Uzodinma Gets Okorocha Arrested as Their Political Rift Worsens

With the Sunday arrest of Senator Rochas Okorocha in Owerri, the Imo State capital, by the police, the festering political acrimony between the former Imo Governor and his successor, Hope Uzodinma, has taken a turn for the worse.

Spokesman for Nigeria Police in the state, Orlando Ikeokwu, who confirmed Okorocha’s arrest says law enforcement agents moved to Akachi Road, Owerri, when they received a distress call that an estate sealed by the state government has been forcibly opened by some men led by the senator.

Ikeokwu adds that the Imo State Command of the Police calmed the situation and invited Okorocha to come and explain why he led the violent entry into the estate after it was sealed by the authorities.

Before now, it has been unthinkable in the state that Okoorocha could be easily arrested without any drama by security agencies. Surprisingly, he was ordered to enter a waiting police Hilux van after he lost his battle to reclaim his wife’s property in the state capital.

Without any form of resistance, Okorocha, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) like his now tormentor-in-chief, Governor Uzodinma, obeyed the police order.

His political allies were obviously shocked after the Owelle’s arrest. The incident appears to be speaking volumes in the flowering nasty politics of Imo state. The power play is likely to throw up some consequences that may be difficult to heal too soon.

Some of Okorocha’s political antagonists are already hailing Governor Uzodinma for cutting what they described as ‘’the arrogant Okoro Hausa to size’’. For them, it is a fitting disgrace to the former governor.

According to them, when the going was good, Okorocha was allegedly, always quick to call in the military to his rescue anytime he found himself in such a situation in the past. They claimed that at the point of his arrest, Okorocha tried speaking Hausa to the officers but the policemen ignored the communication.

Most Igbo people have always seen Okorocha as being more of Hausa than onye Igbo. It is being said that his ability to speak the Hausa language is what bonded him with the northern oligarchs whom he rode on to become wealthy and eventually take a shot at power.

That language also provided an unfettered access to the security agencies to come to his aid at any point in time because the same group controls the security architecture from paramilitary to the core military.

His arrest on Sunday, at the instigation of Governor Uzodinma, the new strong ally of the North, seems to be a culmination of a long underground battle between the senator and the governor.

Though Uzodinma became the governor of the state by a decision of the Supreme Court, some Imolites however, hold the view that he was programmed into office by the North, that is also availing him the security agencies to entrench his hold on the state.

Before his arrest, Okorocha was alleged to have mobilised his political foot soldiers to lay siege on Royal Palm Estate owned by his wife, Nkechi. The Uzodinma administration was allegedly planning to demolish the estate after a widely publicised takeover last Friday.

Commissioner for Lands, Enyinnaya Onuegbu, according to sources, led a team to take over the estate in compliance with directive of the Imo state gazette on the report of the Judicial Commision of Inquiry on recovery of lands and other related matters.

Early this month, the Uzodinma administration also announced the takeover of the Eastern Palm University which Okorocha claims is owned 90 percent by his foundation while a paltry 10 per cent belongs to the government.

The police however, arrived at the estate in the company of two aides to Governor Uzodinma identified as Chinasa Nwaneri and Eric Uwakwe.

Deputy Chief of Staff when Okorocha was governor, Ijeoma Igboanusi, and an ex-commissioner, Lasbrey Okafor-Anyanwu, were also allegedly arrested at the property.

In 2019, over 600 autonomous communities in the state demanded a probe of the former governor over land grabs and acquisition of property through public funds which he later converted to his personal property.

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