Imo Governor, Rochas Okorocha on Thursday met with President Muhammadu Buhari and declared afterwards that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) will lose five million voters as a result of the lingering crisis in the party.
Fuming, Okorocha told State House corespondents that the National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole does not have the president’s support to mishandle issues in the party.
He said the party boss has no right to substitute Uche Nwosu with Hope Uzodinma as the gubernatorial candidate of the party in Imo state.
The governor also said the National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was ill-informed over the crisis following his reported support for Oshiomhole.
He said: Gentlemen of the press, I am here to clear the air that the presidency is behind what Oshiomhole in what he’s 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 refused candidates, those 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 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.”
Asked if the ruling party now faces disintegration, the Chairman of Progressive Governors Forum, replied: “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 turned himself into INEC.”
On the reported support of National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, for the party boss, Okorocha stated that he was not properly informed.
He added: “No, may be he is being misinformed, if he is properly informed he will not say what Oshiomhole is doing is the right thing.”
On whether Oshiomhole’s insistence of Uzodinma’s as the APC gubernatorial candidate in Imo state, the governor maintained that it would not be acceptable.
He explained: He can not 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 election and you cannot imposed a candidate who is unacceptable to the people to the people. “That is how serious the matter is now.
“So, he (Oshiomhole) should do the right thing and I have advised himself severally to do the right thing before he creates more disaffections in our party.”
The governor insisted that the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) cannot submit Uzodinma’s name to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the party’s candidate in Imo.
Okorocha added: “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, there is INEC report saying Uche Nwosu. So, nobody can do that and if they do that, that must be the worst imposition in the history of Nigeria.