The Political Scene

Eke Ụtụtụ Market’s Four-stalls Demolition Brouhaha: Akọruo, Egeruo

For my non Igbo readers, “AKỌRUO, EGERUO” is an Igbo adage. It connotes the fact that no gist suffices in its details without a complete version of the entire narrative. In Pigeon tongue, “Na fire make crayfish bend”! But, perhaps, what summarizes the whole episode remains the Newton’s law of motion, to wit:. “To every action, there is equal and opposite reaction”. But if someone who was not present when a corpse was buried is asked to exhume the corpse, he might start from the wrong side of the feet. Another Igbo adage.

Eke Ụtụtụ market is one very renowned indigenous market that, all my life, I have known. The market is located in the present-day Orsu Local Government Area, within the precincts of Orsu Ihitteukwa ancient community. The cultural cum legendary status of Eke Ụtụtụ market can well be compared with any prestigious and historical native commercial center in Igboland. You can not quantify the economic relevance of the market to the natives and even to people of the nearby Anambra neighborhood axis of the area. Yes, the nucleus of the Igboman’s commercial and industrial expertise can be traced to such native trade centres that are scattered in Igboland. It is a known fact that the Igbos are geniuses in commerce and industry. Suffice it to state that Eke Ụtụtụ embodies all the entire values typical of all the aforesaid treasured legacies.

For a better part of the last three years, so much has been witnessed particularly in the hinterland Orsu Ihitteukwa area in special peculiar significance.

Recalling the mayhems that have been recorded in that locality vis-a-vis the special acclaim of a market as special as Eke Ụtụtụ can cause so much to the readers’ psyche. I choose rather to be philosophical and economical with the details. Gruesome murders. Kidnappings. Armed robberies. Et cetera. You can just name them. One of the worst and the most incredible extremes that criminalities in the area have recorded was CANNIBALISM. Human flesh of innocent people were roasted and eaten brazenly and without any qualms. These things do not represent the Igboman. This is not us. Such things are taboos culturally and traditionally.

When the now-receding calamities of the Unknown Gunmen saga began, many of us were not silent. I remember doing a number of written articles condemning the radicalization of our youths. I recall foretelling that there would not be any gain in all the brazen criminal effrontry being exhibited in our State and region. A segment of our society was thrilled, clapping and applauding the rampant incidences of the crimes because it suited their political agitations against Gov Hope Uzodimma. Yes, there was the invincibility gist about the culprits. “Odeshi! Bullets don’t penetrate their bodies. They can sack the Army at Obinze. ….” All those gibberish jaggons were said.

I cited the Zaki Ibiam and Udi episodes to remind us how the killing in coldblood of military and police officers on duty could end up becoming. I even lost a Cousin – a Military Sergeant (Late Sgt Udoka Mbachu, RIP) who’d fought at Sambisa Forest in far away North but was felled by the bullets of his kinsmen at Ukworji, Onitsha road, here in Imo State. I talked ceaselessly about collateral damages. I begged my brothers to beware of their indulgences. OmG. I weep for what has now become of so many of our youths in the whole facade of a senseless armed agitation that I am struggling with myself to know what truly were/are the goals. I was wondering how the whole saga would span out. Yes, I was worried too for these my brothers, for what I still can’t fathom were the prospects for which they were/are being hypnotized. How could anybody take a war to his own homestead? How could one risk the psychological, economic, social and physical onslaughts as a result of one’s armed struggles, on our teeming aged parents, grandparents, wives and children? And to think of it that those who are brainwashing our youths live comfortably in far-away foreign lands and only use the radio waves and the internet to wreck these havocs? We all suddenly became dumb-brains, even the educated ones amongst us? Chaiiiiii!

