Governor Rochas Okorocha has urged the governorship candidates of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Hope Uzodinma; All Progressive Grand Alliance candidate (APGA), Ifeanyi Araraume, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) flag bearer, Emeka Ihedioha and the Accord Party governorship hopeful, Ikedi Ohakim to honourably resign from the race if they are afraid of him, rather than disparaging his name.
Okorocha accused the governorship candidates of “cheap blackmail.” He said: “It has become increasingly necessary to ask or advise some governorship candidates in the state especially Emeka Ihedioha, Hope Uzodinma, Ifeanyi Araraume and Ikedi Ohakim who have seen defeat staring them in the face to honourably withdraw from the gubernatorial race instead of resorting to cheap blackmail and petty lies against Governor Rochas Okorocha.
“We have read the press release by the campaign outfit of Chief Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP concerning the reported death of a young man in Oguta said to have been killed in cult-related clash. And you begin to wonder what connection the death of the young man had with the rally of the APC senatorial candidate for Orlu zone, Governor Okorocha in Oguta at the weekend.
“The PDP in the state and its gubernatorial candidate, Chief Ihedioha and a few other Candidates have seen that they would lose their deposits in the election in the state and have taken to blackmail.
Citing instances where his name was smeared, Governor Okorocha said: “A week ago too, when the house of the candidate of APGA for the House of Representatives for Oguta/Ohaji-Egbema/Oru-West constituency, Dr. Henry Okafor also from Oguta, was demolished by security agents following the judgement of the Supreme Court on the land he built the house, he, in the company with the APGA guber candidate, Chief Ifeanyi Araraume, told the world that it was Governor Okorocha and a staunch member of the Rescue Mission family, Kingsley Uju whot demolished the house.
“It took the Supreme Court judgement to be published by the other parties in the case for the truth to be unveiled. And he has not deemed it necessary to apologise for the false information he gave to the public.”
Further explaining instances where his name was maligned, he said: “Hope Uzodinma, few days ago said that the governor is owing banks N400 billion. Chief Araraume of APGA said he is owing N350 billion. Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP said the governor had borrowed more than N200 billion, while Ikedi Ohakim said it was N270 billion. Yet, the man they are talking about has told whoever cares to listen that he was not owing any bank.
“However, contrary to their claims, the governor has even challenged any bank within or outside the country he is owing to make it public. He has also challenged the candidates to publish their facts or at least mention the banks where these monies were taken, but has not been proved wrong by them.
Governor Okorocha claimed that the only reason they were making such frivolous claims was to see if they could discredit his monumental achievements.
He said: “They have been wondering how the governor has done more than 1,000 monumental and verifiable projects, including six Universities, without borrowing.
Governor Okorocha, however, lashed at the candidates, claiming that none of them can win election in the state through the ballot box.
According to Governor Okorocha who made the claims in a press statement he issued through his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, alleged that “Ihedioha was in the House of Representatives for 12 years by writing results in the 18 booths in his Mbutu ward. Uzodinma saw himself in the Senate through the court. Araraume won the only election in his life in 1999, about 20 years ago. Ohakim was carried on the back by Achike Udenwa to the Government House in 2007.
“This is the situation they have found themselves. And they think that they can use blackmail to reduce the popularity of Rochas in Imo. It is not possible.
“They also have problems with the fraudulent ways they all got their guber tickets. They stole the guber tickets of the parties they are holding their flags. And the owners of the parties left in anger, and they have become stranded. That is why they have no other message for Imo people than Okorocha did this or that.
“Finally, it has also become important to warn that they should not mistake the high level of tolerance on the part of Governor Okorocha as weakness. They should count their teeth with their tongues,” Governor Okorocha stated.