Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State recently held a media chat with some journalists in the state. He shed light on many state and national issues. Excerpts:
What would be your next political ambition come 2015, are ypou going for re-election as governor or aspiring for the presidency?
Let me make this point clear that I’m a member of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA); that is my party there is no controversy about it. APGA still remains my cultural party because for an Igbo man, APGA represents a way of life, but it is not a national political party. If you may recall APGA became divided. One APGA looked towards the side of PDP and the other that I was a member looked towards APC. I was in APGA as political party but now I am in APC and for one reason if you may recall Action Congress of Nigeria ACN, Congress for Progressive Change CPC, All Nigeria Peoples Party ANPP were a regional party, and all these parties came together to form a national party to challenge PDP.
So it would sound very phony to have APGA as a regional party when others have merged for a common purpose. So the wisest thing do was to merge with
APC and the remaining APGA are in PDP.
For me APC is good for the South East because from the way political equation is structured in Nigeria, it doesn’t appear to me that PDP has any plan for Ndi Igbo. For instance, none of the positions of the President, Vice President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, was allotted to the South East by the PDP. As I said earlier, the best thing is to join the APC to remedy the imbalance in future. It is only wise to say that South East is better off in APC because there’s no way the positions would elude the zone if APC finds itself in government. Again PDP has never had any stiff opposition. This is the only time we have a formidable opposition in the country. And I am confident that come 2015 APC will take the day.
Asking for my political ambition in 2015, you may wish to recollect that I was once a presidential aspirant and came second in the primary that produced the late President Umaru Musa Yar’dua. So I am not a new person in the presidential race of this country. Actually I need your advice on what to do.
Today, among all presidential aspirants, I am still a force to be reckoned with. I have a strong passion for my Imo people and my vision is of a national capacity.
Why are still not a registered member of APC, have you been refused your formal registration?
I am one of the founding members of the APC and it is not true that I have been refused registration in a party that I am a leader. It is mere speculation. Chief Mike Ahamba (SAN) who is one of those saying that I have not been registered with the APC was a member of merging parties. But the issue is that we in APC have not started registration yet but that may commence before the end of the year because. For now all the structures for registration are in place.
Since your party has not yet zoned the presidency to any region in the country, what does it portend for the Igbos?
Let me again say that our party APC has not zoned the presidency to anybody and does not believe in zoning; we believe that anybody that has something upstairs irrespective of zone rules this country because zoning does not rule a country. Zoning has rather produced mediocrity.
I think we have come of age when men must be elected into offices purely on their individual merits instead of laying undue emphasis on where they come from.
Since the committee that probed your predecessor, Chief Ikedi Ohakim submitted its report nothing has been heard of it. Does it mean that your government has abandoned the project?
That is something that Nigerians should ask questions about. I have made my report to EFCC to inform them about the N67 billion in question which is missing in the state coffers. But it looks like people who are assumed to be having relationship with the presidency cannot be probed. There have been so many cases of such bordering on many individuals in the country but because of their relationship with the presidency both the EFCC and the ICPC have to stay clear.
There is no reason my predecessor should not have been called to question on how he used the state funds. I can authoritatively state that there is no single structure anywhere in this state which my immediate predecessor will say that he did with tax payers’ money. But even at this the EFCC has continued to harass officials of my administration with invitations to answer one allegations that are baseless. I think we have done our job and what is left now is to take it to the people’s court. I do not have the organ to prosecute anybody and it is as a result of this that we have established our own organ known as Imo State Economic and Financial Crimes Commission which of course is in the pipelines and when we have it, we will be able to act.
Very soon, the nation would be celebrating her Centenary following the 1914 historic amalgamation of the then Northern and Southern protectorates. What is your reaction?
Our strength lies in our market and in our population. I do not support isolated calls for division or disintegration because to me, this is a “no go area” whether Nigeria should be or not to be. I congratulate Nigerians on the forth coming Centenary celebration.
Every nation on earth has its problems and so Nigeria cannot be in isolation. Therefore the call for disintegration is neither here nor there. We are building something here in the state in commemoration of the 2014 Centenary.
What is your reaction to the just conducted Anambra State governorship election?
It is a monumental shock to Nigerians because even a goat noticed the glaring irregularities that trailed the polls and which even INEC shamelessly admitted. The elections in Anambra and Delta states are eye openers because this nation should not be ran in this manner at all. INEC officials were arrested and locked up in Imo. The police, INEC and the PDP all combined to perpetrate unprecedented electoral fraud and the slogan has always been “get the result, write it and announce it and let them go to court”. Look at what happened in the Oguta re run election in the state.
With the defeat of the APC in Anambra, there are speculations that you might abandon the APC for another party?
I am not a respecter of party but a respecter of vision. I have critically examined the structure of the PDP and I want to let us know that in the next 20 years Nigeria will be in bondage if PDP retains power. If I am given the opportunity to rule this country I will transform it in just two years. My journey to APC is because of the way PDP is structured and no young man will ever survive in PDP.
Everybody is tired of PDP and the APC is the only way to go and I will stand for justice and fairness wherever I go.