Protests, looming instability, threaten Imo economy


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.