Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
Former Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha, has alleged that the recent utterance by the youth wing of Ohanaeze Ndigbo claiming he is not fit to be Nigeria’s president is a blackmail engineered by Governor Hope Uzodimma.
But he said that would not stop him if he eventually decides to run for the plum office.
But Governor Uzodimma, who responded through the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, said the former governor was only seeking relevance having lost confidence of citizens of the state after his eight years tenure.
“Was the report credited to Uzodimma, what blackmail is he talking about when the source of the story was quoted, he is only seeking relevance having failed the people of the state,” Uzodimma said.
Regardless, Okorocha maintained that the governor actually did it to puncture the pronouncement made by an Igbo group, Movement for the Actualisation of the Nigeria President of Igbo Extraction (MANPIE) that called on him to run for president in 2023.
The former governor, who disclosed this through a statement by his media, Sam Onwuemeodo, also advised the governor to concentrate on governance of the state instead of attacking him.
“Governor Uzodimma’s government was behind the blackmail in line with the script handed over to him by those who enlisted him against Okorocha, with regard to the 2023 presidency.
“Uzodimma has not committed himself to govern Imo State. He is only after Okorocha. He was behind the story of Okorocha being unfit to be Nigeria’s president.
“The governor had done that to puncture the pronouncement by eminent Igbo sons and daughters from the five South East states, operating under the aegis of MANPIE which stormed his Owerri residence on November 16, to urge him to run for the 2023 presidency and to inform him that they had adopted him as the consensus candidate for the position.
Also, the senator representing Imo West at the National Assembly condemned the demolition of the Somtochukwu Hospital which Okorocha built during his administration, even as he said that was part of Uzodimma’s ploy to distract the event of MANPIE.
He said: “The same Monday, while the meeting with MANPIE was in progress, Governor Uzodimma deployed caterpillars and pay-loaders to demolish one of Okorocha’s signature projects, the Somtochukwu Hospital, commissioned by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.
“The governor did that to distract Okorocha from the meeting. And we are talking about a government that has continued to stagger for almost 11 months now.
“Governor Uzodimma had before that day also demolished one of the tunnels built by Okorocha. And this is a government that has not been able to meet any of its financial obligations. A government that has not been able to fill one pothole. A government that is only existing on few whatsApp platforms.
“And if after all the consultations and Okorocha decide to run for the 2023 presidency, he would do that because the issue is not Ohanaeze president but Nigeria president. And Okorocha would like to be the Nigeria president of Igbo extraction and not Igbo president.”
While challenging the governor on his achievements so far, Okorocha said: “Let Governor Uzodimma publish what he has done with the Federal Allocations, local government allocations, ISOPADEC funds and IGR in 11 months and let us publish what Okorocha was able to achieve within the same period when he held sway as governor. This is the best way to go. And not hide and seek game.
“The government in Imo should reduce the war fronts. The government is fighting everybody and every institution. Arresting, detaining and arraigning Imo citizens at random. Imo is not known for all these. The governor should change style and be focused.”
On the Somotochukwu hospital demolition, Uzodimma said: “Who were the complainants when the place was demolished, did the doctors and nurses complain if that place was truly a hospital, it is just a hideout for criminals.”