Three days after re-affirming its support for President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice Yemi Osinbajo at a mega zonal rally, the Action Alliance (AA), a party formed by Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State 14 years ago, has made u-turn and adopted Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party as its presidential candidate in the February 16 election.
The national chairman of the party, Kenneth Udeze, who announced this at a press conference in Abuja said: “We are for Atiku/Obi leadership and we are glad to work with all believers of true federalism and efficient administration of governance at all levels to accomplish this as we approach the forthcoming elections,” Mr Udeze said.
“The National Executives Committee (NEC) of our party are on the same page concerning our support for Atiku, same with all our state chapters in this matter.
“We hereby restate out position through this medium that AA as a certified and active member of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) and have not for a moment reconsidered or wished to alter that position.
“For your information, AA moved the motion for the adoption of Atiku as the Presidential Candidate of CUPP, and we are on it to the end,” he said.
The national chairman said the support for Mr Abubakar and his running mate, Peter Obi, was a support for the growth of the country’s democracy and the required restructuring of the country.
Mr Okorocha formed the AA in 2005 and planned to run for president on its platform in the 2007 elections.
He was a founding member of the PDP on whose platform he ran for the governorship primary in Imo State in 1999 but lost to Achike Udenwa who flew the flag of the party.
He later dumped the PDP for the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) where he was a presidential aspirant in 2003.
After a few years in ANPP, Mr Okorocha floated the AA where he hoped to actualise his presidential ambition, but in a dramatic move abandoned the new party to return to the PDP.
While in PDP, he showed interest in the 2007 presidential race and ran for the primary. He emerged runner up to the winner, former President Umaru Yar’Adua.
In September 2007, Mr Okorocha unsuccessfully aspired to become the national chairman of the then ruling party.
He later defected to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) on whose platform he ran for governor in Imo State in 2011 and won, beating the incumbent, Ikedi Ohakim of the PDP.
Ahead of the 2015 election, the governor again dumped APGA for the newly-formed All Progressives Congress (APC) following the successful merger of three other opposition parties and a section of APGA which he led.
In APC, he also attempted to become its presidential candidate but was beaten alongside others by President Muhamadu Buhari at the party’s primary in Lagos in 2014. Mr Okorocha came a distant fourth having mustered only 624 votes.
While Mr Okorocha sojourned in PDP and APGA he managed to keep AA afloat and the party became handy.
When APC refused to name his son in-law, Uche Nwosu, its governorship candidate for the March 2 election, Mr Nwosu moved to AA where, without contest, he was accepted and adopted as its flag bearer in the March 2 election.
The APC snub has pitted the governor against the national leadership of the ruling party with both sides often exchanging verbal punches in the past months.
Mr Okorocha, who is the candidate of the APC for the Imo West senatorial District, is believed to have facilitated Mr Nwosu’s defection to AA.