A leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Imo State, Evangelist Tony Grey Okpe has said that the APC governorship candidate in the last general election, Senator Hope Uzodinma won the election in the state, but was rigged out.
In an interview with Sunday Sun, Okpe, who before he decamped to the APC was the senatorial aspirant for Imo East under the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), is optimistic that the tribunal would give the APC governorship candidate the mandate the people of Imo gave to him during the March 9 polls. He also spoke on other issues. Excerpt:
We know you were to participate in the last senatorial election in Imo State, but later backed down, so how would you describe the governorship election in the state?
Yes, I was a senatorial aspirant for Imo East in the 2019 general election under the All Progressives Grand Alliance. But when it became crystal clear to some of us that APGA, under Chief Victor Ike Oye as national chairman, had changed from a political party to a Ponzi scheme, I and my supporters decamped to the All Progressives Congress and were formally welcomed by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Dan Anyiam Stadium in Owerri. Subsequently, I was appointed director in APC Campaign Council in Imo State. So, from this background, you will agree with me that I have the competence to talk on the election in Imo State. I want to tell you authoritatively as an insider that the APC and Senator Hope Uzodinma made stellar performance in that election, but the Independence National Electoral Commission (INEC)conspired with the PDP to manipulate the results in favour of the PDP.
Do you mean that the APC instead of the PDP won the guber election in Imo?
That is a matter of fact. Elections are won and lost in the polling booths. APC won convincingly with more than 300,000 votes in Imo. What really happened in the state was massive suppression of votes accruable to APC in Imo State by INEC in favour of PDP. The matter is now in the tribunal and the truth would be proven soon. For example, in my ward, Irete-Orogwe – in Owerri West Local Government Area, APC won with more than 4,000 votes. What INEC did was to connive with the PDP and then refused to collate the ward result in their EC8B Form, which is the ward collation form. They moved all the results to the local government headquarters at Umuguma. It was at the local government headquarters at Umuguma that they filled the form EC8.The question is why didn’t INEC collation officer collate EC8B at St Peter`s School Irete, which is our ward collation centre? The answer is simple. The INEC collation officer at the collation centre at Irete compromised with PDP. The same thing happened statewide. But unknown to INEC and PDP collaborators, APC agents in the booths and wards collation centres have copies of the results.
If that was the case, why did APC come fourth in the guber election as declared?
That was, according to INEC, in Imo. But the truth will be exposed at the tribunal that is going on in Owerri. Nigerians will be shocked about the massive suppression of APC votes and results in the last governorship election in Imo State.
There was the belief that Owerri zone should produce governor in APC, what happened?
That is very correct. You are aware that I come from Owerri zone and I was at the forefront of Oweri zone for governor. I led the battle when I was in APGA, but when I decamped to APC, Okorocha who was the sitting governor insisted that his son-in-law must succeed him as governor. You are aware that his son-in-law is from Nkwere, which is in the same Orlu zone where Okorocha comes from. Okorocha`s greed overwhelmed him that he could not see anybody fit from Owerri zone to succeed him. Even Prince Eze Madumere, his deputy, who was like a brother to him for over 25 years. In order to stop Okorocha from picking the APC governorship ticket for his son-in-law, Senator Hope Uzodinma had to forgo his ambition of returning to the Senate and joined the battle for the APC governorship ticket in Imo State. If Okorocha had chosen somebody from Owerri zone for the governor, Senate Uzodinma would not have ran for governor. Senate Uzodinma believed that it was the turn of Owerri zone to occupy the Douglas House, but in order to stop Okorocha, he had to threw his hat into the ring. If not for his resources and contacts, Okorocha would have had his way.
So, how do you see the role that Okorocha played in Imo during the election?
Okorocha decimated APC in Imo because of his greed. But Imolities of different shades led by Senator Uzodinma, Prince Madumere, Ochudo Martin Agbaso, Senator Osita Izunaso, Toe Ekechi, Sir Barthos Nwadike, Chief Gibson Achonwa Njemanze, Barr. Kingsley Onunuju, Chief Charles Amadi, Barr. Kelechi Nwagwu, Chief Obiri Uzoha and many more dealt a knock out blow to Okorocha and his in-law, Uche Nwosu. Okorocha is like Ahab in the book of Kings in the Bible. He plundered all that came his way in Imo State and ended up disgraced. A leader who cannot appoint his replacement is a failure. Posterity will be harsh on Okorocha and his family.
What do you think would happen at the tribunal?
Well, the matter is at the tribunal and we expect the court to render justice without fear or favour. I am confident that when all the facts are tendered and examined by the tribunal, and higher courts, APC will be declared the winner of Imo State governorship 2019.
Do you have any message for Imolites
My message to Imolites is for them to be patient and remain law abiding, while the tribunal do their job. They should give maximum support to the governor on the saddle while waiting for the tribunal to give its judgment. Every day is for the thief, but one day is for the owner of the house. APC 383 ward results were omitted in Imo governorship election and it will not go in vain .The votes of Imolites who voted for APC must count. In fact, truth cannot be killed, but can only be suppressed for a while.The authentic governorship result of the March 9, election in Imo must count. Okorocha masterminded a political ambush for Imo APC and unfortunately, we fell into the trap. I have written immediately after the unpopular announcement of the result in favour of Imo PDP, that APC will reclaim her mandate in a short while because the result announced cannot withstand judicial scrutiny. I still stand by my political postulation and position that Distinguished Senator Hope Uzodinma is the governor of Imo in waiting. Senator Uzodinma was genuinely voted by the majority of Imolites in the last governorship election in Imo State. However, instead of Okorocha and his son-in-law becoming governor of Imo State, let the PDP hold power, albeit temporarily. Okorocha has been brought to his knees. He even crawled into the Red Chamber. Okorocha is a modern day Ahab, the ancient king of Israel whose reign was brutish and evil. I sincerely urge Imolites to keep faith with Senator Hope Uzodinma as he who laughs last laughs best. Imo State shall bounce back again soon.