The embattled former governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, on Monday, criticised his successor, Hope Uzodinma, whom he said was trying to intimidate him and his supporters in the state.

Mr Okorocha, who represents Imo West District in the Senate, clashed with Mr Uzodinma’s aide and some youth on Sunday, over the sealing of a hotel, Royal Spring Palm Hotel, Owerri, belonging to the senator’s wife.

The Imo State Government said the hotel was built in violation of the state’s master plan.

The senator was arrested and detained briefly at the police headquarters in Owerri, after the fracas.

The SUVs and other vehicles in his entourage were badly damaged, while his police orderly had a bloodied face after he was allegedly attacked with a machete.

“I do not know what the governor wants to achieve, but I think he wants to make everyone fear him,” Mr Okorocha told a crowd of supporters, which paid a solidarity visit to him in his residence in Owerri on Monday.

“He (Uzodinma) has also introduced a law through the Imo House of Assembly that empowers him to detain people at will. That law is barbaric and must be condemned.”

It was Mr Okorocha’s first public remark after his Sunday’s encounter with the Imo government officials.

The senator said the ‘attack’ against him on Sunday was led by Mr Uzodinma’s aide on special duties, Chinasa Nwaneri.

He said Mr Uzodinma had pulled down infrastructures, including a hospital, he (Okorocha) built when he was the governor and that the governor was now attacking him and his family.

He claimed Mr Nwaneri and the youth who accompanied the governor’s aide had the backing of the police in the state.

“And the police were there, watching all these things happen, because the police came from the Government House.

“Now, I want the inspector general of police to investigate whether those are policemen or thugs wearing police uniforms. Because I don’t think that any sane policeman would act in the manner they acted yesterday,” Mr Okorocha said.

“As a sitting senator, I have said this: I want Nwaneri (Uzodinma’s aide) arrested and tried, let him come and say why he acted the way he acted by shooting innocent citizens.

“If they don’t arrest Nwaneri, then no police has any justifiable reason to arrest any citizen (in Imo).”

He said Mr Uzodinma was promoting violence in the state and that Sunday’s incident was “a display of criminality in government and thuggery in governance”.

“Governor Hope Uzodinma is going in the wrong direction and he might not end up well.

“I was never a poor man before I became governor.

“I asked my wife to come down and invest in the hotel in order to provide jobs for residents of the state.

“A governor who came through court should know how to respect the rule of the law. We shall resist them.

“Let me remind him, he cannot be judged by the number of people he has locked up, but by the performance he has done for the people.

“Let him build one hospital and we can clap for him, let him build one school and we can clap for him, let him build one road and then we can clap for him,” the senator said.

The Commissioner for Information in Imo State, Declan Emelumba, did not respond to calls and a text message seeking his comment.


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