Owerri — It seems that Imo State Government has made a U-turn over the death of Somtochukwu Ibeanusi, the 10-year-old boy allegedly killed by soldiers during the demolition exercise of Owerri market at Douglas road as Governor Rochas Okorocha stated that the action was to honour the innocent soul.
Okorocha who spoke when traditional rulers and leaders of Owerri paid him a visit at the Government House, Owerri, wednesday, said he has been able to liberate the people of Owerri from a wicked clique made up of one or two families who had held Owerri people in bondage.
He said: "Government has decided to honour Somtochukwu although the boy's death was confusing because an action can't be taking place on Douglas road, and the person died at Mbaise road. No matter what happened, whatever be the case, since that boy died within that period of liberation, that boy must be honoured. And for the fact that the whole of Owerri leaders are mourning him, wore black even to Catholic and Anglican churches. And if Owerri leaders can mourn a boy from Nnewi, Anambra State, that shows that there is something great about that boy."
According to him, "So for every activity in that Ekeukwu and Douglas road, the boy will be honoured, because he died on the day of the event. That boy is more important than any Eke or Afor, Ekeukwu or Ekenta. So both the Douglas road and project to be sited there will be named after the boy, Somtochukwu. The project will be named Somtochukwu and the road, Somtochukwu road in line with the way all of us are mourning that boy. I will not go back to deity again by naming it Ekeukwu road. Imo State has gone past that level.
"They are fighting me because I have liberated you people. What do I benefit by building township school, rebuilding Emmanuel College, Akwakuma Girls, Government College, Government Technical College, building Owerri Girls, inland roads, ICC, trade and investment centre, two flyovers, two tunnels, heroes square, roads. What do I benefit as Rochas Okorocha if not for the development of Owerri. No governor has done in the history of Owerri, what I have done for Owerri people? My crime is that I have liberated you people from bondage."
The governor said: "I have a stake in Owerri, no governor has invested the way I have invested in Owerri and no Owerri son or daughter has invested more than me in Owerri, both the living and the dead, I stand to be challenged. The worst of it is that when Eze Njemanze died, I offered to build a house for him but the same clique refused. When I came into office 2011, I had meeting with elders of Owerri of which Bob Njemanze was present, they advised me to remove Ekeukwu, that, it was bringing crime to the City. I refused but only to remove it five years interval. Just watch the development this will bring to Owerri people."
"Ekeukwu has nothing to do with the identity of Owerri people. Owerri cannot develop Owerri. It will take people from outside Owerri to develop Owerri. You must open your doors for people to come in and develop it. It is not true that I am not preserving your identity, I preserved your identity by building Township School and other monumental structures in Owerri. If Ekeukwu means deity that does not want progress, that deity must go, but if it is Ekeukwu that brings progress fine.
"Believe me, if there is any man who loves Owerri people, it is Rochas Okorocha. If there is any man who cherishes Owerri, it is me, I make bold to say that. If there is another person who loves Owerri more than me, he should come and let's check the facts available for public consumption.
"I have not seen such accommodating set of people like Owerri people. They are nice people. There is nothing wrong with Owerri but there is a clique in Owerri, a small clique that kept Owerri people in bondage for more than decades. That is the problem of Owerri. What I have come to do in Owerri is to set the captives free.
"Those people resist anything good coming to Owerri people unless it is coming to their family. This is the truth and Owerri people are confused about the true situation. If not for me, you cannot have these traditional rulers now sitting in Owerri. This clique doesn't want Owerri to expand. The four autonomous communities in Owerri wouldn't have existed because they fought it. The majority leader in the House of Assembly wouldn't have been a leader because he would have been mandated to carry cows to their homes and pledge to their deities before they can accept him," the governor said.
He stressed: "I have rescued Owerri from bondage and Owerri is now free. You will see your children now prospering and growing but before now it was only one family in Owerri that grows, one family and one family alone. They produce the judges, lawyers, doctors and everything but you can't see any other growth in Owerri. This group of people inside Owerri resist every good thing coming to Owerri. They resort to the courts to stop development coming to Owerri."