Pro-democracy groups yesterday held a peaceful protest in Abuja against the arrest of the former governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha.
Okorocha, who governed Imo for eight years, represents Imo West (Orlu) in the senate. He was arrested yesterday and detained by the police for alleged “violent entry” into sealed government property.
The protesters described the senator’s arrest as a witch-hunt by Governor Hope Uzodimma.
Some of the inscriptions on the protesters’ placards read: “United we stand, divided we fall”, “Government Uzodimma stop the witch-hunt, APC means peace, restore peace in Imo APC”, “Rochas we believe, leaders must be respected”, “Rochas is a leader, stop the use of thugs”, “Nigerian students condemn the attacks on the person of Rochas.”
The protesters, who brandished various placards to register their anger over the development, claimed that Okorocha’s arrest, allegedly at the instance of Uzodimma, was part of the grand design to deny the South-East geo-political zone the exalted seat of the presidency in 2023.
Hamza Rahama, who spoke on behalf of the protesting youths, argued that Okorocha’s arrest by armed policemen constitutes a threat to democratic rule in the country.
“Okorocha is one good material, if not the best, we have for 2023 after President Muhammadu Buhari. All this harassment and intimidation is because of the next election of which they believe, should he vie for the Presidency then, he remains a threat to them.
“Nigerians, especially the common man, will resist all sorts of intimidation to truncate Okorocha’s presidential ambition because of their strong belief in his capacity to change their fortunes beyond the lines of tribe and religion.”