Sen. Rochas Okorocha, the immediate past governor of Imo, has lamented the humiliating treatment meted out to him by his party the All Progressives Congress (APC), in spite of his sacrifices and financial contributions to the party.
Okorocha, the senator representing Imo West Senatorial District, told newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday that he got evil reward from APC for his commitment to the course of the party, especially in the South East.
He noted that he had to go contrary to his kinsmen and political associates just to ensure that the party was placed on a sound footing in Imo and in the South East, but was surprised that he reward was the suspension.
“If you recall I was called all sorts of names like ‘Okoro Hausa’ and that I was building mosques and all that was associated with it.
“But I kept deaf ears because I felt that I was on the right course with my people.
“I was instrumental to bringing Adams Oshiomhole as national chairman of the APC and he cannot deny that fact.
“I took the troubles of APC in the South East and the APC I see now can easily tell Gov. Emeka Ihedioha to come to its fold if only he can fight Rochas.
“That is really an unfortunate situation and it has weakened my spirit and my faith to the party because I thought we are family working to advance the course of this nation.
“But the way it is going, it does not look like there will be a solution. And there seems to be silence everywhere.
”I don’t even know my stand about my suspension because for some time, I don’t know what is happening in APC.
“But for the silence all over, it just looks as if it is normal.
“So, I am just waiting and thinking of what next to do but I am still a member of APC and I love the party and will support it,” Okorocha said.
According to Okorocha, there is a need for a change in the party’s leadership to ensure the party does not collapse after the exit of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Okorocha added that Buhari’s reputation appeared to be the binding factor of APC in addition to the fact that the North was arguably the major decider in Nigeria politics.
“I have never thought of leaving the party; I feel that time will take care of most things but my only worry is that the party may disappear with the exit of President Buhari.
“For the moment, Buhari seems to be the strongest pillar upon which this party is built.
“If nothing is done to correct the injustices in our party at the national level, then, I fear that this party may disappear with Buhari’s exit.
“Our party is already busy thinking about the presidency in 2023 and not supporting the issue of governance which is what we have right now.
“The score of our party or its assessment depends on what we have done with governance and what we have done with politics.
“These are some of the problems we have and thinking that being APC is a platform to catch political power.
“People have begun to zone where the president will come from and where he will not come from, leaving the issue of governance; so, these have been some of the challenges we have as a party but I hope they will be addressed.
“But that cannot be complete unless we do some surgical movement in the leadership of the party,” Okorocha added.
He noted that Nigerians would judge their leaders on the basis of what they had done as a government before they could decide what to do with them in 2023.
The former Imo governor further said that he was not in a hurry to make decisions on the next line of action following his suspension from the party.
He, however, revealed that his inlaw, Mr Uche Nwosu, would return to APC from AA if he eventually reclaimed his governorship mandate.
On the allegations of misappropriation of funds during his tenure as the governor of Imo, Okorocha challenged Gov. Ihedioha to try to surpass his record rather than the negative campaign against his administration.
He also said:
“I challenge any government to do 50 per cent of what I achieved in Imo. I left N48.5 billion for the new government to take off.
“It is either the government of Ihedioha is confused or it is not relevant, if not, no normal thinking person will begin to witch-hunt me after all that I achieved in Imo.”
He blamed his travails on some unnamed top leaders of the APC whom he accused of conniving with opposition elements in the state to undermine him politically.
Okorocha commended the judiciary for upholding his election describing the tribunal’s ruling as a “proof of his innocence” after INEC accused him of obtaining victory through duress.
JUST IN: Buhari meets Ize-Iyamu ahead of campaign rally in Edo
The leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, has invited the party’s governorship candidate in Edo state, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu for a meeting in Aso Rock.
Newsmen gathered that Ize-Iyamu is already in Abuja for the meeting.
Expected at the rally are Senate President Ahmad Lawan who will lead members of the National Assembly to the event. Others expected to the ceremony are all governors elected on the platform of APC and other top leaders of the party.
President Buhari will not be at the rally because of COVID-19 protocol but will be represented by a top government official.
According to reports Ize-Iyamu had met with members of the National Campaign Council for the Edo State governorship election on Monday night.
