ohakimFormer governor of Imo State, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, speaks with select journalists in his country home, Okohia in Isiala Mbano Local Government Area of the state on Sundry national issues.

In or out of office, former governor of Imo State re­mains controversial as ever. He however refused to be pinned down on his ambi­tions for 2019.

He simply said: “2019 is still far. Life is more important. We have to ask God for life first. The solution to Imo is simple, but Imo politicians will never come together to solve it. Every politician is an incurable optimist; we have to differentiate between chaff and wheat.

Condemning the incum­bent governor, Rochas Okorocha’s plan to install another Orlu man as gov­ernor in 2019 against the spirit of the zoning arrange­ment which makes it manda­tory for the governorship to be rotated among the three senatorial zones of the state, Ohakim said that there was nothing wrong in an Orlu man contesting for governor in 2019, adding: “Yes an Orlu man can aspire to be gover­nor in 2019, but he can win the war and not win the price.

“But another Orlu man for governor in 2019 is greed and insensitive to the sensibility of Imo people. Okigwe zone for governor in 2019 is best for Imo charter of equity. If Okigwe zone does not com­plete its tenure which was truncated in 2011, it would be unfair. Look if an Orlu or Owerri zone person becomes governor in 2019, it would take Okigwe zone another 16 years to produce governor.”

Wondering why journalists were asking him his com­ment on the 50-year age limit set by Governor Okorocha, Ohakim said: “Don’t you know that Okorocha is a co­median? He’s very good as a master of ceremony. He is a very good M.C. He is a very lawless man. Does he have re­spect for the constitution?

“You should ask me about what the constitution says about the criteria to vie for the governorship election and not what an M.C said. Look at how Okorocha has destroyed Owerri zone. Look at how he disgraced Sir Jude Ejiogu out of office. He does not know how the flyovers look like. Do you know that the fly-overs are five?”

On his future electoral move, the former governor said why shouldn’t he com­plete his eight year tenure? He said: “Emeka Ihedioha was in government for 16 years – four years of appoint­ment and 12 years of elective position. Ifeanyi Araraume had eight years. Achike Ud­enwa was governor and Ro­chas Okorocha will complete eight years by 2019. So why will my own be different?”

He said that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, failed at the 2015 election because the party’s primary election was not free and fair. He said: “Impunity reigned supreme. Ihedioha and Araraume rigged the election against me. They brought people from Ihiala in Anambra State to rig me out. I won the elec­tion, but was denied the tick­et.

“Do you know that a promi­nent Imo traditional ruler led a delegation to me, urging me to run a joint ticket with my political son, Ihedioha, but Ihedioha refused. The idea was for me to round off my tenure and start positioning him after two years to take over from me.

“He thought he would have his way through. Do you know that the PDP candidate for the 2015 governorship election did not even win Owerri zone? He won only in six local government areas, out of the 27 local councils in the state. What it means is that he did not even win Owerri zone where he comes from.”

On the crisis rocking Imo PDP presently, the former governor said the impunity and injustice that killed PDP in Imo in 2015 has started again, describing the Imo PDP caretaker committee as a 419 arrangement, a coup between two persons from Owerri zone.

He said: “We agreed that PDP Exco would not be con­stituted till after the Okigwe zone re-run election, so that it would not cause dishar­mony in the party. But Kema Chikwe and Ihedioha con­nived with Uche Secondus, who everybody knew was go­ing out, to quickly constitute the 419 caretaker committee.

“It is a failed coup. In Imo state, PDP has no advantage over other smaller parties, because we don’t have the President or even the gov­ernor. The same thing that made us to lose the 2015 gov­ernorship election has started again: impunity and injustice.

“They are busy building structures while the party is dying. Look at the kangaroo caretaker committee, only two persons are from Okigwe zone and you say that PDP is ready to win Imo in 2019?

