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Alleged N17b Withdrawal: You Don’t Have Capacity To Lead Imo, Okorocha Tells Ihedioha

Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri

 

Governor Rochas Okorocha has replied to the recent allegation by the governor-elect, Emeka Ihedioha, that N17 billion had already been withdrawn from the state treasury by the governor. He described the allegation as unfounded, maintaining that Ihediaoha lacks the capacity to govern the state.

Ihedioha has earlier warned financial institutions in the state against further transactions with the state government while also vowing to recover all properties acquired illegally by Governor Okorocha.

But Okorocha while admitting Ihedioha’s “political smartness” said “he does not have the mental or intellectual capacity to govern a highly-endowed state like Imo. The guy is just smart politically. And political smartness is different from having the capacity for leadership or governance.”

Governor Okorocha who was reacting through a press statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, noted that Ihedioha was only showing signs of early failure by his utterances.

While explaining that the state does not have such amount of money accruing to it through its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and Federal allocation, he challenged Ihedioha to mention how the withdrawal was made whether it was withdrawn by cash or through transfer.

Governor Okorocha further stated “he should also know that with what Governor Okorocha has achieved, Imo people won’t entertain any excuse from him. If he likes let him talk about Rochas Okorocha from now till when he will leave as governor. The die is cast. Action speaks louder than words. Blackmail or propaganda which the PDP invested heavily in during the 12 years they governed the state has become old-fashioned in the state at the moment.”   (The Sun)

 

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INEC Lacks Power To Withhold My Certificate Of Return – Okorocha |RN

        Rochas-Okorocha                                            Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha

Chidiebube Okeoma and Gibson Achonu

 

Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, on Wednesday said the Independent National Electoral Commission lacked power to withhold his certificate of return as the senator-elect for the Imo West.

He described the electoral body’s decision to withhold his certificate as part of efforts aimed at making him irrelevant ahead of the 2023 presidential election.

Okorocha said this at the Government House, Owerri on while addressing some youths who paid him a solidarity visit.

He said only a court had the power to nullify any election after a winner had been declared.

He denied the allegation that INEC’s returning officer declared him winner of the senatorial election under duress, describing the allegation as an insult.

Okorocha said, “My certificate of return has not been issued and I wonder why INEC will withhold my certificate for a frivolous reason, without hearing from me.

“I am not a violent person and those who know me know that. This is why we have peace in Imo State.

“The returning officer could not have done that under duress under the watchful eyes of the police, the DSS (the Department of State Services) and party agents.

“I am not unmindful of the facts that those who are fighting me from Abuja are anxious to see me removed as a senator. I urge INEC to do the right thing immediately by releasing my certificate.”

The governor said he was not fighting anybody and those who were fighting him would fail.

He added, “My INEC certificate cannot be touched or seized. Doing so is belittling democracy in Nigeria.

“It is only the tribunal that has the right to say otherwise once a result is declared.

“INEC cannot seize my certificate because of a mere petition written by somebody in a case I was not given the opportunity to present my own side of the story.”

Okorocha also described the governorship and state house of assembly elections in the state as “a sham and a mockery of democracy.”

He said he had lost confidence in the nation’s democracy.

He accused INEC of complicity in the conduct of the polls.

He insisted that the governorship candidate of the Action Alliance, Uche Nwosu, won the governorship election and had the required spread of 25 per cent in 21 out of the 27 local governments in the state.

The governor said, “It is obvious that INEC in Imo State is not guaranteeing us free, fair and credible elections.

“Uche Nwosu, the governorship candidate of the Action Alliance actually won the election, but INEC criminally disbanded electoral officers of the commission and introduced people from Abia College of Agriculture who arrived the state midnight.

“They brought people they had been training for weeks in Anambra before the elections.”  (Punch)

 

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JUST IN: EFCC Arrests Imo AG, Accuses Okorocha Of Diverting N1bn For Vote Buying

                                           Imo State Govenor, Rochas Okorocha

Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested the Accountant-General of Imo State, Uzoho Casmir, for allegedly helping Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, to launder N1.05bn for the governorship and assembly elections on Saturday.

The allegations were contained in an EFCC situation report which was obtained by The PUNCH on Friday.

Okorocha, who is a member of the All Progressives Congress, is supporting his son-in-law, Nwosu of the Action Alliance against the governorship candidate of the APC, Senator Hope Uzodinma.

The act earned Okorocha a suspension from the party last week.

The EFCC report read in part, “The, EFCC, Enugu Zonal Office, Thursday, March 8, 2019 arrested the Acting Accountant General of Imo State, Mr. Uzoho Casmir, on suspicion of laundering the sum of N1.050bn through a new generation bank for the governor of the state, Rochas Okorocha.

