EMEKA IHEDIOHA, Ex-Governor of Imo State, returned home to Imo State, Thursday, after months of absence in the State, residing in Abuja, after Nigerian Supreme Court, in January 2020, removed him as the elected governor of the State, on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. The judgement by the apex court was widely condemned and adjudged as most controversial, of an apex court of the country.
Vast legal opinion of the supreme court judgement that removed Ihedioha as governor of Imo State, in favour of Hope Uzodima, of All Progress Congress, APC, agreed that the judgement of the apex court, did not equate with legal principle, simple arithmetic of calculation of the figures awarded to Hope Uzodima, which was not in line with Nigeria’s electoral law, but relied on by the justices to give victory to Uzodima. Thereafter, Ihedioha relocated to Abuja.
In March 2020, Ihedioha indicated plans to visit his home, in Imo State, in preparation for PDP ward congress elections. But suspended the move due to what was seen by the authority as untimely visit. It was alleged that his home coming could led to breakdown of law and order, between his PDP followers and supporters, and that of the incumbent governor, Hope Uzodima, of the APC.
Statement by Imo State Police Command Public Relations Officer, PPRO Orlando Godson Ikeokwu, and some Imo State Elder Forum, led by Lemmy Akakem, advised against Ihedioha’s visit at that time, because of the likely security implication.
Ihedioha, in his own statement said, “It has come to my attention that the Imo State Government, issued a statement on my planned visit to Owerri. As most people are well aware, I haven’t visited the state since the Supreme Court judgement of January 14, 2020 and was planning to come for the PDP congresses. While I have in recent weeks elected to stay away from family and friends in Imo, I am not aware that I have been exiled out of the state.
“Unfortunately, the statement by the Imo State government, made several spurious allegations, including that I plan to lead violent protests and import thugs to perpetrate violence. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am not and have never been a violent person. My reputation is that of peace and fair play. I have never propagated or tolerated violence. And I never will,” the statement added.
Thursday, July 30, Ex-Governor Ihedioha, stormed Imo State, and was received by spontaneous crowd. Right from the crowd at the airport, every road and street he drove through, people were seen abandoning their businesses and activities, took to the street to bid him wave of their hands to welcome him. No one was left out. The old and young, all trouped out to welcome him back to Imo State. No evidence of rented crowd.
Political observers and analysts, agreed that the grand reception accorded ex-governor Ihedioha, on his return home, simply illustrates how he has, warmly, won the hearts of the people of Imo State. Though out of government house, the people see him as the “peoples governor”, and indicate a huge challenge for the incumbent governor Hope Uzodime in future elecrions.