Socio-cultural group the Ndi Imo Defenders has dismissed calls by opposition parties that Governor Hope Uzodinma should drop his re-election bid for contestants from the Owerri Zone ahead of the November 11 governorship election.
President of the group, Stan Ezugu, said in a press statement on Sunday that such a call is capable of truncating the agreed Imo Charter of Equity among the elders and stakeholders of the state, which stipulates that the governorship of the state will rotate among the three senatorial zones of Orlu, Okigwe and Owerri for eight years each.
The group reminded the candidates that the Imo Elders’ Council, in the policy statement, had urged other contestants for the governorship position in the November 2023 election to allow Uzodimma complete Orlu’s eight-year tenure, after which Owerri will take over for seamless running of the policy.
Mr Ezugu said the Imo State Charter of Equity is a political agreement that aims to ensure fair and balanced representation in the governance of the state. He added that this charter holds significant importance for the state’s political stability, unity, and the overall well-being of its diverse population, and any person or group of persons should not be allowed to truncate the novel policy.
He said that rather than scapegoating Uzodimma, the governor should be commended for supporting the charter, stating that it was the best declaration considering that such an arrangement had eluded the state for several years.
“The Imo State Charter of Equity plays a crucial role in promoting fairness, unity, stability, and development within the state. By adhering to the principles of the charter, Imo State can harness the collective potential of its diverse population and work towards a more prosperous and harmonious future, and we strongly believe the potential this policy holds should not be allowed to be eroded by the greed of a group of people who don’t value the prosperity of Ndi Imo.
“The charter has provided a clear part for stability; the governor has stated clearly that he is committed to this arrangement, and that is why you will not see any candidate from the Orlu zone contesting for the governorship in 2027. It has been agreed that it will be the turn of the Owerri zone. The process will be streamlined so that the contest will be limited to a particular zone and political parties will only need to produce their candidates from that zone, and we are not going to have this rancour and lamentation of marginalisation again. This is an arrangement that should have been put in place a long time ago, and we have to commend Governor Uzodinma for endorsing the initiative by the Elders Council,” he said.
The group has also said Governor Uzodimma’s administration has not shown any form of lopsidedness in the appointments and distribution of developmental amenities such as health, education, and road infrastructure, among others.
“Uzodimma has pursued his shared prosperity agenda with vigour and equity; we have seen his signature all over the state in terms of infrastructure and project distribution. He cannot be seen to have favoured one zone ahead of others, not only in terms of projects but appointments too,” he said.