I visited Douglas Road and what used to be Eke Ukwu yesterday and I couldn’t help but wonder; why did that promising young man have to die?

If you visit that area, you’ll probably ask the same question I now ask our outgoing governor Owelle Rochas Okorocha and master of ‘iberiberism’ who in his ‘wisdom’ decided to demolish that market against court orders and indirectly caused the ‘execution’ of that poor boy.

Was Somtochukwu’s death an answer to an occultic call for innocent blood ritual or an accident? For what sane or insane reason was Eke Ukwu demolished in the first place if what I saw yesterday has become the new look of that once thriving market.

One of the excuses Okorocha’s minions gave for the demolition was the street trading but if you ask me, that reason made no sense because if Okorocha had wanted to control street trading along Douglas Road and Eke Ukwu, he would have done so. In fact, he did it at a point when he deployed a taskforce on street trading along Eke Ukwu and the road became so free then in his usual way, he stopped and things as when there is no control, returned to status quo.

Today, Douglas Road has effectively turned into ‘Market Road’ as one lane has been totally taken over by makeshift shops and shanties while the available ‘road’ is gradually closing up as more stalls and shops sprout everyday along the road. 

Why then did Owelle Rochas Okorocha embark on the senseless demolition in the first place if he could not manage the fallout and resultant effects?

On a second thought, I reasoned that the demolition of Eke Ukwu might have been a carefully planned economic warfare unleashed on the people of Imo State.


It is a known fact that control over a people’s economic activities is one sure way to ensure control of that people and Owelle has been very desperate to control the people of Imo State. His mistake however was the approach he used.

If he had served Imo people with sincerity and a pure heart, he wouldn’t need to try controlling the people, the people will willingly have followed him around free of charge.

But Okorocha who has roots in the North which is probably why he was dubbed ‘Okoroawusa’ by his ‘admirers’ probably decided instead to unleash the Northern style of mind control on Imo people which entails using poverty and strangulation of our economy as the weapons of warfare.

Unlike Dr Ikedi Ohakim who believed in paying full salaries, pensions and gratuities as well as awarding contracts to indigenous firms because he believed that if that money is paid to the people and it circulates within the state, it would boost the economy, Owelle Rochas Okorocha probably believed that by cutting the salaries of civil servants, owing pensions and gratuities, awarding contracts to foreigners and Northerners which would amount to capital flight would cripple the economy of the state and make the people more open to control.

In both cases, their ideas worked. For Ohakim, Imo GDP under his watch rose to the highest standing at the 5th in the whole federation before he left office while on the other hand under Okorocha, hunger and poverty now roams free on the streets of Imo State as Imo GDP today is below 30. That Uche Nwosu still managed to gander some votes let alone come second showed that the idea of starving the people then offering them change at the polling booth was almost as successful as it was in 2015 when a plate of rice and malt was used to rob the people of their senses.

Despite trying to strangulate Imo State’s economy through the non-payment of pensions and gratuities and slashing of salaries, the people still managed to get by and that was largely because of the Eke Ukwu market and other markets scattered across the state where we could still take our meager farm produce to and make an extra coin to sustain ourselves and thus, refused to be economically bondaged by Okorocha and his family.

Great sons of Imo State resisted his move to demolish the Eke Ukwu market. When he dumped refuse on Douglas road hoping to chase the people away with dirt or probably let them die from infection, a bold Anglican priest staged a one-man protest that put Imo on the national front page.

The incoming governor Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha had led others to evacuate the refuse so that the people could live in good health when clearly, their governor wanted them all to die from diseases associated with dirty environment.

Dr Ikedi Ohakim wrote against the planned demolition of the market siting the economic situation prevelant in the country and the untold hardship it would unleash on the people. For his concern for the people of Imo State, the Okorocha administration launched baseless media attacks against the former governor who was bold enough to speak out when many others and those before him kept quiet.

Men like Sir Jude Ejiogu when in office used his position to resist the demolition of the market siting the economic hardship it would cause the people. That and other times the former Governorship aspirant of the APC and former SGI challenged the anti-people decisions of the Okorocha administration must have made him an enemy of Okorocha prompting them to remove him since he was probably deemed a rebel against their plans to strangulate the people economically. It didn’t come to me as a surprise that after they removed Sir Jude Ejiogu who was their obstacle, they demolished the market even before the new SGI could understand his new office and stop them like his predecessor did.

The demolition of Eke Ukwu effectively retired so many people to the villages confirming Okorocha as the originator of a propaganda once used against Dr Ikedi Ohakim. Clearly, it was Okorocha and not Ohakim who wanted poor people to return to the villages. Okorocha made an even extra effort to make wealthy people poor when he destroyed their sources of livelihood. Many people lost shops. Many lost their lives through High BP. I lost my only shop in Eke Ukwu valued at over N4million. I don’t know if the incoming government will review and compensate us or probably reallocate shops to us as Dr Ikedi Ohakim had promised shop owners at Eke Ukwu but I have borne the lose and looked into the future for better tomorrow when I can probably afford to buy another. Economically, Rochas robbed me of the rent I used to collect from that shop. The kind of owu I am suffering now, the loss of that shop follow contribute to it. I am not alone. I was lamenting my loss when another man told me how he lost three shops in Eke Ukwu. Onu eme mu shut up.

Goods worth billions were destroyed, looted and pillaged by Okorocha and his demolition squad and the hired thugs that were deployed to harass the people during that period.

In a way, the demolition of Eke Ukwu was by extension a further attack at the already disunited Owerri people who Okorocha had sent their foremost traditional ruler Eze Njemanze to the grave by decimating his kingdom and installing efulefus as ezes one of who was giving fake certificate of indigeneship at one point in time.

With a ‘successful’ blow at the economic heartbeat of Owerri and by extension Imo State, Okorocha unleashed his mission of turning Imolites into paupers on other markets across the state destroying as many as he could and abandoning them afterwards. He unleashed further economic hardship and hunger on the people by that action and even the shops he later provided where at such places that it would cause people more money and stress just to access them. Above all, he was the overall landlord of those shops and by extension, controlled the people.

Today Douglas Road has turned into a massive refuse dump and the market now sell on the road.

Yet again I wonder, why did Somtochukwu have to die? What purpose did his death achieve? Was his blood a way to silence the gods and avoid their wrath or an appeasement to evil gods that had camped in occultic statues across the state for the past eight years? Or was his death purely an accident?

What aim did Okorocha achieve by the demolition of Eke Ukwu? Was the demolition another idea from a mad hatter like many senseless ideas we have seen in Imo in the past eight years like the gate project which was never completed for which the contractors are till date owed billions? Was the demolition a well planned economic attack waged against the people to turn us into slaves so that it would be easy to buy our votes during election and further elongate his reign through his son-in-law? Or if we would believe folklores and the supernatural tales making the rounds, was the demolition of Eke Ukwu and other markets an occultic plan to cage all the economic gods and spirits of good luck in Imo State residing in the markets to give freeway to oppress the people? 

It would really be interesting to know exactly why Owelle Rochas Okorocha decided to wage war on Eke Ukwu and by extension all ancestal markets in Imo State.

As we hope to one day know what led Okorocha into this line of action, we pray that the soul of this innocent young man who wanted to be a priest to serve God but whose life was cut short by the recklessness and lawlessness of a governor who doesn’t obey court orders but if today in court hoping the courts will save him, rest on in the bosom of Christ Jesus.

Maazi Obinna Akuwudike writes from Owerri

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