The economy of Imo State is said to be under threat following political instability beginning with protests since the Supreme Court dethroned Gov Emeka Ihedioha.
The new governor has no single House of Assembly member and may begin to manipulate the PDP lawmakers to decamp to APC. This is expected to cause crisis.
Also, the new governor may want to return the APC-controlled local council areas. This may be resisted in some places. Most of the ministries and agencies have been taken over by new managers and this seemed to breathe fresh hopes into them. Trying to sack those executives and bring in new ones may cause instability.
All these may cause tension and the economy may be the first casualty.
The economy of Imo State which tried to pick up from slumber may after all sink below and could take more than 15 years before it will be resuscitated if the political instability which is building up now continues, those who spoke to BusinessDay on condition of anonymity said.
The political instsbility which faces Imo State is a result of the sudden change of batten by the nation’s apex court, the Supreme Court which its ruling seemed not to go down well with some Imo people.
The Nigerian Supreme Court had on January 14,2020 passed its judgment which sacked Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha, PDP, as the governor of Imo State and replaced him with Senator Hope Uzodinma of the APC as the duly elected governor of Imo State.
The judgment grounded has the economic activities in the State particularly in Owerri, Imo State capital and the surrounding towns.
To further express their disapproval on the power change, perhaps, on the economic consequences of the Supreme Court’s judgement in the Imo economy which Emeka Ihedioha’s administration tried to rejuvenate.
Therefore, on Sunday January 19,2020 there was state wide protest against the judgment. Before 3pm on last Sunday a mammot crowd took over all the major streets in Owerri the capital city protesting against the Supreme Court judgment and demanding the resignation of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Muhammad Tanko, saying”Tanko must go”.
Today, January 20,2020 the the All Progressives Congress and its loyalists staged a counter protest.
Early in the morning around 11 am, some people gathered at Hero Square, close to Imo Concorde Hotel for the procession, saying that they were in support of the ruling of the Supreme Court.
However economic activities have been at a low ebb in Owerri. People are still seen in pockets of groups discussing the sudden political change that has suddenly taken place but shops and other business have remained opened.
“But since the Supreme Court judgment most businesses have been recording low sales”, a trader whose shop is located along the most busy road Douglass Road, told newsmen.
Also, some right-thinking members of the society in Owerri, who craved anonymity said “the political uncertainty now in Imo will ground the economy of the state and the good governance seen in Ihedioha’s government may varnish”.
Speaking also an Economist and a professor of finance with the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) who craved anonymity said what happened in Imo “has sent Imo backwards, even pushed it to ten years backwards. Emeka Ihedioha has put Imo in good governance , much efforts he made to rejuvenate the state are now a waste, it quite unfortunate “.
He said “the impact of this will drive away foreign investors because the polity has been distorted. That friendly environment is now something else it is a mirage, it is setting the hands of clock backwards if something is not done now, It is unfortunate, there is low economic activity now”.
Meanwhile, Governor Hope Uzodinma at the government house while addressing the solidarity rally where APC faithful were in attendance said the federal government should investigate the circumstances surrounding the nation wide protest by PDP.
He said the state under his watch and control will support the government of President Muhammudu Buhari.