently saying that people attacking people in the state are not attacking PDP. For me that was a call for whoever is responsible for the criminality going on to also attack PDP, that’s one, and before this incident happened, Ugochinyere was never attacked before now till after he exposed the fraud about underage people registering in the governor’s ward. It was after that his convoy was attacked where they stole one of his vehicles carrying a pregnant woman; thereafter an aide to the governor made a phone call to Ugochinyere and threatened that he would deal with him. I’m not the one saying them; these are facts and are in public domain. The witch cried at night and the child dies in the morning; who does not know who killed the child, when you add these developments. Most importantly and most curiously is the statement made by the state governor himself when he said Ugochinyere was attacked according to the governor that he was aware and has made a pact with unknown gunmen two years ago that there should be no election in the South east and after that, he started running for election and that’s why the gunmen came to attack him. What are the deductions from there; one, the governor knew about the attack before it took place; secondly, he knew those who attacked Ugochinyere, thirdly, if he knew and look the other way, he’s complicit; four and most importantly is the fact that a citizen of your state, some gunmen came to his house, attacked him, killed 3 people, the first thing you should do is sympathise even if the person is not your friend and ask security agencies to go into the matter. That’s what he should have done and not begin to chase shadows.

Related News

We learnt PDP has officially reported the matter to the police, what are we expecting?

When this insecurity started, there was need for a thorough stakeholders meeting to find solutions to them. PDP wrote the state government, stakeholders, for us to brainstorm on what to do but the government was not interested. What they were interested in was in opposition. If we are sponsoring insecurity, we would not be advising and finding a solution to it. Beyond that, when the Southeast governors wanted to form Ebubeagu, the State government also formed it and for us in our press statement, we said it was a good thing to do but creating a security outfit like that goes beyond creating it. You must have the appropriate law in place, you must train people. Today, you can’t even say you know who the people are and instead of the crime rate to come down, it continued to escalate, so we’re demanding that Ebubeagu be scrapped. The Federal Government should look at the security architecture in Imo State and those manning it and we’re also saying if the executive governor of Imo State is not capable of becoming the chief security officer of the state, the Federal Government should declare a State of emergency in the state. So that we would know that we have failed; maybe that will solve our problem, nobody is safe in this state again, nobody goes out to fend for themselves, we work now three days in a week. They say it’s sit-at-home, we can’t continue like that, something must be done.

Let’s talk about what’s happening in your party, PDP; the internal wrangling between Emeka Ihedioha and senator Samuel Anyanwu, how true is this?

In every political party, there are differences, a political party is a filter of contest, it’s a place where competitive interests merge. You can never have a political interest being the same all the time,we’re united and working towards same goal. We give everybody the platform to express their interest. PDP does not belong to Emeka Ihedioha or Samuel Anyanwu in Imo State; no, PDP belongs to the people of Imo State and we’re structured from the chapter to the ward, to the Local Government and the state and all our offices and officers are occupied and elected and ratified by the National convention of the party. In fact, it was challenged by some members of the party who dragged the case up to the Supreme court and the supreme court has ruled that the executive of PDP in Imo State is the authentic one and to that extent, there is no faction and there’s nobody claiming what he’s not. By March, we would have our primaries in Imo State and a lot of people are showing interest to contest and they’re going around campaigning. I will agree with you that their interest is heating up the party in Imo State and our duty as a party in the state is to advise and caution that what’s paramount to us is winning elections. Ihedioha has not told us that he’s running for governor likewise Samuel Anyanwu, but there are some fifth columnists within the party who are not actually members of the party, who do not believe in the party, who we know are working for the APC government. Their mission is to distract the party from focusing on the coming elections and give the impression of crisis; we know them but we’re focused. The truth of the matter today is that if election is conducted in this state today, there’s no APC candidate that will get one vote.

When the time comes for who will be the governorship candidate of the party in the state, the aspirants will show and party members would be free to choose whoever they want.

How would you start eulogising the three years in office of the present administration?

If eulogy is to describe the present administration of Governor Hope Uzodimma, that means I don’t know the meaning of eulogy. The only thing to talk about are the woes, grief, agony and torture Imo people have passed through these years. Imo used to be where people from other states come to unwind; today, nobody talks about it; if you’re seriously sick today, there’s no primary health care which is a basic function of local government and states. Are we talking about the civil servants, pensioners, nothing to cheer about.

How about the road network?

What road are you talking about in Imo State; some of them are done halfway. In any case, in this 21st century, should we be talking about roads; government is all about providing the enabling environment for the citizenry to survive. When someone takes a small fraction of the huge money of the state to do one kilometer road, you say they have done roads; they have done nothing.