Indications have emerged following a recent high level meeting at the presidency with a multinational Risk and Crisis Assessment Group (RCAG), that President Muhammad Buhari may have decided to distance himself from the Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma, concerned that continued association with him during his ongoing Governorship case at the Supreme Court, is proving too costly for the administration.
The global reaction and scrutiny emanating from the case is undermining recent efforts of the government to shore up the economy and national security.
It could be recalled that the Supreme Court of Nigeria on January 14, 2020, annulled the election of then, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governor, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha of Imo State and replaced him with Senator Hope Uzodinma, of the All Progressive Congress (APC).
It has been speculated that the controversial decision by the Supreme Court, which has generated global backlash was influenced by President Buhari.
Our source who was present at the meeting, but wish to be anonymous, revealed that it was made clear to the presidency that their continued public association with Senator Uzodinma, who had been indicted by a Presidential Task Force on fraud and also currently has a bench warrant for his arrest for issuance of N200 million naira dud cheque amongst other criminal infractions, would dent the administrations anti-corruption credibility.
They also counseled the Buhari administration, that the ongoing review of the Ihedioha Vs Uzodinma case, by the Supreme Court is a ticking time bomb, which if not properly resolved to reflect the will of the Imo State electorate. could be interpreted as human rights violation as well as violation of the right of electorate to determine who governs them.
It potentially could mushroom into a much bigger crisis capable of destabilizing the West-Africa sub-region. Consequently, these could impact the recent deals signed in Washington DC to release $308 million of former dictator Sani Abacha’s loot to Nigeria, $40 million in humanitarian assistance and the sale of $500 million 12 U.S.-made A-29 aircraft, all of which were predicated on Nigeria respecting human rights as enshrined in her constitution and other international charters they are signatory.
The US RCAG representative in the group elucidated further, that any destabilization would seriously dampen investment by US companies in Nigeria, valued at over $1 billion in 2018 alone, created over 18,000 jobs and indirectly supporting 3 million others. Our source said in summary “they acknowledged that he was becoming too toxic and costly for them and will dump him”
Pressure is also being mounted by Imo State indigenes in the diaspora under the aegis of a New York based organization with global affiliates- Imo Diaspora Coalition for Justice and Democracy. In a recent statement with Professor Eddie Oparaoji and Mr Chijike Ndukwu, as contact persons, it canvassed for reversal and reinstatement of the removed Governnor Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha.
Exerpts of the statement read: “…Under such climate, in a country where corruption is endemic, this lack of recognition of a statutory controlling authority to authenticate documents, may cause distrust of official Nigerian documents, collapse investors’ confidence, crater Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), Diaspora remittances and consequently skyrocketing joblessness, crimes and insecurity.
“To, therefore, prevent any lasting effect of this miscarriage of justice by Nigeria’s Supreme Court we are calling on people of good conscience to call on the Court to immediately reconvene, and re “DO THE MATH” and restore the peoples duly elected popular Governor of Imo State, Rt Hon. Emeka Ihedioha!”
“Failure to effect reversal would leave us no option but to aggressively canvass for a wide ranging punitive economic sanctions and Visa ban, on the Supreme Court justices, top officials of the ruling All Progressive Congress, and members of their families.”