“You want to constitute a caretaker committee and you did not consult a political leader like Ohakim? A po­litical party everybody aban­doned and I single-handedly rebuilt between 2007 and 2011 and made it attractive and very formidable. They did not consult a two-time former governor of the state, Chief Udenwa from Orlu zone, they did not consult a former deputy governor, Ada Okwuonu from Owerri zone. Let the caretaker committee come and seat now, let us see.”

Ohakim declared that an Okigwe zone governor for 2019 is what the state needs, adding that such will bring peace and usher in political balance.

He said: “Okigwe zone must and should be encouraged to complete its truncated ten­ure. We are still infants in democracy, so we must rotate power. We are yet to get it right. Owerri zone cannot be governor without addressing the injustice it did to Okigwe zone. “Okorocha never won the election, it was rigged. I have to complete my tenure. I forgot something in Govern­ment House. I forgot the Imo master plan in Government House. I forgot the design for the fly-overs and inner outer ring roads. With the plans I have, Imo would have been the number one eco­nomic state in Nigeria. Who will agree to go for only one term tenure? Didn’t Okoro­cha swear before God that he would only be governor for just one term?

“A politician from Okigwe zone, who was fighting me, also promised to go for one term tenure, he signed a pa­per, but everybody knows that he wouldn’t have gone for second tenure.

“Okorocha will engineer succession plan to Orlu zone, but only an Okigwe zone man for governor in 2019 will en­gineer the perfect succession plan and hand over power to the youths.

Explaining why the All pro­gressives Congress, APC can­not win the delayed Okigwe senate re-run election, Oha­kim said: “People should know that the Hausa people who own APC have rejected it. There is no APC govern­ment in Nigeria today, what we have is CPC government.

“All elections in Nigeria since after the APC took over, PDP has won over 90 per cent. It is a sign that APC has been rejected and somebody wants us to produce an APC senator. A party that has been already rejected by the own­ers, Hausa people?

“It is not about Athan Achonu, it is about the sur­vival of the zone. Achonu is only a beneficiary of the re­alities of the current times. An APC senator for Okigwe zone would marginalize us. What it means is that when all the senators from South-East, South-South gather for meetings and other political engagement, Okiwge zone will be missing out. So we are fighting for the survival of the zone and Achonu is only a beneficiary of the entire process.

The former governor de­scribed his ordeal in the hands of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commis­sion, EFCC, as persecution and not prosecution, add­ing that everything is politi­cally motivated, induced and manipulated, but refused to name those behind the or­deal.

He said: “It is a political ven­detta. Politicians from Imo State who want me out of the way before 2019 are behind my EFCC ordeal. They want me out of the political space before 2019. Their names are in the open. Yes, it is politi­cally motivated. They wrote the petitions and it is to get Ohakim out of the political space before the next general elections.”

He also said he had no re­gret for not winning any elec­tion in 2015, neither did he have any regret for not running as senator or contesting elec­tion under another platform, saying: “Why would I run for the easy position? Who would run for the strong position? Any time I want to retire from politics, I will contest for the senatorial po­sition. If not for the military coup of early 1990s, I would have contested for governor.

“I contested for governor in 2007 and won, so why should I contest for Senate in 2015, because people thought that it is easier and that I would have won? With the way I planned myself, I should have been running for my second tenure as the President today.”

He also disclosed that he is launching a book very soon, where he will x-ray those who have destroyed Imo. He also said that there was no due process in constituting the 419 caretaker committee in Imo PDP. He said: “The truth is that you needed one who has the same kind of capac­ity and I would have beaten Okorocha at the last general election. You need one who will face Okorocha’s admin­istration, structures for struc­tures, projects for projects, capacity for capacity, accept­ability for acceptability and it was only myself who have that kind of capacity and ad­vantage; the youths do not understand the power play in the state and I pity them.

“They need one who will engineer a successful succes­sion plan and hand over to them to pilot after 2019 and only an Okigwe zone man can do that. Okiwge zone for governor in 2019 will restore Imo charter of equity so that an Owerri man can be gov­ernor afterwards. Everybody should encourage and sup­port us to complete our ten­ure in 2019.”



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