Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State on Sunday doused the controversy over the alleged inauguration of an Emir in Imo State, saying he is governor for both Christians and Muslims.
But contrary to the information that he installed an Emir, he said the new Imam who visited him is a native of Mbaise in Imo State and a relative of ex-governor Emeka Ihedioha.
Uzodinma made the clarification in an interview with journalists during the First Plenary Meeting of the Catholic Bishops Conference of 2020 with the theme: “The word of God: A Lamp to my feet and a light to my path”, which held at the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria in Abuja.
He said, “Contrary to that, the courtesy visit by the Muslim community in Imo State to me, was a welcomed one. The new Imam, is a native of Mbaise, not a Northerner. He is a relation of Emeka Ihedioha. I am a governor of both Christians and Muslims.
“So, we should shun everything that will bring division in the society. There are more people from the East that are also Muslims and some Muslims were born in the East and do not know any other place apart from the East. So, it is left for government to device a means that will accommodate everybody.
“Coexistence is very important, national coexistence, national integration, national cohesion is a framework on which we have to drive our society on. The project Nigeria is a project that belongs to all of us. No one man is more important than the other. Nigeria belongs to all of us, irrespective of our tribe, religion or ethnic affiliation.”
Speaking in the spate of insecurity in Nigeria, the governor said it “is a global problem, it is not only in Nigeria.”
He said, “Insecurity is all over the world. Terrorism is something that has been around for some time, starting from the attack of America 9/11, up to the incidence in Syria and up to that of Chad and now, North East.
“Before this time, it was a strange kind of crime, it was not here in the country. My advice is that we should not politicize the issue of insecurity; rather, we should buckle up, come together and synergize and attack this incidence, so that at the end of the day, we will create a conducive environment that will allow men and women to go about their businesses without molestation.
“We all condemn this insecurity, we all condemn the unnecessary attacks in maiming and killing of people. It is strange in our society, we were not brought up to see these kind of crimes. But now that it is here, we need to wear our thinking caps, we need to plan together and collaborate with government.
“Government alone cannot solve the problem of insecurity. It is a combination of the efforts of government and it citizens, with proper understanding, that we will bring a permanent solution to the problem of insecurity.”
When asked on his chances of victory in the review of the Supreme Court judgment which sacked Ihedioha, Uzodinma said, “I am not a member of the appeal panel, but we pray to God and tomorrow will take care of itself.”
The governor said he came with a vision to transform Imo State, hoping that the next one year would speak for itself.
He said, “Well, I just settled down. I came prepared and I have a vision that I am going to drive the state to be a model state. In the next 12 months, you will do the assessment yourself.”