2023: Okorocha’s New Gamble By Kizito Duru

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A former Governor of Imo State, now Senator representing Imo West, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, is once again in the news for giving hints about his imminent exit from the All Progressive Congress (APC) and plans to team with other politicians in the country to float another political party in the country. His reason is that people have hijacked the APC which he said was only formed for the purpose of stopping the monopoly of the PDP over power. 


Hear Okorocha: “I and other progressive-minded politicians are perfecting a plan to form a new political movement. The APC was a hurried arrangement. It was hurriedly formed to take power when the then government was drifting. The APC would have been better until people who were not members of the party; people who came for congratulatory messages, hijacked the party and became lords.”
Okorocha is not happy with the APC, both at the State and national levels. The former Governor is still nursing his wounds. He is yet to come to terms why the party refused to grant his wish of allowing his son in-law be the Imo State standard bearer of the party for governorship election in the last general election. A move Okorocha still sees as the main reason Uche Nwosu who later settled for the Action Alliance (AA) failed to win the election.

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Okorocha was among the governors who were against Oyegun completing his second term in office as the National Chairman of the APC. He galvanised other governors in the country to ensure Oshiomhole’s victory at the national convention of the party. But the victory was got even before the convention day as Oyegun stepped down his ambition and Oshiomhole emerged national chairman unopposed. Many, at that time thought that Okorocha supported Oshiomhole for the betterment of the party. Little did they know that he had concluded plans to hand over power of the State to his son in-law and needed an alliance with the national chairman to perfect it. 


When it was time to anoint a successor, Okorocha, against the advice of many stakeholders in Imo settled for his son in-law. That move has been considered to be uncontrolled appetite for power. Okorocha had felt that Adams Oshiomhole would reciprocate the support by throwing his weight behind Uche Nwosu. But Oshiomhole, a former National Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and served Edo State Governor for eight years, could have none of it. Having handed over to Obaseki, he knew that ceding the party’s ticket to Okorocha’s family would spell doom for the party in the State, hence he turned his back on the Ogboko born loquacious Okorocha.


At the State level, top members of the party were not in support of the Governor’s insistence on Uche Nwosu’s candidacy. Senators Ifeanyi Araraume, Osita Izunazo, Senator Hope Uzodimma and other top leaders of the party in the State, championed the internal opposition against the Governor’s move. Even former appointees of Okorocha, including Sir Jude Ejiogu and Sir George Etche, joined forces against the Governor. Yet Okorocha refused to heed the warning signals. At the end of the lengthy political and legal tussles, the decision of the party prevailed and Senator Hope Uzodimma won the ticket of the party in a primary election chaired by Ahmed Gulak. But Okorocha didn’t lose completely, as his senatorial ticket was given to him on a gold platter by the APC. 


When Hope Uzodimma became the candidate of the APC for Imo governorship, it was expected that Okorocha would throw his weight behind him, but that never happened. Rather the former governor’s political structure showed overt support for Uche Nwosu of AA all through the campaigns. Okorocha visibly campaigned for his in-law at the expense of his party which deservedly earned him a suspension from the National Working Committee of the APC. 


When the apex court returned Uzodimma as the duly elected Governor of Imo State, Okorocha in chameleon-like manner attempted to identify with the Uzodinma administration. But the Ọmụma born political juggernaut was no fool to allow a personality like Okorocha into his administration. 
Okorocha was not sincere in his support for the Governor. While he sat beside Gov Uzodimma at occasions, he refused to recognize Nlemigbo as the Chairman of the APC in the State. Okorocha would tell anyone that cared to listen that Dan Nwafor, whose leadership was dissolved by the National Working Committee, was the authentic Chairman of the party. Also his ‘illegal’ local government chairmen, sacked by Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha’s administration were threatening fire and brimstone should the Government not allow them to resume duty in their various local government headquarters. 
Of course, no Governor would tolerate such shenanigan from a former Governor that didn’t help his cause all the electioneering process. Had Uzodimma not been a sophisticated politician, Okorocha’s desire to play the godfather role in his administration would have worked. But Uzodimma didn’t tolerate his insincere and overbearing moves. This, the former Governor thinks is unfair to him considering that he is a founding member of the APC in the State. 


Contrary to Okorocha’s claim, no one has hijacked the APC in Imo State. Okorocha is not the only former governor that is in the senate. He should recognise that he represents just 12 out of the 27 LGAs of Imo State. His days as a Governor is over. He has failed to accept this reality.


The APC has been fair to Okorocha. First giving him the platform to win his reelection as a Governor and ensuring that he became a Senator afterwards. But he is insulting and ridiculing the party at every given opportunity. When there is no opportunity for such, he creates one by calling for a press briefing to paint the image of the party negatively. The Imo West Senator in his most recent statement implied that the President of Nigeria and leader of the APC, Mohammadu Buhari, has failed Nigerians. This was after he said that the APC is dead in Imo State. 


He said: “So, what we have is not the ideal thing. We have so many people who are not interested in working for the nation. For instance, if President Muhamamadu Buhari had surrounded himself with good people, the story would not be the same today.”


Okorocha hinted of his possible exit from the party when he commissioned a road in Rivers State on the invitation of Gov. Nyesom Wike. To further cement his words, Okorocha took to the press to say, “The movement for a new Nigeria has begun and we must come together, I mean progressive Nigerians, to make the country work,”


Okorocha is simply blackmailing the party. He either feels that being in the news every now and then increases his chances of being considered as a worthy presidential candidate of the party or that it would make his anticipated move to the PDP, where he intends to join forces with Wike, smoother. But all eyes are on the APC. Not a few expect the party to sanction the parroty lawmaker with expulsion or a suspension at least. It is obvious he knows that he has outlived his usefulness in the APC, both at the state and national levels, hence he has resorted to mind games.

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