By Romanus Ugwu
ABUJA – The immediate past governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, has predicted that the All Progressives Congress (APC) party will die a natural death after the exit of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Speaking to newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday, the senator representing Imo West Senatorial District insisted that the challenges rocking the ruling party required brutal uprooting of its leadership.
He lamented that he got evil reward after investing so much in the party, stressing that he was instrumental to the emergence of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as the national chairman and almost lost his governorship ticket for campaigning with the name of President Buhari in the South East.
He further hinted that the Action Alliance (AA) candidate for the 2019 Imo State governorship election, Uche Nwosu, would rejoin the APC, if he won the ticket through legal means.
Commenting specifically on his feeling about the treatment the ruling party melted to him he said: “My party has not treated me well. APC has not treated me well. I got evil reward for my commitment to the course of APC.
“I brought APC to the South East as a governor and I also brought APGA because I came from APGA to APC. And that is literarily saying that I don’t associate with what my locals believe because I saw the light that we are better off in a national party than a local party.
“If you recall, I was called all sorts of names like Okoro Hausa and that I was building mosques and all that were associated with it but I kept deaf ears because I felt that I was on the right course with my people. I was instrumental to bringing Adams Oshiomhole as national chairman of the APC and that fact he cannot deny.
“I took the troubles of APC in the South East and I was about the only candidate that the name Muhammadu Buhari became a bad story for my campaign unlike those from the North.
“Because anybody that became a governor from the North rode on the name Buhari but we from the South East, the name Buhari was a minus and I went through this and never betrayed and I stayed with Buhari.
“And the APC but unfortunately at the end of it all, the same APC never stood by me and worked against me first by destroying my local party and imposing candidates, bringing people who fought me when I joined APC in 2015, making them champions in the party that I formed.
“A typical example is what the PDP and Emeka Ihedioha are doing now.
“APC, the party I see now, can easily tell Ihedioha to come to the APC if only he can fight Rochas. That is really an unfortunate situation and it has weakened my spirit and my faith to the party APC, because I thought we are a family working to advance the course of this nation.
“The way it is going, it does not look like there will be a solution. And there seems to be silence everywhere. I don’t even know my stand about my suspension because for sometime, I don’t even know what is happening in APC.
“But for the silence all over, it just made it as if it is normal. So, I am just waiting and thinking of what next to do, but I am still a member of APC and I love the party and will support it,” he noted.
Asked if he nursed any plans of leaving APC, he replied: “I have never thought of leaving the party. I felt that time will take care of most things. But my only worry, like I said before, is that the party, APC may disappear with the exit of President Buhari because for the moment, Buhari seems to be the strongest pillar now upon which this party is built – on the basis of his reputation and for the fact that the North still remains the major decider in Nigeria politics.
“If nothing is done to correct these injustices in our party at the national level, then, my fears are this party might disappear with Buhari’s exit.
“Our party is already busy thinking about the presidency in 2023 and not supporting the issue of governance which is what we have right now and the score of our party or the assessment of our party depends on what we have done with governance and what we have done with politics.
“That are some of the problems we have and thinking that being APC is a platform to catch political power but Nigerians will judge you on the basis of what you have done as a government before they can decide what to do with you in 2023.
“So, that has been the issue and people have begun to zone where the president will come from and where he will not come from, leaving the issue of governance. So, that are some of the challenges we have as a party but I hope that it will be addressed. However, that cannot be complete unless we do some surgical movement in the leadership of the party.”
On what the party should do to give him sense of belonging, he said: “I really don’t know what to expect. Like I said, I have not left the party, I am still a member of APC but there are certain things that go on with the party that don’t go down well with me.
“They are against some of my principles in life. I hate injustice and that is why any time I see injustice rear its ugly head, people tend to fight naturally; not even when it concerns me, even when it concerns any other Nigerian. I hate injustice and this is one of my challenges. As I said before, time will tell as to what the party will look for.
“For instance, if the party says it has suspended me, I don’t know what I have done to merit being suspended from a party I funded and worked for. So, if I am suspended by the party what should I do? Will I force myself back to the party if they say I am suspended?
“I am just folding my hands and watching the developments – what is going on in my party. There is nothing else the party can do to me; the worse the party can do has been done because today, only the grace of God can bring back (the candidate of) AA in Imo State as governor and if it happens, they will quickly go back to APC because that is where they naturally come from. It is injustice that took them out of APC.
“So, if Uche Nwosu wins his governorship ticket, he will go back to APC; that is his natural home.
“But for what I have done, we have cleaned up South East for APC especially Imo State. My only grouse with the party is that it is already thinking of 2023 rather than how to support President Buhari to achieve his immediate promises of people to Nigeria.
“Unfortunately, the party has found itself too large and too great, making the same mistake that PDP made by thinking that they have arrived and so nothing matters any more as they can do the undo and change the unchangeable and shake the unshakeable.
“Once a party has that mentality, it is going for a downfall, so we must be careful not to toe this line and know that we have masses that we must be accountable to and let justice reign at all cost and those who ought to speak must speak because silence sometimes is also destructive,” he warned. (The Sun)