Oshiomhole’s chairmanship has destroyed APC—Okorocha

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*Oshiomhole, Okorocha

The no-love-lost relationship between the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, and the governor of Imo State, Mr. Rochas Okorocha came to the open on Thursday when the latter said the former had caused disaffection and sadness in the party since he became chairman.

Okorocha who spoke in an interview with State House correspondents after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on Thursday (read the full interview below) said since Oshiomhole came on board coupled with the controversy surrounding the primaries APC had lost almost five million voters because of anger and protests.

“Since his inception and after the primaries, we are losing almost five million voters because of anger, protest everywhere and he needs to be called to order, he has to respect the rule of law, respect court orders and do the right thing – obey court orders where applicable and not turn himself into the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).”

He said he visited Buhari to clear the air that the presidency was behind what Oshiomhole had been doing in some of the states.

He said Oshiomhole’s actions had affected APC negatively, adding that there was no instruction from the president directing him to do anything illegal or create any sort of injustice.

“How can I build a house and leave it for someone else? I am in APC; I founded APC; I gave the name APC and so this is our party and we continue with the party and build the party for victory.

“There is no presidency support for him to refuse a candidate who won election and give to wrong candidate who did not win election. This is the matter and I will simply say it is not with the consent of the presidency, he is on his own.

“Oshiomhole must learn to respect the rule of law and obey court orders where they apply. This issue of treating court orders as tissue papers must stop, it doesn’t reflect the image of our party, he must act quickly to fix the integrity of this party because his coming in ought to have brought joy into the party and not sadness,” he said.

On the governorship primary in his state, Okorocha said it was not possible for the party to replace his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, with Senator Hope Uzodinma as the party’s governorship candidate in the state.

He cannot be standing on Hope Uzodinma because that man did not win election, you cannot compare somebody who won 265,000 votes with somebody who won 7,000 votes. He (Hope Uzodinma) never won the election and you cannot impose a candidate who is unacceptable to the people. That is how serious the matter is now. So he (Oshiomhole) should do the right thing and I have advised him severally to do the right thing before he creates more disaffection in our party.

“The national working committee sent a 13-man delegation who conducted election and 12 of them signed proving that Uche Nwosu won the election with 265,000 votes as against Hope Uzodinma who got less than 7,000 votes. So they can’t do that. And there is a letter to that effect from the National Working Committee saying Uche Nwosu won.

“There is a certificate of return given to Uche Nwosu. There is a police report saying Uche Nwosu won. There is INEC report saying Uche Nwosu won. So nobody can do that and if they do that, that must be the worst imposition in the history of Nigeria.

On the crises in the party and the possibility of APC disintegrating, Okorocha said the party would be intact as long as Buhari remained the president.

“Well, APC will not disintegrate for as long as the person, Muhammadu Buhari, is still the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and remains the leader of this party. So we cannot give that credit to the chairman. He cannot disintegrate this party; the party is still intact, just that many people are hurt.

On Oshiomhole’s endorsement by the national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Okorocha said Tinubu was ill informed about the chairman’s activities.

“No, maybe he is being misinformed, if he is properly informed he will not say what Oshiomhole is doing is the right thing,” he said.

Below is the text of the interview

What brought you to see the president and what did you discuss?

Gentlemen of the press, I am here to clear the air that the presidency is behind what Oshiomhole is doing in some of the states and which has affected our party negatively. And from my understanding from Mr. President, there is no such directive for Oshiomhole to do anything illegal or create any sort of injustice. So, Oshiomhole is on his own in this whole thing. There is no presidency’s support for him to refuse candidates who won elections and give wrong candidates who didn’t win election. This is the matter and I will simply say that he is not with the consent of the presidency, he is on his own.

I also requested that Oshiomhole must learn to respect the rule of law and obey court orders where they apply. This issue of treating court orders as tissue papers must stop, it doesn’t reflect well, the image of our party, he must act quickly to fix the integrity of this party because his coming in ought to have brought joy into the party and not sadness.

Is the APC disintegrating?

Well, APC will not disintegrate for as long as the person, Muhammadu Buhari, is still the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and remains the leader of this party. So we cannot give that credit to the chairman. He cannot disintegrate this party, the party is still intact, just that many people are hurt. Since his inception and after this primaries, we are losing almost five million voters because of anger, protest everywhere and he needs to be called to order, he has to respect the rule of law, respect court orders and do the right thing – obey court orders where applicable and not turn himself into INEC.

Tomorrow (today) is the last day for the submission of candidates, what is the true position regarding Imo State. Is it that Oshiomhole is siding with Hope Uzodinma?

He cannot be standing on Hope Uzodinma because that man did not win election, you cannot compare somebody who won 265,000 votes with somebody who won 7,000 votes. He (Hope Uzodinma) never won the election and you cannot impose a candidate who is unacceptable to the people. That is how serious the matter is now. So he (Oshiomhole) should do the right thing and I have advised him severally to do the right thing before he creates more disaffection in our party.

It was reported today that the national working committee of the APC has submitted the name of Hope Uzodinma to INEC, what is the implication sir?

He can’t! I don’t think the National Working Committee will do that because in the first place, the National Working Committee sent a 13-man delegation who conducted election and 12 of them signed proving that Uche Nwosu won the election with 265,000 votes as against Hope Uzodinma who got less than 7,000 votes. So they can’t do that. And there is a letter to that effect from the National Working Committee saying Uche Nwosu won. There is a Certificate of Return given to Uche Nwosu. There is a police report saying Uche Nwosu won. There is INEC report saying Uche Nwosu won. So nobody can do that and if they do that, that must be the worst imposition in the history of Nigeria.

The national leader of your party, Tinubu…said Oshiomhole is a good man, he is working well and those who are angry should just join hands with him to build the party, are you saying that Tinubu himself is supporting the wrong candidate?

No, maybe he is being misinformed, if he is properly informed he will not say what Oshiomhole is doing is the right thing.

There is a rumour making the rounds that you are planning to join SDP?

SDP? How can I build a house and leave it for someone else? I am in APC, I founded the APC, I gave the name APC and so this is our party and we must continue with the party and build the party for victory.

Interview transcript: Premium Times

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