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On November 22, 2011, I had gone to Owerri High Court as a Journalist to cover an assignment, without knowing that it would have been my last day on earth. I was there to cover the Imo Governorship Judgment at the Tribunal between the immediate past Governor of the State, Chief Ikedi Ohakim and his successor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha.

On November 22, 2011, I had gone to Owerri High Court as a Journalist to cover an assignment, without knowing that it would have been my last day on earth. I was there to cover the Imo Governorship Judgment at the Tribunal between the immediate past Governor of the State, Chief Ikedi Ohakim and his successor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha.

Inside the court, I was sandwiched by former State Executive members of the just gone regime, and the Expanded State Executive members of the incumbent Government. Both Okorocha and Ohakim's allies exchanged banters as brothers and Sisters in the Tribunal room. However, as the Judge began to read the judgment, I noticed that most of the Ohakim's former appointees were leaving the court room gradually. But as a journalist who came to cover the story, I had to remain until I get the final verdict.
In the end, the Tribunal pronounced Owelle Rochas Okorocha the duly elected Governor of Imo State.
Jubilation rent the air, and I rushed out to file my story since my colleagues, Gerry Ogu and Kelechi Mejuobi were all waiting for me in the TRUMPETA News Room. The moment I stepped out of the court premises and moved towards where I parked my car, I saw a group of men following me. Some of them I know. One of them accosted me as I was trying to use my phone. “Give me that phone idiot; you think you will escape today?” As I stopped and turned to see if I was the one being addressed, a heavy blow that can put a Bull to sleep landed at the back of my head and Neck. And the next was a kick on my groin, and suddenly I found myself surrounded by over Ten able- bodied men, raining blows all over my body even as I was lying on the tarred road. I latter found myself inside a deep Gutter opposite Owerri High Court. But as I was passing-out, I faintly heard one of them say “Goodbye, Rest in Peace you can now go to hail and write about
……”. After what lasted like a day, I managed to open my eyes, and saw one Mr Luke Eke (Eluke) from my community, standing over my “Dead Boy” He roared “Hadur, Hadur, are you alive?” He dragged my hand, and managed to pull me out from the gutter, because I had no strength to get up. However, two police men who happened to have known me when I worked in Government House Owerri came and shouted “CPS, were you the one they threw in here? We wanted to intervene but the mob threatened us”.
The police men had to put me in their van and asked me to lie down on the floor so that the mob, which now was stationed at the entrance road to the court at Orlu road, does not see me and attack them.
I was later dumped in a hospital by the police men, where I contacted my wife, who arrived to take me to a more better hospital where I was for weeks until I recovered. Following my observations before I passed out, I recognized the Government Appointee who signaled to the thugs to pounce on me. I later reached some friends I had in Government then to know what offence I committed that led to my near assassination.
I complained to my brothers from Owerri zone, Chief Martin Agbaso, who was then one of the power brokers in the State. And nothing happened. I then reached the then Deputy Governor Sir Jude Agbaso, and there was no positive response. I was disappointed how a Government could resort to brigandage, when it has all lawful means of going after perceived enemies, than engage in extra-Judicial actions on a lawful citizen. Till date, nobody has told me what I did that warranted such an attempt on my life. But I was later told that I was so critical of an administration, which had not spent even a year in office to judge its style of governance. My personal investigation unveiled that I was against a new administration having worked in the previous administration, which qualifies me as a “Wailer” for losing office. But that was a false assumption. All my life as a practicing journalist, I have never written what I am not sure of. However I can be accused of having interest in a story, but it must be a fact, which is no crime in Journalism ethics. After that narrow escape at the court premises, I had thought all was now well for me. But it was not yet Uhuru, as what followed was the vandalization of TRUMPETA office, with our offices and documents destroyed, my private computer was taken away. Since then Authorities had petitioned me to DSS, Police and dragged me to court. But in each case, God has been faithful.
