George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Imo, Senator Hope Uzodinma, has said Governor Rochas Okorocha has underestimated how unpopular he has become in the state.
Uzodinma made the statement following Okorocha’s claims that the party will lose the state and five million votes in the South East for denying his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, the governorship ticket of the party in the 2019 governorship election.
This was just as the senator said the only reason the APC would win in the state is his being the governorship candidate of the party, and that governor Okorocha’s membership of the party was, indeed, a minus.
In a statement, yesterday, by his Director of Media and Special Duties, Declan Emelumba, Uzodinma said the only reason why APC is back on track in Imo, and set to sweep all the elections in 2019, is because of his emergence as the governorship candidate of the party in the state.
He described Okorocha’s membership of the party as a big minus and said contrary to the governor’s empty claim, if his son-in-law had won the APC governorship ticket in Imo, it would have been the surest ticket to the total defeat of APC in the state.
He said: “Okorocha has run for many elections, including the governorship of Imo State, before 2011, and even the presidency, and lost all. But, in 2011, in particular, Imo people voted more against former governor Ikedi Ohakim than for Okorocha, so, he merely benefitted from the anger of the people against Ohakim.
“Even at that, the election went into a bi-election, where Ohakim was finally manipulated out of the race and Okorocha became governor. Also, in 2015, Okorocha, as incumbent governor, could not win outright on first ballot.
“The election was concluded on a second ballot, where some aggrieved PDP members helped, again, to manipulate him into the governorship.”
Uzodima further said he defeated Okorocha’s political party in Imo West Senatorial District in 2011 and 2015, even as governorship candidate and incumbent governor, respectively.
“I think this is more than enough evidence that in terms of popularity, Senator Uzodinma is far more popular than Okorocha in Imo West (the biggest senatorial district in Nigeria) where both come from.
“The truth of the matter is that all strata of Imo society are celebrating Uzodinma’s victory as the APC governorship candidate and this has brought them back on track to vote massively for APC in 2019.
“Uzodinma’s popularity in Imo State is infectious and it will not only guarantee victory for APC, but will rake in far more than five million votes for the APC from the South East in 2019. So, let no one be deceived by Okorocha’s boast because he is the problem of APC in Imo State and the South East.”