So, when you see what happened to those who have been dinning and winning with Okorocha, nobody will tell you to run for your life. So, it has nothing to do with 2023. He worked together with Tinubu to ensure Adams Oshiomhole emerged National Chairman of APC. The question is, after working with Tinubu, did Okorocha ensure that they keep their secret? Did he work hard to ensure he had his own fair share of the deal? Tinubu had his own share? But trust Okorocha, he tried to turn Oshiomhole from a master he is into a slave he wanted him to be. These are some of the natural things the governor does that have natural consequences. Why will he be the one talking of 2023 now? What will happen to the party if we lose in 2019?
Most of the members of the coalition who wanted to be governor are now seeking to be governor on different political platforms. Has the coalition collapsed?
I will start by giving you the history of how the coalition was formed in Imo so that you will now appreciate whether there is a crack in the group or not. I’m proud to say that I’m the convener of the coalition. The coalition was convened on March 12, 2018 in my country home in Imerienwe and after deliberation, the 25 members who were about 80 percent appointees of the governor met and deliberated over the affairs in Imo and we made a declaration that if we don’t do something, a time will come when people will say there are no more men in the state when Okorocha reigned. The declaration is what is known as ‘Imerienwe declaration’, where we condemned him and sounded a note of warning to him that there was going to be a beginning and end to Okorocha impunity in the state. From 25, our membership continued to increase after every other meeting until we got to the level when the likes of Sen. Uwajumogu, Sen. Arararume, and Sen. Osita Izunaso, the deputy governor, the party chairman and others all joined. We came out with the truth and the coalition consolidated.
It is natural that people who have joined us have other personal interests. I want to assure you that all founding members of the group were men and women who have no other agenda, but that impunity must stop in Imo State. So, that core group is intact. Most of them who joined did so to reclaim Imo from Okorocha. So, over time, as the coalition gathered momentum, we increased in number. Arararume left the coalition because Oshiomhole who was seen as a man, who was committed, gave the party wholesale to Okorocha. Izunaso left also because he was badly treated by forces that ganged up against him championed by the same Rochas Okorocha to deny him a victory at the national convention as the National Organising Secretary of APC. But, in spirit we are together with one common goal irrespective of our personal ambition. That common agenda is that any other person can rule Imo State, but not Okorocha’s son-in-law or any of his appointees.
In your assessment, will Sen. Hope Uzodima make it?
Before I answer the question of the propriety of Sen. Hope Uzodima as governorship candidate of APC in Imo State or the morality of Hope emerging as my party candidate, let me first of all address Okorocha’s sin. He, who comes to equity, must come with clean hands.
In 2011, Okorocha was a top member of PDP; both at the state and national levels, but just few months to the general elections, Okorocha switched to APGA and snatched APGA’s ticket which eventually made him to be the governor. Not too long ago, as soon as the governor realised that his son in-law has lost the ticket of APC, Okorocha first of all went back to APGA, but there was no way. He went to PDP, they rejected him and he went to two other parties and they also rejected him. Finally, he secured ticket for his son in-law in Action Alliance (AA). This is a party he rejected before and abandoned.
For somebody with such history, who had benefitted so much from members of other political parties and won elections, what moral justification has he to question Hope? The case of Hope is nothing compared with that of the governor. Hope had joined APC and worked for the party for more than seven to eight months before he declared interest to contest for governorship. While Okorocha joined APGA less than three months before election and now less than two months to election he joined AA. When he came to PDP he did not come as a foundation member, so also was other parties also. He doesn’t have the moral right to question Hope joining APC and being its governorship candidate. It is not the intention of most of us including myself not to fly the flag of APC, but it turned out that Hope won through his own calculations. Hope did not win the primary with state government money; he did not win the primary by coaxing anybody in the state or by using state authority of a presiding governor or by using federal might from Abuja. Don’t forget that the man who is the National Organising Secretary of the party is a proxy of Okorocha. So, in spite of these obstacles, we got to a point where the result is either Hope or Uche Nwosu. It was natural in the circumstance that we stood against Uche Nwosu.
I foresee a situation where some of the candidates will ask their supporters to vote a particular candidate irrespective of political party by way of adoption to ensure that we don’t filter our votes by splitting the votes and allowing Uche Nwosu to having anything close to becoming governor. Should such arise, Imo people will go against Okorocha because it is Okorocha versus the people.