|Sunday, June 2, 2019|
hen the news broke out of the demolition of Akachi statue and some fingers were pointing at the direction of IMO State Government, some well meaning Nigerians did not hesitate to absolve the recently inaugurated Emeka Ihedioha government of culpability. One reason that informed the action is that a right thinking man would not expect a government that is less than two days to engage in vendetta, even if vendetta was necessary in the first place. The number two reason is that the government is was expectedly on a corrective mission after what Imolites allegedly suffered in the hands of the immediate past governor of the state, Owelle Rocha's Okorocha.
Unfortunately, the damage control presented by the governor through a press release by the special adviser to the governor on media, Steve Osuji, heightened suspicions that the hands of the state government may not be far from the deeds.
For proper appreciation of the situation, it is deemed necessary to publish verbatim the position of the government on the issue:"Contrary to reports emanating from Owerri, the Government of Imo State has no hand in the pulling down of the gargantuan Akachi statue near Aba Road, Owerri. In the same vein, government seizes this opportunity to warn Imo people to desist from unruly behavior and remain law abiding as anyone caught breaking the law would be prosecuted. The security agencies have been put on alert to maintain law and order across the state.
"At about noon on Thursday, a mammoth crowd had besieged the Akachi statue hacking at it and trying to pull it down, apparently acting in pent up anger.
"According to reports, Imo people seem to have nursed a loathing for the statue right from the beginning, considering it a monument that portends ominous auguries for the people of the state.
"Another version suggests that the contractors who have been working rather endlessly around the statue for some time but who may have not been paid, may be responsible for the breaching of the giant statue.
"It needs to be reiterated that the Imo State government under Governor Emeka Ihedioha has no hand in the attempt to pull down the Akachi statue. If government deems it necessary to pull down the statue or any structure for that matter, it would be done properly and in accordance with the law.
"Does it stand to reason that a government that is barely 24 hours old, with no handover notes whatsoever and without an office to work from yet would concern itself with an ordinary statue? Let it be known that the new government in Imo State has its eyes set on nobler goals which includes fast-tracking the rebuilding of Imo State.
"It is interesting to note that the Akachi statue is a massive monument of a hand pointing heavenwards and rising about 50 feet into the atmosphere. Not many in Imo quite understand the significance, if any or importance of the Akachi statue, one of the baleful (threatening harm or evil )legacies of out-gone governor, Rochas Okorocha".
Earlier, there were direct accusations by the media on Imo State Government of culpability on the demolition of the statue,and the reports glaringly opposed the position of the state government. The government did not deem it necessary to put straight the accusations leveled on it by the media.
One of the reports read :" On Thursday began the demolition of Akachi monument, which was built by the immediate past governor, Rochas Okorocha.
"However, while the earth-moving equipment deployed by the government was demolishing the monument, military operatives numbering over 25 came and chased the workers away.
"The military men who barricaded the environment as of the time of filing this report, resisted people who had come to catch a glimpse of the demolition from gaining access to the place.
"The development caused a rowdy scene in and around the place.
"The soldiers also stopped people from taking photographs of the scene".
The defence by the government is glaringly weak and smacks of suspicions. If the motive is to divert people's suspicion, it as done the opposite and only succeeded raising some posers. Why would it take the concerned Imolites who are disenchanted with the monument the exit of Okorocha to demolish the statue. I believe that their anger could have been better registered when Okorocha had not vacated office. The action now amounts to"crying over spilled milk".The same question goes to the contractors: why would they chose when the person who contracted them had vacated office before they struck? The release could have saved issues if it hadn't explored these slippery areas.This defence is took weak is capable of reversing initial positions of right thinking men who had earlier absolved government of culpability in the incident.