By Chuks Osuji
Without doubt, Imo State is on record as one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria particularly when it comes to brotherly love and social conviviality. To many residents, it is still a state of brotherly love and a harmonious co-habitation.
What happened couple of weeks ago in the capital city when the police headquarters and prison correctional centre were attacked and burglarised by most infamous group “Unknown gunmen” should not be taken to be the norm in Imo State. Rather it is most unfortunate and exceptional behaviour of few.
As a columnist of many years of experience and as a resident of Owerri capital city nay Imo State, I have been around enough to know both the biology, physics and the chemical contents of the state and its inhabitants.
To my mind, although there are many peaceful states and cities in this country Owerri the state capital and Calabar the state capital of Crossrivar are the most peaceful and reasonably peaceable.
People refer to Imo State as a city of hospitality. They are right and are rightly right. Because the population which meels around the state capital city is perhaps smaller than the one that meels around at night.
Without concrete evidence, nobody but nobody can deny the fact that Owerri the Imo State capital is indeed a jolly state as Calabar is a city of brotherly love. Giving the size of the state capital, if appropriate methodological and empirical survey is carried out, it will not be difficult to see that in the average that Owerri capital city has more hotels, eateries, clubs and bars will not be more than those found in a more sprawling city like Port Harcourt, Enugu, Calabar and Ibadan to say the least. This is in consonance with typical Igbo Proverb which says, “Those who find kindness, love and fraternity with winning and dining hardly exhibit animosity and bitterness.”
The point that is being made here is to show that some spasmodic disturbances and attack on correctional facilities and the police headquarters could proudly be pointed at by imported miscreants. Now now, the posting out of the immediate PPRO, SP Orlando Ikeokwu who displayed professionalism and communication nicety was anticipated giving the fact that the commissioner of police who was present at the time when the unfortunate attack on correctional service and Police headquarters was swiftly posted out including some other top police officers that he should equally have been posted out at the same time.
Although SP Orlando Ikeokwu is a son of the soil which helped him to be very successful in information gathering and nipping in the bud some planned heinous crimes.
By all stretch of comparison his performance must be reasonably rated over and above average. And as he is going to another state with different characteristics, there is no doubt that he will attain a greater feat in his performance.
Now that a new PPRO has been posted to Imo State in the person of SP Bala Elkana from Kaduna State soon, he will find out that Imo and her people are loving, friendly and hospitably interwoven. From the record, it is evident that the new PPRO SP Bala Elkana has been doing well in his chosen profession as seen in his qualifications. SP Bala Elkana was enlisted into the Nigeria Police Force in 2003. He holds a Bachelor Degree in Law (LLB), master degree in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution (MSC), Master Degree in Business Administration (MBA) among other academic qualifications.
He attended several courses among which are Leadership Training, Detective Course, Community Policing, Trainee Course, Combat Operation Course, Emergency Management Course, Police Relations Course. He is a member of the National Institute of Public Relations and also a member of International Association of Chiefs of Police, A Fellow and ICON of Corporate Institute of Adminsitartion.
He has served the force in different capacities notably: – Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in Niger, Akwa Ibom and Lagos State Police Commands, respectively. He has also received so many awards among which are: – Best PRO in Nigeria 2020, Best PRO in Africa and Best PRO in Central and West Africa by Security Watch Africa.
Thus, from the above galaxy of experiences and professional accomplishments, SP Bala Elkana from Kaduna State is bound to fit in in this state giving the atmosphere currently prevailing in the state. Of all his experiences and accolades, and the fact that he is a Public Relations guru will make it possible for him to fit in in the school. Because he will find a lot of PR gurus who will be ready to offer him guidance and support. All he needs is to make himself available and to avoid pitfalls.
Honestly, he will not find it difficult to operate and to work with a governor who is also a jolly good fellow.
I must recall that in 2014 when I was presenting a copy of one of my books entitled,”Nigerian women in politics: Past and present” to the then minister of Abuja capital, Senator Bala Mohammed, he told me that he would like to visit Owerri the State capital if for nothing, to enjoy Ofe Owerre and Ngwongwo. I told him, that that will be very great. Thus the hospitable nicety Of Imo State and it’s people are well known among Nigerian elites. SP Bala Elkana from Kaduna State is most welcome to the state and should be careful and mindful of what type of Ofe Owerre and Ngwongwo he will taste and at what environment. By and large, he will find the environment hospitable, and loving. We wish him a rousing welcome, God’s protection and endless grace of celestial forces. In God’s name we pray. Amen.