21 September 2021
Hope Uzodinma, aka “the Supreme Court governor” of Imo State, is said to be afraid to visit his hometown of Omuma, in Oru East Local Government Area of Imo State because of the threat posed by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) or their armed wing the Eastern Security Network (ESN).
IPOB are seeking the secession of southeast Nigeria from the rest of the country and Uzodinma, seen as many as having been “imposed” on the state by a Supreme Court judgment that saw a candidate that came fourth in the state’s governorship (s)election declared as the winner, has become a hate figure for supporters of secession because the judgment was perceived to have been influenced by a President Muhammadu Buhari regime, that is very unpopular in the region.
Buhari’s unpopularity has worsened with the deaths and destruction in the hands of the Fulani militia that supports the business of herding cattle. Buhari is Fulani and seen as backing the herders. The capture in Kenya and rendition to Nigeria of IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu seem to have worsened hostilities between Uzodinma and IPOB.
The ESN was set up by IPOB allegedly to counter the violence of the Fulani militia, but it appears most of their attacks have been against those seen as not sympathetic towards the cause of separation, including Uzodinma and security officials like the police.
A source close to the governor told Naijiant.com that Uzodinma “doesn’t sleep well” because of IPOB. The source claimed that the governor can’t spend a night in his mansion in Omuma. The building was set on fire in April this year with IPOB suspected to be behind the blaze. Since then, Uzodinma has deployed armoured tanks from the army in the town. But it appears that despite these measures, a night’s rest in his hometown is still out of the question for the governor.