The visit of President Goodluck Jonathan to Imo State today has pitched the Peopleâ€™s Democratic Party (PDP) against Governor Rochas Okorochaâ€™s government of the All Progressives Congress (APC) each other over performance of the President in the state.
While the PDP claims that the Jonathanâ€™s administration had done much for the people of the state in tangible projects, including appointments of citizens to key positions, Imo State government dismissed the claim as a fluke, stating that his visit was politically motivated to spite his government.
Addressing Journalists yesterday at the partyâ€™s secretariat, Chairman of the Central Organising Committee of Mr. Presidentâ€™s visit, Senator Hope Uzodimma noted that the visit was monumental to the state in that, hosting Mr. President was a privilege that marks the importance of the state.
According to him, the visit would usher in a new phase in the history of the party as all the political big wigs that left the party, including former Governor AchikeUdenwa, Senators Ifeanyi Araraume and Chris Anyanwu, and Dr. Alex Obi as well as many other prominent politicians in the state.
â€œLet me emphasize that we want to use the occasion of this rally to make a bold, loud and clear statement that Imo state PDP is now one strong, united, reliable and unassailable family and that the visit kick starts our unstoppable march to victory in 2015â€, Uzodimma said.
He admitted that the tune for the change had already been set by the able leadership of President Jonathan, saying â€œas you must be aware, despite the highly regrettable mistakes of 2011, Imo state has continued to profit enormously from the administration of President Jonathan.
â€œYou will agree with me that there is no gain saying the fact that in terms of infrastructural development, Imo has benefited quite a lot from the present government. With respect to roads, we can boast of federal government funded major dual carriage ways that are currently under construction in the state. They include Owerri-Aba dual carriage way, Owerri-Umuahia dual carriage way and Owerri-Port Harcourt dual way. The Imo Airport has been transformed into a truly International Cargo Airport, etcâ€, he said.
Reacting to the proposed visit, Imo State government denied being officially informed of the visit of President Jonathan, except that the PDP in the state applied for the use of the Dan Anyiam Stadium for purposes that was not disclosed to government.
In a release signed by the Special Assistant to the governor on Media, Sam Onwuemeodo â€œthe attention of the Imo State government has been drawn to the scheduled visit of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Jonathan to Imo State on Saturday 22nd February, 2014.Part of the information is also that the president is coming to the state to receive two or three indigenes of the state that had left Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, some years ago, back to the party.
â€œWhatever is the reason for the presidentâ€™s scheduled visit to the state on Saturday is not the concern of the state government, rather, the worry of the state government is that, the President of the largest country in Africa and one of the largest in the world, is visiting the state and nobody has cared to officially inform the Executive Governor of the state, who is also by protocol, the chief security officer of the state.
â€œThe PDP in the state had applied to the state government for approval to be given the state owned stadium for their rally which the government did not waste time to approve for the party. But the PDP in the state did not disclose that they needed the stadium to receive Mr. President to enable the state government give them a more comfortable place like the Heroes Square or the Freedom Square, all of them being of International standard.
â€œHowever, since the President is the president of all Nigerians including Imo people, the governor has directed that the stadium be given a face lift for the reception of Mr. President. The governor has also called on citizens of the state to accord Mr. President a very warm reception befitting of his office.
â€œThe governor however regretted that the Imo State Chapter of the PDP could not separate the office of the president from their party rally. Receiving Mr President and making him comfortable will not in any way stop him from receiving the PDP returnees.
â€œThe governor advises the PDP people to stop disgracing the country and making mockery of our democracy by their actions, otherwise they would have known that the president coming to the state would first be a state business before other activities could come, including political party activity.
â€œThe governor also urged the PDP chieftains in the state who had fed Mr. President lies with events in the state in recent time to do the state a favour, by taking Mr. President round, even within the state capital only to see the glaring transformation that has taken place in the state in less than three years of his administration.
However, the government and good people of Imo State wish Mr. President a hitch-free trip, thro and fro Imo Stateâ€, the statement conclude.