– The Imo state government has allegedly demolished some monuments built by the Okorocha administration – The demolition of the tourist attractions has reportedly sparked outrage in the state – Governor Emeka Ihedioha is yet to release an official statement on the matter or respond to rumours of his involvement Residents of Imo state capital, Owerri on Thursday, August 1 woke up to see the Freedom Park, built by the immediate past governor, Rochas Okorocha demolished.
The demolition of the tourist attraction has sparked outrage in the state. Residents say the park built barely two years ago, was torn down in a flagrant show of force and reduced to a pile of iron and concrete. Freedom Park, or Freedom Square as it is also called, is one of the attractions erected by Okorocha during his term as governor.
The park was a place where everyone is equal irrespective of politics and religion and has become a hot-spot for late-night revellers and tourists. While most residents are at a loss to explain the rationale behind the action, there is a general sentiment that the demolition was ordered by new Imo state governor, Emeka Ihedioha. In May, another tourist attraction built by Okorocha, Akachi Tower, was brought down.
During its inauguration, Okorocha said Akachi Tower signified the generous hand of God over the state. The tower, featured a spiral staircase, topped by a defiant fist. During his tenure, Okorocha erected many edifices as part of his efforts to turn Imo state, and Owerri in particular, into a tourism hub. Governor Emeka Ihedioha is yet to release an official statement on the matter or respond to rumours of his involvement in the demolition. Steve Osuji, the special adviser to the governor, however, said that Ihedioha is not aware of the demolition and he is still busy trying to settle into his new office.
Meanwhile, Senator Okorocha was recently named the chairman, committee on culture and tourism of the ninth Senate. The former Imo state governor invested heavily in tourism during his administration and also created a ministry of happiness.
As part of its drive to improve Imo’s tourism potentials, the Okorocha’s administration built iconic statues of African heroes in the state capital, Owerri.