From Angela Nkwo-Akpolu, Owerri
As the battle for the control of the Imo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) rages, Governor Rochas Okorocha has admitted that he abandoned the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) in 2014 at the risk of his second-term ticket.
Okorocha made the assertion in a statement signed by his spokesman, Sam Onwuemodo in Owerri, the Imo State capital.
According to him, he abandoned the supposed Igbo party and joined the merger that produced APC, and still won the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Emeka Ihedioha despite the support of a minister, Prof Viola Onwuliri.
He said: “We are talking about Rochas Okorocha who abandoned APGA said to be Igbo Party in 2014 and joined the merger that gave birth to APC at the risk of his second tenure, with all the Federal Ministers like Prof Viola Onwuliri, Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives and all the Federal Apparatuses working for the PDP Candidate, Chief Emeka Ihedioha in 2015, yet Rochas Okorocha defeated them through the ballot box”.
He stated that he won’t allow himself to be provoked by the disturbing and insulting activities from Sen Ifeanyi Araraume and other politicians in the State, saying he will finish strong.
According to the Governor, he will continue to exercise high level of tolerance which he has adopted since his emergence in 2011 when he became governor.
Okorocha said he had read reports about the protest allegedly spearheaded in Abuja by those he described as “the personal rag-tag aides of the make-ups of the so-called Coalition, and they called them Imo Youths. We have also read another publication equally by a motley group answering Imo Stakeholders, talking about Vote of no Confidence. Those in the sick Coalition are also those who constitute the stakeholders”, the statement read.
According to him, he won’t allow himself to be provoked by the disturbing and insulting activities of some politicians in the state who think that the best way to go this time is to make too much noise and insult the governor.
The Governor called on Nigerians to question the politicians why their activities revolves around Abuja, including the discovery of stolen materials for congress in a hotel; and the arrest of four suspects by the Police; saying they cannot carry out such in Imo State.
“The reported protest by their aides in Abuja and all they have been doing are in Abuja. The truth is that they cannot come into Imo State and do such things. Imo people do not know what they are doing”.
Speaking on the person of Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, Okorocha said, “we should not also forget that in 2011, Chief Ifeanyi Araraume was the governorship Candidate of ACN, while Chief Ikedi Ohakim, the incumbent then, was the Candidate of PDP, but Rochas Okorocha took APGA’s ticket and defeated them. Araraume came fourth and lost in his Isiala Mbano Local Government”.
Okorocha maintained that his achievements as Governor has exceeded the achievements of all those who had governed the state since its creation in 1976, put together, saying “in 2019 achievements will count a lot and noise making won’t count”.
“Rochas is going to finish very strong and by the grace of God and with the votes of Imo people, he is to see to the election of a worthy successor of his choice. He has more than one thousand verifiable projects to his credit. All these noise makers with some of them having multi-billion naira stores, courtesy of the money meant for their constituency projects when they were at the National Assembly, won’t fly in 2019”.
The Governor insisted that Imo State is calm, while the politicians are noisy in Abuja, they sneak into the State to avoid the wrath of the people saying “by 2019, the picture will become clearer for Nigerians to appreciate the magnitude of the love of Imo people for Rochas, who has reduced the poverty level in the state from 57% in 2011 to 19% in 2017.
Okorocha has been locked in an internal battle with his fellow party men over the conduct of congress in the APC.