•Imo gov frustrated –Ex-deputy speaker
..He’s worse than prodigal son – APGA chair
…Party seeking relevance –CPS
Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka; George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
Former deputy speaker of House of Representatives and a frontline governorship aspirant, Emeka Ihedioha, has described Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, as “a frustrated man, who has suddenly realised he has no positive footprints in the sands of history.”
Governor Okorocha had, while addressing newsmen on Democracy Day, allegedly described Emeka Ihedioha, alongside other notable politicians in the state, who had declared their ambition to govern the state in 2019, as selfish persons who have nothing to offer, but after the treasury of the state.
However, the erstwhile deputy speaker said the attack on his person by the Imo governor was ostensibly an attempt to divert public attention from his abysmal performance as governor in the last seven years.
Reacting through his media aide, Chibuike Onyeukwu, yesterday, the former deputy speaker said: “It is regrettable that Governor Okorocha, on a remarkable day Nigerians were reflecting on our democracy and nationhood, again, engaged, shamelessly, in a failed attempt to divert the attention of Imolites and Nigerians at large, from his widely acknowledged abysmal performance since he assumed office in 2011.
And while his colleagues were presenting their scorecards for the period under review, Okorocha, for the past seven years, has, absolutely nothing tangible to show, except laughable statues and shambolic projects, despite receiving trillions of naira on behalf of the state.
“Governor Okorocha’s statement is not only laughable, but a mere smear campaign and, indeed, an acknowledgement that truly, he is losing sleep over the massive goodwill, increasing popularity and overwhelming grassroots appeal the 2019 governorship bid of Emeka Ihedioha enjoys across the state.”
Onyeukwu further pointed out that it is a statement of fact that, unlike the governor who has conducted himself despicably, the former deputy speaker has acquitted himself with distinction, in all the high positions he has held over the years, resulting in the manner he has earned the respect of Imolites and, indeed, Nigerians across board.
Meanwhile, National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Victor Oye, yesterday, said his party has rejected alleged move by Okorocha to return to APGA “because the motive was not sincere.”
Speaking for the first time on the reports that the Imo governor approached the party leaders and allegedly offered N3 billion for him to be readmitted into the party, but was rejected by APGA, Oye said he was not aware of the said monetary inducement, but, confirmed that Okorocha was rejected by the party “because he has lost credibility and worse than a prodigal son.”
Further describing the governor as an “unrepentant sinner”, the APGA national chairman said though the Imo State chief executive, who became governor with the ticket of APGA before he moved to All Progressives Congress (APC), did not approach him personally, he reliably gathered that he went to some leaders of the party.
But, in a swift reaction, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Okorocha, Sam Onwuemedo, said APGA was merely using the mention of Okorocha to get relevance, stressing that the governor left with the soul of APGA.
He said as a foundation member of a mega party like the APC, Okorocha could not, by any imagination, start negotiating with a mushroom party that has no structure in Imo state for anything.
However, Oye, who spoke to newsmen in his Amawbia country home, Awka South Local Government Area of Anambra State, said: “An Igbo proverb says a man who refused to join a ship cannot say he was chased away from the ship. Rochas chased himself away from the APGA ship, and I can tell you that he can never be a member of the party again.
“He won his governorship seat on the platform of APGA, but he took away our members and our mandate and joined APC. He started well in Imo, but immediately he left APGA, he lost vision.
“He is worse than the prodigal son, and that is why we refused to take him back. He was not sincere with his return. He is an unrepentant sinner and APGA cannot take such a man. He is only coming to APGA because his APC ship had left him.”
Oye stressed that fielding Okorocha in 2011 was a mistake by APGA because of the hasty need to change the Ikedi Ohakim government, which caused the party not to run a thorough background check on him.
He said, “He does not fit into APGA. He is not a team player; he acts like Lord of the manor. He is not charismatic, he is not credible either. That is why you see even his fellow governors rejoicing when he was sidetracked by his party men recently.”
On 2019 election, the national chairman vowed that APGA would reclaim Imo state which it won in 2011, assuring the party this time had set in place mechanisms to ensure that a credible personality emerges as candidate.
He said, “As you can see, we are already working. We will hold a very credible primary election in Imo to ensure that the best candidate emerges. We had 20 aspirants there last month, but right now we have 14 aspirants. Six of them have dropped and we are confident that the best would become our candidate.”
Meanwhile, Okorocha’s media aide, Onwuemedo in his reaction on telephone said as a foundation member of a mega party like the APC, Okorocha could not by any imagination start negotiating with a mushroom party that had no structure in Imo state for anything.
He said, “Why can’t these APGA people do their politics without calling Okorocha? You see Okorocha had become a brand in Nigeria politics that anybody who wants to get credibility must mention his name either in the positive or negative.
“If APGA does not know what to do again to be relevant they should wind up and join APC instead of trying to be busy and want to noticed by calling Okorocha’s name. Okorocha left with the soul of APGA, and that was the end of the party in Imo state.