By Collins Opurozor
The conflagration of insecurity has continued to rage in Imo State. In the last twenty-four hours, unsavoury reports have kept emanating from all corners of the State. From the inferno in Okigwe to the bloodbath in Ehime; from the pyromancy in Ama Hausa to the armed robberies at Akwakuma and Ohii Junctions, one question that keeps agitating the minds of Imo people remains: Where is our supposed governor?
Reports have it that Uzodinma is somewhere in Abuja, hiding among a group of women known as Nigerian Army Officers’ Wives Association (NAOWA) at Mambilla Barracks. It was further reported that he has been pledging to support efforts of the women “geared towards improving the well-being of the families and wives of the gallant officers who stops (sic) at nothing to keep us safe and protect our territorial integrity”.
If these reports were anything to go by, Imo is really in one almighty catastrophe. How could a governor, with the mandate to protect the lives and property of the people, abscond to a faraway land in the face of a calamity which is wont to consume his state? Which governor will prioritize skirting around a group of women in Abuja over and above the safety of his people? If actually Uzodinma is in Abuja, safely hidden in Army barracks, history will not be kind to him.
On the authority of other reports, Uzodinma is said to be locked up in a cozy suite in Abuja in preparation for the inauguration of a senator-elect he has been battling to foist on Imo North. If what matters most to a governor at this moment of collective misery and mass despair is to junket about and throw lavish parties in distant climes, Uzodinma has become the most modern reincarnation of the fifth emperor of Rome, Claudius Nero, who fiddled while Rome burnt.
In July of 64 AD, a great fire ravaged Rome for six days, destroying seventy percent of the city and leaving half its population homeless. Rome’s emperor at the time, the decadent, cruel, vain, immoral, obscene, anti-Christian and unpopular Nero, was caught fiddling while Rome was on fire. The expression has a double meaning: Not only did Nero play music while his people suffered, but he was an ineffectual, fun-seeking, pleasure-loving, beer-guzzling, hemp-smoking leader in a time of great crisis.
Granted that insecurity has obtained in parts of the country, many other governors have remained in their states and have remained resolute, never resting in their oars and ever seeking out ways to stem the tide. We see that in Benue, with Samuel Ortom creating livestock guards and enforcing anti-open grazing legislations religiously. We see that Enugu, with Ifeanyi Ugwianyi creating forest guards, neighborhood watches and energizing security operatives. We see governors who are upfront with their people, building broad-based consensus and stakeholding to restore peace and normalcy to their lands.
But in Imo State, not a word has been heard from Uzodinma. Even when he spoke in Abuja a long time ago, it was to make incendiary remarks and take personal credit for the military operations and airstrikes in Orlu, thereby pitting the entire state against the “Unknown Gunmen”. Now that the fire is on, Uzodinma should immediately be smoked out from wherever he is finding comfort in Abuja to return home and save his people.