John Alechenu, John Ameh and Leke Baiyewu, Abuja
The Chairman, All Progressives Congress Governors’ Forum, Mr. Rochas Okorocha, has expressed worry over the cold war among the executive arm of government, the National Assembly and the ruling party.
Okorocha, who is also the Governor of Imo State, said this when he visited the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, on Wednesday.
Okorocha, who said his visit to the Senate was belated, added that, “Nonetheless, it is never late to make amend where possible.”
A statement by the Office of the Senate President quoted Okorocha as telling Saraki that he was visiting in his capacity as the Chairman of the APC Governors’ Forum.
He said, “This is the very first time I am coming to your office and I am here because I am concerned. I am here because I am a stakeholder. I am here as the Chairman of the Progressives Governors’ Forum – your friends and colleagues in the struggle.
“Mr. Senate President, leaders of this great Senate, you may recall a few years ago that we were all in the trenches, in battle, asking for change in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I recall vividly the role most of you played in that very struggle. We became a government when no one gave us a chance to be so. And shortly, Nigerians believed in us and entrusted us with the responsibility of leading this nation.
“But one year and several months after, we have not been able to manage this God-given victory very well and it is very worrisome, Mr. Senate President. That Nigerians expect so much from us but we seem to be in crisis with ourselves; not crisis made by the opposition parties but crisis created by ourselves for ourselves and which has kept us in total difficult position that we are not making the headway we need to make as a party.
“One wonders then what went wrong. Where did we get it wrong? And after these troubles and after the much hope we have given to Nigerians, we still cannot work together as a party, as a family. And I notice particularly that there is so much bitterness in the system – from the party, from the legislature, from the executive, from the governors – and it seems to me like there is no more platform for us to chant those old songs, which we used to sing in the days of struggle for change. One wonders, was this what we were asking for or was this the change we were asking for? I think Nigerians expect so much from us and at the end of it all.
“Nigerians will not ask us, how many of each other we have been able to destroy or how many we have been able to bring down. But they will ask us how many plates of food have we put on the table of the common man who elected us. So, I am here, Mr. President of the Senate, to call for unity among us and our party. And to sheathe our sword in whatever form anger has got to us.
“We noticed and we know that we are a party in majority at the National Assembly and we are a party with majority in the number of governors, state Houses of Assembly, but we notice there is no cordial relationship among the governors, the executive and the legislature.
“And let me reemphasise that in all these arms of government, it is only the legislature and the executive that are the elected members, not the judiciary. And Nigerians will hold us responsible as the executive and legislative arms of government. So, we must act quickly to ensure that peace reigns among us. I have discussed with the party – that was my first point of call – to seek what we must do to forge a way forward.
“Today, I am before you, the Senate President, and I ask you to use your wisdom to bring peace into our party. We need to enjoy that very vibrancy for which the National Assembly has been known for.”
In his response, Saraki told Okorocha that he had raised vital issues that the National Assembly caucus of the APC would look into, while assuring the governor that the Senate would work together to deliver the dividends of democracy to Nigerians that voted the APC into power.
The Senate President stated that the crisis in the party was surmountable, adding that the doors of National Assembly was open to the party, stressing that it remained a surprise that the leadership of the APC had not deemed it fit in the last 16 months to visit and meet with their members in the National Assembly.
Okorocha, who also met with the Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, on Wednesday night.stated that the party needed “re-branding.”
Okorocha spoke at the National Assembly after he emerged from a meeting with Dogara around 6.50pm.
“I am saying that our party will be re-branded to what we know it should look like,” he said.
The Deputy Speaker, Mr. Yussuff; Majority Leader, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila; the Deputy Leader; Mr. Buba Jibril; the Deputy Minority Whip, Mr. Pally Iriase, and other principal officers and some members of the House, attended the meeting.
Speaking further, the governor added that he had been on a fence-mending mission, talking to various interest groups in the APC on the need for them to bury their differences. Punch.ng.com