Insecurity: The Imo of Our Collective Dream

By Nkiruka Ana

The Eastern Heartland – Imo State, is prided as one of the most peaceful States in the federation. Which is the reason, it is a tourist destination for fun seekers, and others who want to spend their holidays, from the ever hustling and bustling big cities like Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, etc.

The State capital before now, was a great tourist destination for big corporate Organizations and Companies, Associations and Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), for their annual conferences, summits and board meetings, due to its’ friendly and serene environments.

The international communities were not left out, as the State became the first in Nigeria, to host the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference, which attracted notable Parliamentarians across the commonwealth countries and beyond. That evidently came with lots of economic benefits, for both the public and private sectors in the State.

One will not forget in a hurry, the beautiful memories of the annual ceremonies and events in the capital city of Owerri, which used to trigger frolic jubilations and merry, amongst the people, especially the youths – like myself, during the Christmas Carols and other Festivals.

The question now is, will any of those events and ceremonies be able to hold in any part of Imo State today? How many tourists and organizations are willing and have recently visited Owerri, for any form of business or otherwise?

All have nearly vanished into the thin air, because of the bracing security challenges in the State in recent time. The tourists are nowhere to be seen, most investors are gone, leaving the State to lick self afflicted wounds.

This is not the State we used to know, and definitely not who we are. This is not the State we all grew up to know. This is not the flourishing and enterprising State Dee Sam Mbakwe of blessed memories, left for us to relish. This is not the State some of us worked so hard and vigorously to raise business partners and investors in, whom we are at the brink of losing.

What happened to the State of our dream – where Adapalm should be a major employer of labour, increases our Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), in turns promoting our foreign exchange earnings?

What happened to the State of our dream, where Oguta Resort should be attracting both local and international tourists? Is this the State of our dream, which our children should look forward to, for the celebration of their annual May 27th Children’s Day with their counterparts across the country?

Parents, especially mothers are now living in fears, some have developed High Blood Pressures, because of their children’s safety in schools. These days, one will see some parents, practically spending all day at the school gates – waiting to rush home with their children, before the ringing of the dismissal bells. For how long should we allow this panic mood to continue?

Should we sit back and allow the rampaging insecurity destroy all the efforts of our heroes past? Should we sacrifice the future of our children on the altar of politics and blame games? Enough, should be enough.

We must all put aside the “I-don’t-care-attitude” and come together in unity of purpose, contribute our various quotas for the best interest of our State. It is no longer a question of who is the Governor or the party in power; rather, it is now a matter of survival – saving our own lives and properties. We all should not forget that, “stray bullets” know no parents, siblings or relations as victims.

As a concerned, experienced youthful mother and successful entrepreneur; I call on all the stakeholders in the State, to brace up to the occasions and show unalloyed supports, to the Governor of the State, Senator Hope Uzodinma, for the collective preservation of the State, we can proudly call our own.

Together we can do it.

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