My dear Governor Uzodinma,
I am actually constrained to write this open letter to you. It is my expectation that even if you don’t come across this mail by yourself, someone close to you might, and draw your attention to it.
My name is Chief Sir Emeka Asinugo, KSC. A British-Nigerian veteran journalist and author, I also publish the Imo State Business Link Magazine (Website: www.imostateblm.com). I was Features Editor of Imo Newspapers (Nigerian Statesman) from 1979 to 1983 but had to relocate to London about 21 years ago.
Your Excellency, we Imo people in the Diaspora, are not happy to learn that for the past two weeks or more, the people of our state have been subjected to untold hardships because of scarcity of fuel resulting from the industrial action embarked upon by petroleum marketers.
We were told that the association began an industrial action in protest against the non-compensation of the filling station of one of their members demolished in Orlu. And we hear that the unfortunate situation in Imo has now spread to the other hard core Igbo states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu.
The task of managing the affairs of an entire state is never an easy one for any governor, be it in Nigeria or America, in Italy or even here in Britain where Mayors play the role of governors. In actual fact, it is not even so simple to manage a family. A husband might be unfortunate to have a stubborn wife or careless children who are always fighting and making him unhappy. But like my father taught me in his days, it is the responsibility of the man to put his household together as a unit. When it comes to aggression from outside Imo, the entire Imo must remain a unit to fight their battle with honour and assurance.
My article titled “The immediate challenge of Imo APC” published in Igbo Journal Review, the Sun Newspaper, Modern Ghana Newspaper among others and which can also be found on Google, called on the people of Imo State to recognize and appreciate that they have no better choice than to rally round you, Governor Uzodinma, and together help you to add more new bricks towards the building up of our dear Imo State.
So, those of us who are Imolites in the Diaspora were elated when we read in the Nigerian media that the dispute between the state government and the petroleum marketers had been amicably resolved and that the cost of petroleum products was going to normalize.
We learnt that the Association of Imo Petroleum Marketers and Dealers had suspended its strike. According to our source, a statement signed by Sir Chimodo Martin on behalf of the association said the action was taken on the heels of the understanding reached with the state government to settle their grievances within 14 days.
We were told that after an exhaustive meeting with the state government, led by the Secretary to Government, Chief Cosmas Iwu which involved the marketers, the state DPR, DSS, the PTD branch of NUPENG and some security agencies, the association decided to suspend the strike for the benefit of the suffering people of Imo state.
We were also told that during that meeting, the SGI had assured the PTD and marketers that their complaint would be resolved within two weeks from the date of the meeting. We were all kudos for Your Excellency.
But now, we are not sure what steps the government of Imo State has taken to ensure they halt the suffering of the ordinary Imo man on the streets due to the unavailability of petrol in the state because, weeks down the line, nothing positive seems to have taken place.
The people are still groaning under the heavy yoke placed on their neck by the current situation. The cost of transportation has inevitably hiked. People stay without kerosene and without light at night as most rural areas are not electrified yet. People cannot charge their phones and cannot call their family and friends and so on. The entire problem that this situation is capable of creating cannot be imagined.
So, dear Governor Uzodinma, I and the other Imolites in the Diaspora are pleading with you on behalf of our people at home. We know, as you rightly pointed out sometime ago, that there is a difference between a state government and a state governor. At least, we know that there is no executive state government. But there is an executive state governor. And we are pleading with you to invoke your executive privilege with the expediency it deserves to ensure that this crisis is over immediately and that our people are able to resume their normal life.
When these things happen they put some of us out here under serious stress. Our kith and kin at home bombard us with calls and reports. And we know it is our duty to represent our state and our governor and our people well out here in the UK. It is our responsibility to cushion the ground for our governor should he need anything from our host country. It is our happiness to make our governor most welcome when he decides to visit us either in the UK or in the USA.
Your Excellency, we are all waiting to hear that our people have again started to live their normal lives. Give us a listening ear and save our people further agony.
And God bless you as He blesses our dear Imo State.