Senator Hope Uzodinma, representing Imo West, spoke to a “town hall” meeting of Imo State indigenes living in the United Kingdom at the Marriott Hotel in London’s Maida Vale yesterday.
Sources close to Uzodinma claimed that the event was the first in a series of approaches aimed at “sensitising” Imo voters in preparation for a governorship bid in 2019.
The senator spoke about several projects he had delivered and his “stewardship” over the last five years and there was a video presentation, with glossy brochures handed out to attendees.
Uzodinma said that he had held discussions with President Muhammadu Buhari on how to address various crises across the country from Biafran agitation to violence from the Niger Delta Avengers. He informed the president that such agitation could not be suppressed through violence. In his view, “restructuring” of Nigeria was the way forward, with more powers for the states, allowing them to control their resources, and making them less dependent on the centre. A weaker centre and stronger states would, according to Uzodinma, help quell the separatist urges in some regions of Nigeria.
He also suggested that Igbos were better off in Nigeria than going it alone in a new country of Biafra because their entrepreneurial spirit meant that they needed the bigger space provided by Nigeria as a market for their goods and services and that Biafra would be too small.
It wasn’t quite clear why Uzodinma thought it was necessary to bring his “Hope roadshow” to London and whether the youths that have been on the frontline of pro-Biafra agitation would pay much attention to him. An Imo indigene at the meeting said Uzodinma would of course be a “One Nigeria” advocate considering how well he has done from the country.