Hope Uzodimma, the governor of Imo State, on Tuesday, December 7, 2021, lamented that the inmates that escaped from the Owerri Correctional Center some months ago as a result of jailbreak are on the rampage, compounding the security challenges in the state.
Consequently, Governor Uzodimma has pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari to come to the aid of the state by providing funds to him to tackle the security challenges.
The governor, who met with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, told State House correspondents that his mission at the nation’s seat of power was to ask the president for financial support to tackle insecurity in the southeast.
He said prisoners who escaped from the Owerri Correctional Center have compounded the security situation in the state as they have continued to cause havoc.
According to him, “I gave Mr President my message and Mr President also, in his usual manner, addressed the issues to my satisfaction.
“Prominent among the issues is just the increasing insecurity in the Southeast. I know that despite the activities of the bandits and unknown gunmen, recall that the correctional facility in Owerri was broken and over 1,836 inmates were released.
“Since that time, they’ve been on a rampage, committing all sorts of crimes; kidnapping, robbery, and other sorts of crimes in the state, and there is need for us to really clean up the state because you know that this period of Christmas.
“It is so important to our people and we want to ensure that those coming home to spend their Christmas will have a conducive atmosphere to enjoy their Christmas and then celebrate the season.
“Yes, we asked for support with additional manpower and also I asked for some kind of funding to support the security situation in Imo state and Mr President graciously approved.”
Uzodimma, who was chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Anambra State Campaign Council in the November 6 governorship election also said that the national leadership of the party and its candidate, Dr Andy Ubah, are to decide whether or not to challenge in court the declaration of Prof. Charles Soludo as the winner of the election.
He said the fact that the president had already congratulated Soludo will have no bearing on the decision.
He said that President Buhari congratulated the candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, as the father of the nation and also because Soludo was the one declared winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
The governor dismissed assertions that the ruling APC may not be voted back to power because of the prevailing economic and security situations in the country.
He enthused that many people are joining APC because Nigerians are happy that President Buhari is performing well.
He said the mood of the country is that the president is doing very well and the mood of the country is that APC gave the peculiarities of the times.
Asked whether the APC will go to court as indicated by its governorship candidate in the November 6 election, Senator Uba despite the president’s message of congratulations to Soludo, Uzodinma said: “Andy Ubah’s going to court or not going to court has nothing to do with Mr President. congratulating somebody, whom INEC has declared winner of the election.
“Of course, he is president of all, he’s not the president of one political party, he’s the president of all political parties and the president of all the candidates in that election.
“Of course, in every contest, a winner must emerge and in the wisdom of INEC and to the best of their ability, they’ve declared the results of the election.
“The same Electoral Act that allows INEC to declare results of an election, also allows aggrieved candidates to seek for redress in court if they so desire.
“But every other thing will be the decision taken by the candidate and the party. I’m not the party, I’m not the chairman of the party, I’m not the leader of the party, I just did an assignment as the chairman of the campaign committee.”
The governor said he explained the Anambra election outcome to the president in his capacity as the chairman of the campaign council, adding: “Anambra election, of course, you know the election has come and gone and other things may be post-election activities.
“Of course, I was able to explain to the president, how we tried in the election, we campaigned very rigorously and we also converted a lot of people to APC.
“The election was greeted by voter apathy and a high level of insecurity in Anambra and the turnout was very low.
“Other decisions or positions will be taken by the leadership of the party, I’ve done mine as the chairman of the campaign committee.”
On whether the APC can retain power because of the situation of the country, Governor Uzodinma stated: “What is the prevailing (situation) that will make APC not to win? Is it prevailing that you are not aware that the president is of the APC extraction? Is it that you don’t know that 22 states in the country belong to APC? Is it that you don’t know that APC has the majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives? Is that you don’t know that out of the 774 local governments in the country that the APC is controlling the majority? Have you not seen the number of people decamping into the APC?
“The mood of the country is that the president is doing very well and the mood of the country is that APC, given the peculiarity of this time, where insecurity has taken over the globe, where COVID-19 has ravaged every place in the world, from one variant to another variant, yet we are able to come out from recession.
“The way the Central Bank has managed to see that we are still afloat, the way all the intervention policies of the government, including the stimulus package, rolled out by this government, to ensure that the negative impacts of COVID-19 are not grievous on our people.
“So, I’m very confident, I’m a proud member of the APC and I think we’ll do our best to ensure that the confidence reposed in the party by Nigerians is not betrayed.”