Rochas Okorocha, the governor of Imo State on Monday, April 1, 2019, raised the alarm that the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, might crash out before 2023 general elections.
Okorocha who raised the alarm while speaking with State House correspondents after meeting behind closed doors with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential villa, Abuja, alleged that the National Chairman of APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has turned the party into a regional party.
He further alleged that the abysmal performance of the APC in Imo State was due to imposition of candidates by Comrade Oshiomole, claiming that the candidate fielded by the party in the governorship election also contributed to the party’s woes.
According to him, “My fear now is that APC might have a serious set back in 2023 because the Oshiomhole’s led executive is actually turning APC into a regional minority party which shouldn’t be because of his mistakes.
Right now in the whole South East, we don’t have an APC governor.”
Recall that Governor Okorocha contested the February 23 National Assembly election for the Owerri West (Orlu zone) senatorial seat and was initially declared winner of the election, but the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Returning Officer that declared him, Prof. Francis Ibeawuchi later announced that the declaration was made under duress.
Consequently, the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu declined to issue Okorocha Certificate of Return.
But when asked whether he was at the State House to seek the President’s intervention over his matter, the Imo State Governor who has been having running battle with the APC National Chairman, Comrade Oshiomhole said that he met the President to invite him to commission projects his administration executed in the state.
He said, “I came here precisely to discuss with Mr President to come and commission my projects. I have completed the construction of a new Cargo Airport Terminal, Warehouses and cargo sheds that is to be commissioned.
“I have also completed a new police headquarters and also a new prison headquarters in Imo State.
These are federal government projects built by Imo State government.
Another landmark project is the Justice Oputa Court – the new Imo State High Court Complex which we have built.
“So, we have over a thousand verifiable projects to be commissioned. So I am requesting Mr President to kindly commission the federal ones and see how many of the state’s projects he could commission for me. This is precisely why I am here.”
On why his party, the APC was not making any case for him in his certificate of return, Governor Okorocha who is Chairman, APC Governorship Forum said, “I won’t be surprise because, of course, you know the imposition we suffered in the party.
“When you say the party, you talk about the leadership of that party, it’s not the party.
I don’t have problem with the National Working Committee of that party, I only have problem with the chairman of that party who took it upon himself to do the wrong thing against me for just no cause and to fight a battle that he can never win.
“Now he is the one that is behind all these impositions, can you imagine, as I speak to you the APC candidate in Imo State did not win a seat, APC does not have a councilor in Imo State, it does not even have a House Member.
But the AA (Action Alliance) candidate has eight seats in the Imo State House of Assembly, two Federal House and they have one senator about to come to the senate.
“This is why internal democracy must be respected, let the will of the people prevail rather than this imposition.
It is unfortunate what has happened in Imo State. At least, I have been vindicated for the fact that I said the APC candidate they are imposing on Imo people is not popular, he came from the opposition.
“For the first time, APC doesn’t have a seat in Imo State.
When I was the leader of that party, when I was running the affairs of that party, we won 24 seats in the House of Assembly, we have governor, federal house members but today APC does not have because of imposition.”
On whether he discussed the non issuance of his Certificate of Return with the President, he said, “I don’t think that would have been necessary to do because it is a straight forward matter.
“INEC conducted the election, the Returning Officer declared the results and I won.
Only one week later to hear that somebody wrote a petition that he issued that declaration under duress.
The question is where, is it in his private house or is it at the Collation Centre.
“If it is at the Collation Centre, SSS (Department of State Services) were there, Police were there, International Observers, INEC officials, EO (Electoral Officer) were there.
So, who actually put him under duress? The man has not been able to say that and nobody has made a statement about that. “So, I think INEC will like to do the right thing very very soon.
And in the same way, the governorship candidate of PDP in Imo state never won that election because the election flaunted section 179 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which says that you must have the highest votes and you must have twenty five percent in two-third of the local government.
“Now this gentleman who was declared the winner by the same INEC had 135,000 votes from 24 local governments but one hundred and thirty something thousand votes from his three local government.
Of course you know he didn’t win the election.
“But even at that, we had the highest mark, the Returning Officer of INEC never had the patient to even calculate to know that there were two hundred and thirty thousand votes where elections did not take place, where there is supposed to be a retain and also flaunting that basic Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which says you must have twenty five percent in two third, he doesn’t have it.
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