Infact, with the Zaki Ibiam and Udi experiences, I am truly amazed how the Chief Security Officer and Governor, HE Dist Sen Hope Uzodimma has been able to manage the Army , the DSS, the Police, the Civil Defense forces and even the Fire Service officers, all of which had suffered enormous losses in their personnel here in Imo State. I marvel at the dexterity, the consistent consultations with all the key Stakeholders in the Imo Project and of course the rare courage as well as firm precision in the effort to right the wrongs. And the Government has also succeeded in unprecedented manner in doling out curtain-cutting milestones in infrastructure in the same time of our greatest distress? Vision is at work here. Focus is the answer. Courage and forthrightness are playing out big-time.
Yes, the Opposition elements cashed in on the precarious Security challenges in our State full-time. Barr Uche Onyeagọcha led their charge. He would be on the radio/TV waves inciting and being the “most sympathetic” earliest mourner only when suspected assailants of our collective peace suffer casualties. He won’t say any words of similar potency in condemnation when innocent citizens, the Soldiers, the DSS, the Police, the Civil Defense and even the Fire Service officers are killed. No. It is on record that Imo PDP has never condemned any criminal or insecurity-related activities including even the jailbreak. In Onyeagọcha’s desperate calculations, with the serious social discontentment due to the presence of some remedial military/DSS/Police/Ebubeagu in the hinterland areas to curb what had robbed Imo State of peace, it is convenient for PDP, his Party, to lash out on the brutalized psyches of the people and in the coming elections, turn the table against the APC that according to him, grabbed power from them in 2020. One wonders, did they (through Emeka Ihedioha) truly win the election? And you could hear him re-echoing the Orlu Catholic Bishop’s induced deceit to the effect that Eke Ụtụtụ should not be cleared of criminal activities forasmuch as that involved collateral losses.

Back to Eke Ụtụtụ saga, let’s be dispassionate please.
How could the market of the afore-said height in our treasured historical and cultural heritage now become a den of criminal activities including being the place for the making of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs)? What if these explosives let go on a typical Eke Ụtụtụ day? But wait o! What guaranteed the choice of Eke Ụtụtụ axis over and above Afara Ibeku area as a Federal Headquarter Camp for Unknown Gunmen? Why did they choose a densely populated area with the treasured historical values of Eke Ụtụtụ for the production factory of their Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs)? They needed human shields? Oh, are we still the same Igbos who treasure lives? And in Orsu Ihitteukwa, we seem to have forgotten also that not even the anointed Priest and Principal of Trinity Anglican College, Rev Emeka Mmerenu, was spared. He was shot and killed for opening his school gate against the “Supreme Order of Sit-At-Home” for Orsu Ihitteukwa children to sit for their Waec Examination in the Mission School last year or so. “Touch not my anointed and do my Prophets no harm” remains God’s instructions to us all. Did they obey God?

Do we even remember that having killed a serving Nigerian Major and fatally injured some, that the Military were supposed, if not for our Governor, to have reacted as in the cases of Zaki Ibiam and Udi of our contemporary democratic histories?
Why did the Political Opposition hype the entire gist from the true picture of the targeted four-shops’ demolition focus of the Joint Security Clearance Operation to the fallacious demolition of the ENTIRE Eke Ụtụtụ market with a tall-tale also of multiple lives lost in the operation that never cost a single innocent life, except that of the Army Major who died as a result of the explosion of the IED in the cleared section of the historic market? Now, another military brass is in life support at FMC Owerri as a result of the same Ogbunigwe Factory located at Eke Ụtụtụ!

Which Government would allow non-State actors impose illegal taxes on its citizens within its territories and agree that its citizens continue to live under the fear of subjection to banditry and other related crimes? Perhaps, the Barr Uche Onyeagọcha’s Imo PDP’s? What else is mischievousness?

The bane of our present-day badly played Opposition Politics is the compromise of our elites in the face of the fiercest challenges of crimes, criminalities and criminals. Our good testimony is that there is a determined Government that is completely committed to the overall wellbeing of our people and who has spared no cost to ensure that Security of lives and properties is not only ensured but enforced. That’s exactly what Gov Hope Uzodimma stands for.

But, posterity shall be the truest Judge of all men. The opposition political actors of today and their compromises in the face of all the orchestrated insecurity problems shall have their true roles assessed by posterity. How only APC members and Ward Executives are being killed brazenly and selectively in Imo State, tomorrow shall tell and God will reward everybody. RIP Madam Ironii 😭 and so many others.

Yes, most times, the right decisions for tomorrow made today, may hurt presently but the genuineness of such decisions still takes its positive impacts beyond the present day and leaves its bountiful benefits on the lips of all.


© Stanford Arinze Nwokedi
SSA(Gov) Public Enlightenment

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