By EDISON Okereke
A group, a non political organization; Imo State Council of Elders, Wednesday in Owerri, the state capital, called on the political opponents and detractors of the Governor, Chief Emeka Ihedioha, to allow peace to reign. They therefore pledged their support for his administration.
They urged anybody who is aggrieved by the Governor’s electoral victory not to heat up the polity but to channel his grievances through the courts.
“We’re praying to the Imo people: let us all come together to support the Governor to do what he can do -when he starts going wrong we’ll be critical of him too.”
They made these known to journalists in Owerri after arising from a meeting that saw many of them in attendance, at NIIT building, off Item Street.
According to them, “We want to appeal to the people of the state to let peace reign for the period of Ihedioha’s administration.
The Chiarman, Barr. Francis Dike (SAN), who made the group’s position known to news men lamented the frastructural decay and economic quagmire that enveloped the state in the past administration for uninterrupted eight years.
“We don’t have hospitals. We don’t have schools. Workers could not afford money for their medical bills. You go to the streets you found out the structures collapsing. Everything was like a quicksand. We don’t want to be critical about the immediate past administration in the state…We’re not doing any favouratism. We’re Elders….”
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria, therefore, urged any person with a grievance or grudge to vent it through a legal means and avoid heating up the polity.
He warned of the consequences of whipping up sentiments against the administration, saying if the right processes are followed in addressing the grievances whoever emerges governor will still get the group’s support.
“So we’ve passed a resolution here to say that we’re urging the people of Imo State to try to, while pursuing their grievances, they should do it through the legal means. We’re saying also to the generality of the people after all those who are in court are not up to twenty people. The other millions if there is conflict they carry the brunt. It is their children that will suffer. If you’re driving along the road now and you break your vein you can die because of lack of treatment.”
Continuing, the Elders pointed out “We would want to appeal to people of the state let peace rule for the period.
“We know that in every election somebody must win. And we know the fact that there is a victor, there is also somebody who is defeated. He might not be very happy. He is entitled to vent his anger.
“We must know that an electoral right is a statutory right. It is not a common law right….”
Adding his voice, the first former Military Administrator of Delta State, Air Commodore Luke Ochulo, corroborated Barr. Dikke’s statement.
“We said that we are aware that some people are trying to foment trouble in the state. And that the Elders supported the emergence of the present Government of the state before and during the election. Therefore, the Elders believe that we have a Governor. And since we have a Governor he should be given the opportunity to run the state. When he goes wrong the Elders will call him to order.”
The council’s membership is drawn from all walks of life across the twenty-seven local governments of the state, including the secretary, Barr. Paschal Egbujuo; a former Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Maxwell Duru, among others.