Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo state, on Thursday, said the actions and inactions of the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole, would cause the party to lose five million votes during the 2019 general elections.
The governor said this while fielding questions from State House correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, in Abuja.
“Oshiomhole must learn to respect the rule of law and obey court orders where they apply. This issue of court orders as tissue papers must stop; it does not reflect the image of our party. He must act quickly to fix the integrity of this party because his coming ought to have brought in joy into the party not sadness.’’ he said.
Okorocha said it was high time the national chairman of the party was called to order and made to respect the rule of law, do the right thing and respect court orders.
Speaking on the crisis over the governorship primaries in his state, the governor said, Oshiomhole “cannot stand on Hope Uzodinma because the gentleman did not win election; you cannot compare somebody who won 265,000 votes to somebody who won 7,000 votes. He did not; he never won the election and Oshiomhole cannot impose candidates unacceptable to people on the people.
“He should do the right thing before he creates more disaffection for our party; I do not think the National Working Committee (NWC) will submit the name of Hope Uzodinma. In the first place, NWC 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 who had less than 7,000 votes.
“He cannot do that and there is a letter to that effect from NWC 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. Nobody can do that; and if they do that, that must be worst imposition in history,’’ he said.
Responding to remarks by the National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, that Oshiomhole was on the right track, Okorocha said the APC chieftain must have been ‘ill-informed.’
He said if properly informed, Tinubu would not say that Oshiomhole was doing the right thing as chairman of the APC.
The governor also dismissed rumours that he was planning to defect from the party over the fallout of the party’s governorship primaries in the state.
“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.
“Oshiomhole is on his own in this whole thing; there is no presidency support for him to refuse those who won elections and give wrong candidates who did not win election. So, this is the matter and I will simply say it is not on the consent of the presidency; he is on his own,” he said.
Asked if the party was not heading towards disintegration, the governor 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 these 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.”
Meanwhile, the APC has reacted to the recent Supreme Court’s ruling which described the party’s primaries in Rivers state as sacrilegious act.
But the party, in its first official response, insisted that the judgement had nothing to do with the primaries that produced Arch. Tonye Cole.
In a statement signed last night by its spokesperson, Lanre Isa-Onilu, the party said the candidates’ list to be submitted to the electoral body was ready.
“In view of conflicting interpretations that have greeted the recent verdict of the Supreme Court on the contentions among our members in Rivers state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), it has become necessary to clarify that the Supreme Court’s verdict has nothing to do with the primaries conducted for the governorship and legislative positions in the state.
“Therefore, the candidature of Arch. Tonye Cole along with his running mate, Hon. Victor Giadom remains inviolate. The list of our candidates for the governorship, National Assembly, and House of Assembly, has been processed by the National Working Committee (NWC) according to the INEC guidelines.
“Our party appreciates the support of the good people of Rivers State and their commitment towards the victory of our governorship candidate, Arch. Tonye Cole and other APC candidates at all levels in the 2019 elections.
“A progressive leadership under the APC beckons and the people of Rivers state are poised to effect a change to move the beleaguered state to a path of progress and development.”