Unfortunately, months after my ordeal, Chief Jude Agbaso the man I had sought help from became hunted and haunted too. So, the man who failed to hear my cry also became a victim of persecution and TRUMPETA became one of his channels to cry for Justice. Today in Imo, brigandage, which commenced with me and nobody cared to come to my rescue, is gradually inching closer to everybody. Infact, the men who planned and took part in my attack have all come directly or through emissaries to ask for forgiveness from me, as they have regretted how they would have wasted a man who did nothing wrong but just for doing his chosen profession. They told me of how they were used and dumped, and narrated their conditions to me with regret and remorse.
What goes around comes around. Now, Imo masses are lamenting of Thugs and Outlaws, moving freely because they are backed by authorities, carrying out crimes in open day lights without bothering of their deeds, because they are protected. Imo State now exports thuggery to other lands, when other States are exporting food stuffs and produce. Anambra is now an exporter of vegetables and President Buhari last week commissioned a multi Billion Naira Seed Factory in Calabar, Cross River State. However, one good thing about Imo State is that it is highly populated with educated and informed populace. My advice to those being used as thugs and outlaws by leaders today is that no crime goes unpunished in life, especially murder. Whoever kills will pay with his life, the law says. Luckily, these official hoodlums are not faceless. Some of them call themselves Evangelists, Pastors, Reverends etc. They have villages, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and relations. So, their identities are not hidden. And again, they must realize that power is very transient. Whoever allows himself to be used to enforce draconian actions on fellow citizens must remember that every position has an expiring date.
It must also be noted that every life is as important as the other. It is only when you kill a wandering mad man that you will see the relations. An infant is as important as an old man. It was James Hardley Chase who wrote that “You can tell an old man what you like because you know what he is, but never abuse a young fellow because you don't know what he will be” Therefore every soul is important in Imo State because he or she is a citizen and can be anything tomorrow. Whoever thought when Achike Udenwa, Ikedi Ohakim and Rochas Okorocha were toddlers they would grow up to become Governors? But let me say that Imo citizens at all times know when the cup is half full or half empty. Therefore, they know when and how to call a spade by its name if shove comes to push. The docility you see in every Imo man is his/her power. They are like vultures. “Vulture is a patient Bird” Hardly Chase wrote.
In 1996, the get-quick rich young men arrived Owerri in style. Nobody begrudged them of their riches, however, and wherever they got them from. But these rich young men began to rub their riches on the faces of other citizens who were minding their own businesses. These novae Rich started blocking the streets while shopping, they ordered you out from clubs at their own caprices. One day, the bottled-up anger of the people of Imo State, nay Owerri exploded on the young-Rich, and Imo went into flames, as chaos and mayhem took over the land. Within two days all the Houses and property linked to these people were razed down, and “Obodo” became cool and quiet till date. And that was the legendary “Otokoto Riot” you hear about. As a young man who has lived in Owerri all his life, I witnessed the inferno from the beginning till the end. Nobody can say he or she spear-headed or started the “Otokoto Riot”. It kicked off spontaneously and ended abruptly. It was a movement, a revolution which first grew roots in the hearts of the people. And one day, the venom of the masses got burst.
That is Imo State for you. You don't push them to the wall and expect them to melt the wall, or cave in. It is very unfortunate that violence begets violence. As a Stakeholder in Imo, who has a company that feeds over Fifteen Graduates and their families, I have a reason to pray for the peace and progress of my State.
I have made my own modest contribution to the growth of Imo as a once Senior Government Appointee and still making. Two days ago, I visited a relation at Egbeda Housing Estate. Immediately I drove out from the Estate, I noticed this black vehicle with tinted glasses trailing me. To be sure, I sped towards Onitsha road, and as the vehicle moved to double-cross me, I diverted into Graceland Estate, and remained there till the next day.
This is the cat and dog life I live every day. But God remains my strength. I quote James Hardly Chase again. He captioned one of his numerous Novels; “They Guilty is Afraid” I am not afraid because I am not guilty. I know I have no other job but Journalism. So, what did I do to these people? Bob Marley sang “I shot the Sherrif, but I did not shoot the Deputy”. But in my own case, I neither shot the Sherrif, not to talk of the Deputy. Please, God, continue to protect me. “The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as his Liberator, while the wolf denounces the shepherd for same act as the destroyer of liberty. Plainly, the sheep and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of Liberty” Says Abraham Lincoln.

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