- Says posterity will judge Oshiomhole, Uzodimma
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, has said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) lacks the power to unseat him as the elected senator to represent Imo West senatorial district.
This is coming as the governor has also stated that the National Chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomhole, and the party’s governorship candidate, Senator Hope Uzodimma, should be blamed for the inability of the party to win the governorship election.
The embattled governor, who is also the chairman of APC Governors Forum, blamed his predicament on the unfolding tussle for the principal officers of incoming National Assembly as well as the 2023 presidency.
Okorocha, who addressed a press conference in Abuja yesterday, alleged that some persons within the APC circle were out to cripple him politically before the 2023, vowing that nobody can thwart his political ambition.
He traced his travails in APC, including his recent suspension, to an orchestrated plot to make him politically irrelevant beginning from the party primaries and now the just concluded general election.
According to him, “I understand that people are beginning to fight a war for the future now when we are not even there yet, and I am surprised that INEC is being used as an instrument for those who find it politically difficult to achieve what they want to do.
“The idea is that, do not give Rochas a certificate; you must slow him down until after they have elected the presiding officer then you can let him come in so that he does not become anything and make sure that his candidate for governorship does not win and then make sure that he is crippled politically before 2023. That is what is happening, and it is very childish.”
Also speaking on what must have led to his predicament, Okorocha said he was at a loss why INEC did not include him among those issued with certificate of return or deem it feat to give reasons for its action.
“I am told from the grapevine that it was because of duress. In other words, somebody must have coerced the returning officer to do what he was not supposed to do, but here again, I do not understand what that means because there was nothing of such. How can you put somebody on duress to declare you the winner of an election that you have already won? Also, they are not saying that we did not win. They are not saying that the other man won.
“So, I do not understand why we should be the ones forcing someone to do something wrong to claim victory. It is not true but I must let the world understand that this is a game that is being played. The state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) is playing a script and the script is so funny, it is so cruel and crude, and they are executing it in a funny way,” he said.
The governor, who expressed disgust at the turn of events, said the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, has an urgent task of reversing most of the anomalies witnessed during the election in the state.
He said failure to right the wrongs would have very negative impact on the image of the country.
Okorocha described his absence at the presentation of certificate of return and the circumstances around it as funny.
He said: “I was conspicuously absent from the certificates issuance ceremony. I was not there because INEC has removed my name from the list of senators having been declared the winner by the zonal returning officer.
“So, I am actually waiting to hear why INEC struck my name out. I think probably, INEC must be trying to do something special because I understand once results have been declared and returns made, then you are bound to be issued a certificate of return, but to have exempted me, I am in darkness as to what was the reason why I was not invited to collect my certificate of return.
While raising issues with the outcome of the state governorship election in which the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Emeka Ihedioha, was declared the winner, Okorocha alleged that the results from three local government areas in Mbaise zone were inflated to conjure victory for PDP.
He noted that from his own account, the governorship election was clearly won by the candidate of the Action Alliance (AA), Uche Nwosu.
Okorocha faulted the emergency of the PDP’s candidate as winner of the governorship election, saying he didn’t meet the constitutionally required spread of 18 local government areas in the stat
Meanwhile, Okorocha has also stated that the National Chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomhole, and the party’s governorship candidate, Senator Hope Uzodimma, should be blamed for the inability of the party to win the governorship election.
He said posterity would judge the two for their alleged roles in the election.
In a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Sam Onwuemeodo in Owerri , the governor alleged that Uzodinma worked for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the just concluded elections.
He said Uzodimma was one of the first to celebrate with the PDP candidate, Chief Emeka Ihedioha, after he was declared the winner of the election, citing a video of the two contestants as proof of his guilt.
“We had maintained that Chief Uzodinma was just a mole in the APC and today, the governorship election in the state and its outcome has obviously vindicated us, aside from the fact that a video of Chief Uzodinma’s celebration with Ihedioha has gone viral on the social media.”
He also alleged that Uzodimma succeeded in the alleged plot by ensuring only his supporters were made agents of the party, adding that his target was to destroy APC in the South-east.
“Chief Uzodinma succeeded through Adams Oshiomhole to ensure that only his supporters were made agents of the party, from the list he sent from Abuja to the Independent National Electoral Commission.
“Unfortunately, none of Uzodinma’s and Oshiomhole’s approved agents were seen either at the ward, local government or at the state level; they didn’t care about the election and its outcome.
“At the end of the day, the APC candidate came fourth. And he has been celebrating with the PDP candidate.”
“Their target as it has been shown now is to totally destroy APC in the South-East and in Imo in particular, thereby authenticating the claim in some quarters that it is all about 2023.
“We had equally maintained the contention that Imo people would not vote for Uzodinma because they know him very well, but Oshiomhole refused to listen.
“He came fourth and never showed that he took part in the election; posterity and history will judge Oshiomhole and Uzodinma over the fate of APC in the South-East, especially in Imo State,” Okorocha said.