From Kenneth Udeh, Abuja
Former Governor of Imo State Senator Rochas Okorocha (APC – Imo West) has expressed his intention to focus on tackling poverty and developmental issues in Nigeria. Sen Okorocha spoke of uniting the country by keeping it apace of the development strides of developed countries.
The senator stated this Monday when he played host to the National Assembly Progressive Media Aides (NAPMAIDES), who visited him at his Abuja office to felicitate with him on his 59th birthday anniversary with the theme “Rochas @ 59: Peaceful Co-existence”, which was concluded on Sunday night.
NAPMAIDES, a group that comprises parliamentarians in both Chambers of National Assembly elected under the platform the ruling All Progressive’s Congress (APC), was led by its Chairman Oyelude Oladele.
‘I am pleased with this association,’ Sen Okorocha said. ‘When I see young men and women like you I see the new Nigeria. This is what I am looking forward to and when I see different tribes coming together in association, it really assures me about the unity of this country. I have also come to realise that Nigeria can never divide and Nigeria will never come to an end.
‘The earlier we come together and make a decision to make this country better, the better it is for all of us. I am more concerned about making this country great and about Nigeria catching up with developed countries of the world. So, I’m not into this petty thing of where you come from, I am a citizen of humanity,’ Okorocha stated.
Speaking further the senator stated: ‘If someone boards a plane no one asks about which tribe captain is from, all that matters is the safe arrival to their destination. The issue is poverty, and rather than face poverty we are busy talking about issues of sentiments.
‘I am happy that you are together. Let’s build Nigeria, let’s make this country great and we must do it and it’s more for you young ones than ours. Because in a few years to come we shall be considered very old.
‘We want to make sure this country is good for you. I am not talking about issues of where you come from, I’m talking about what we can do to catch up with Dubai, the US and China and that’s where my focus is.’
Sen Okorocha also spoke on his foundation and said he initiated it out of his love for humanity, stressing that he ventured into politics in order to help the underprivileged. Okorocha noted that he has been beaten, arrested and received insults due to his involvement in politics.
‘Twenty-four years ago when I started the ROCHAS foundation, I had the vision to create a new generation of Nigerians that will unite Nigerians, Africa and make the continent and this country big. The rewards have not yet started coming but they will come soon.
‘Most of these children I don’t know and I’ve never met them. What moved me is poverty and 75% of them are orphans and in Nigeria, we have over 25,000 of these children.
‘The wealth and other privileges we have are not for us only but should be used to help someone else and that’s my dream. I am not a good politician; if not for my zeal to help the less privileged, have no business in politics. I would have preferred to be in the class of businessmen where I used to do very well and enjoy my life,’ he said.
‘I’ve received insults, been beaten, arrested and all that is nothing but for the well being of society. But I don’t want Nigeria to be looked down upon by any nation and that’s what makes me go crazy and people don’t understand me; they think I’m a conventional politician. Meanwhile, I don’t know how to attend day or nocturnal meetings and I don’t belong to anyone. So, we shall continue to pray for the betterment of this nation. As young people, I want to work for you. Time has changed and we must face the fact that it’s time for young people and I promise to partner with you people.’
Earlier in his address, Ag NAPMAIDES Chairman Oyelude commended Okorocha’s philanthropic efforts, saying that he had given hope to the hopeless through his free education programmes for indigent Nigerians and Africans.
The chairman, congratulating the senator on his birthday, expressed the readiness of the group to support the political ambition of the former governor.
‘What we saw that day was very incredible when we saw the number of students under your scholarship scheme. We appreciate you very much. You have been touching lives which is the greatest investment any human can embark on.
‘We thank you for the kind gesture you have given to the less privileged in society. And as far as your aspiration is concerned, we are aware of it and are in line with our mandate to support the political ambition of any progressive senator or representative at the National Assembly. We congratulate and assure you of our unalloyed support as long as you are still the Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and you are a progressive senator,’ Oyelude said.