Those who attended the meeting including former Senate President, Dr Ken Nnamani; Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State.
Others are Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State; Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State; and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, among others.
Cracks in Ondo PDP as five governors back Ajayi’s ZLP move
There were indications on Monday that cracks had developed in the Ondo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
This followed reluctance of the party’s governorship candidate, Eyitayo Jegede, to accept embattled Deputy Governor Agboola Ajayi as his running mate.
Also, the division in the state’s chapter of the party has been linked to the Cold War over PDP’s 2023 presidential slot.
Jegede is a close ally of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar; he won the primaries, despite the support Ajayi got from five PDP governors.
The five governors had attempted to use the primaries to stop Jegede from becoming the party’s candidate.
Following the failure of the deputy governor at the primaries, the five PDP governors were said to be pushing Ajayi to run on the platform of Zenith Labour Party (ZLP).
It was gathered that their plot is to split PDP’s votes and stop Atiku from producing a governor in the Southwest to use as a springboard for 2023 presidential race.
But the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), which was aware of the development in PDP, has been banking on the cracks in the opposition to consolidate its strength across the state.
The support of President Muhammadu Buhari and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu added more bite to the campaign of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu.
Worried by the new political mileage of APC in the state, it was learnt that some forces in the PDP have begun to prevail on Jegede to retain Ajayi as his running mate, instead of allowing him to defect to ZLP, which can affect the electoral fortunes of the state’s opposition party.
Jegede’s camp was said to be wary of Ajayi, who controls nine members of the Ondo State House of Assembly.
According to sources, Jegede’s strategists fear that Ajayi could become rebellious and impeach the governor if the PDP wins in Ondo State.
A source, who spoke in confidence, said:
“Dissatisfied with the outcome of the PDP primary, five PDP governors allegedly instructed the deputy governor to open talks with the leadership of ZLP in the state.
“They have made commitments to bankroll Ajayi’s governorship bid, if he secures ZLP’s ticket.
“Penultimate Friday, Ajayi met with ZLP’s national leader and former governor of Ondo State, Olusegun Mimiko, where discussions held on the deal to concede the governorship ticket to Ajayi.
“Precisely, last Tuesday, Ajayi was said to have dispatched a chartered aircraft to convey the former governor to Abuja, ostensibly to firm up arrangements with both the NWC of ZLP as well as the five PDP governors backing Ajayi.”
Another source added:
“We are good to go and bounce back as a political family. It is true that our boss met some powerful forces who asked if there was enough war chest to prosecute this battle and our oga (boss) told them he could raise N10 billion for the October 10, 2020 governorship election in the state.
“It was at the meeting in Abuja with the five PDP governors that it was revealed that the current political drama in Ondo State PDP was all about the 2023 presidential ticket.
“These governors, led by their colleagues from the Northwest and Southsouth, also vowed to stop Atiku from clinching the PDP ticket and one of their grand plans was to stop Jegede from becoming the governor of Ondo State.”
As at last night, Jegede had not shown conviction about choosing Ajayi as his running mate. But the PDP State Director of Media and Publicity, Mr Zadok Akintoye, in a statement on Sunday, denied that Ajayi was joining the ZLP.
#RevolutionNow protest delayed as DSS, Police hound Adeyanju, others in Abuja [Photos]
The planned protest against alleged bad governance of the administration of the President, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, by the #RevolutionNow group in Abuja has been delayed due to the hounding of protest leaders by a combined team of Nigerian Police, the Department of State Services [DSS] and other security agencies.
The protest was meant to begin at 8am but the security team began patrol around the famous Unity Fountain protest ground in Maitama District of Abuja’s Central Business District.
According to Arise News, journalists were also chased by the security teams with the intent to prevent coverage of the protest.
The news medium reports that the Abuja leader of #RevolutionNow, Deji Adeyanju, who described the Buhari’s administration as a military junta robed in civilian garb, lamented the clampdown on their rights to protest.
The protest leaders are currently moving from place to place including Berger Junction, Transcorp Hilton Junction and Central Area in a bid to fully organize the protest and air their voices against alleged bad governance despite the harassment by security agencies.
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