Imo State Governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha
By Chuks Okocha
Imo State Governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha, may not seek a second term in office as he is warming up to run for the presidency in 2015.
Okorocha had vied for the nation’s topmost political post twice before running for the governorship election in 2011 on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
Okorocha’s deputy, Mr. Eze Madumere, at a press briefing Wednesday in Abuja, confirmed the presidential ambition of his principal who ran for the post in 2003 and 2007.
However, the governor, this time, will be jockeying to get the ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC), a coalition of the nation’s three major parties, which he has identified with.
In 2003, he was one of the presidential aspirants of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) but pulled out of the party in the run up to the 2007 general election to form the Action Alliance on whose ticket he vied for the presidency.
Okorocha has been at loggerheads with some political stakeholders in the state over whether he would seek a second term in office as they claim that he reached an agreement with the stakeholders not to seek re-election.
Madumere, at the press conference in Abuja, said: “I can tell you it is no secret. Everyone knows that Rochas Okorocha ran one of the best races towards Aso Villa in 2002/2003 and 2007. So, as I speak to you, it has not left his mind. His Excellency will like to take another shot. Of course, as a Nigerian, he has every right to run for any office.
“Whether he operates from APGA or APC, it does not matter; he can only follow the trail."
He expressed optimism that the merging political parties have the capacity to win the 2015 general election, saying, "What constitutes the electoral college of this nation are the north-west and south-west. But if you look at the electoral college in the north, they brought the ANPP and the CPC. Whether you like it or not, the CPC will stay. When you go to the west, we have the ACN.”
Madumere explained that PDP has not made any political impact in the south-east, stating that the poor performance of the party in the zone had made it less attractive.
“When you go to the south-east, the PDP has made the area politically useless. All the promises the president made prior to his election, not one of them has been kept. Now, who are people looking up to keep all these promises? That man is Rochas Okorocha," he added.
On the criticism by the PDP Imo State chapter that the APGA-led administration under Okorocha has no concrete projects to show for the funds it has received, Madumere dismissed it as one done in bad faith.
"Well, in Imo, it is the more you look, the more you see. We do not engage in trickery, because with us it is whatever you see that you get. Labaran Maku is the Minister of Information. During his Good Governance Tour, if you heard him, he said in Abuja, they told him that ‘Imo is not working, Imo is not working', but Imo is working! He said it, but some people were not happy that he did.
“However, he was confessing to what he was seeing on the ground. Not everything the governor has done was done by the people in Abuja, because if it were left to them alone, he would not be governor of Imo State. He was elected by the common people of Imo State, not those in Abuja.
“Other states award contracts every month, but we don’t do that, because we have done all that before now. We are in the process of consolidation at present. We make futuristic budgets every year and control our recurrent expenditure.
“Today, I stand to say that there is no government in Imo State which left an abandoned project that has not been completed by us, except the flyover at Amakohia-Akpakuma.
"So when people say these things, I laugh, because I was there and I know what happened. That’s why I will defend it with anything I have,” he said.