“Uzoho’s arrest followed intelligence report that the governor intended to use the money for vote buying in favour of a particular candidate in tomorrow’s gubernatorial election. Intelligence further revealed that Mr Casmir withdrew the amount in three tranches between Tuesday and Thursday this week in the following order; N200m on Tuesday, N500m on Wednesday and N350m on Thursday.

“Meanwhile, the EFCC has blocked the traced accounts, while the arrested Accountant General has been providing useful information to the commission. Mr Casmir was before his appointment, a Director of Finance in Okorocha’s government and was in 2016 fingered in N2bn bailout fund scam, which was then given to the state by the Federal Government for the payment of salary arrears of civil servants.”   (Punch)

 

 

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APC Removes Okorocha As Party’s Imo Campaign Coordinator |The Republican News

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                                                          Rochas Okorocha

Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja

 

The National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress has removed the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, as the state coordinator of the party’s campaign council.

The decision followed the recommendation of the disciplinary committee set up by the Imo APC over allegations of anti-party activities levelled against the governor and others.

The committee chaired by Mathew Omegara had earlier summoned the governor and six others to appear before it.

The National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, had said the National Working Committee of the party would meet to consider the Imo APC recommendation that Okorocha should be suspended.

“What has happened in Imo shows that the APC means business. Once they have complied with all the rules, no problem. When they bring the recommendation to the NWC, we will look at it,” he had said.

But a member of the Imo State chapter of the APC told our correspondent on Sunday that Okorocha had already been removed by the NWC as the campaign coordinator of the party.

Okorocha had vowed to work for his son-in-law, who is the governorship candidate of the Action Alliance, Uche Nwosu, against the APC candidate, Senator Hope Uzodinma.

The member said, “The party has already removed Okorocha as the coordinator and directed Uzodinma to take over the campaign council. During the visit of the wife of the President to the state for campaign, the governor invited his son-in-law to the stage and raised his hands up. This jolted many of us who saw it as an affront to the President’s wife and the party.”

He however said the case of the Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, had not been considered by the party.

When contacted for verification on Sunday, Issa-Onilu said the removal of Okorocha was instant since his suspension came from his ward.

He said the implication of Okorocha’s suspension was that he could no longer function as the state coordinator.

Issa-Onilu said, “The APC had directed governors to take over the campaign of the party in the state. Where it has no governor, it directed governorship candidate to take over. Since Okorocha has displayed anti-party traits, you can’t expect him to be part of our strategic meetings again.”

Recall that The PUNCH had reported exclusively that the party would query Okorocha over his alleged anti-party activities.

The NPS had said the party should be commended for promoting internal democracy.

“The party should be appreciated that it is possible to query a governor and recommend him for suspension,” he added.  (Punch)

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Okorocha Slams Oshiomhole: You Failed As A Governor |The Republican News

Stanley Uzoaru,Owerri

Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha, has challenged the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Adams Oshiomole to publish his achievements for the duration he was governor of Edo State.

This is coming on the heels of the APC chair’s verbal attack on the Imo State governor when he flagged off Senator Hope Uzodinma’s governorship campaign in the state.

Governor Okorocha in a press statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, said: “We won’t allow Oshiomhole to eat his cake and still have it.

And we start this way: Adams Oshiomhole was governor in Edo State for eight years. Rochas Okorocha has been governor in Imo for less than eight years. And we challenge Oshiomhole to publish his achievements in Edo State for the eight years he was governor and let Rochas publish his own achievements in Imo in less than eight years. And let Nigerians judge between the two who failed as governor.

“If Oshiomhole fails to accept this challenge, we won’t have any other option than to conclude that he is just a noise maker.

“Mr. Oshiomhole has been talking and working to fulfill his own part of whatever deal he has with Chief Hope Uzodinma. He is acting his own part and in doing that, he has thrown caution to the wind.

“A national chairman of a party who came for the campaign of a governorship candidate of his party would have used the opportunity offered by that event to market the candidate. But in this case, Oshiomhole talked about Governor Okorocha and carefully skipped because he knows where the problem lies with the candidate.

“All the media reports on what Oshiomhole said at the rally were all about Okorocha. He consciously avoided telling Imo people why they should opt for Chief Uzodinma at the poll in 2019 or why he chose him as the guber candidate of the party in the state.”

On the issue of salary owed workers Oshiomole talked about, the governor noted that the information had long been in the public domain that he paid the December 2018 salary in November 2018. And he had also given each of the workers N10,000 as Christmas bonus.

He added that just last week, he handed over a new office complex, furnished by the state government to the state chapter of NLC, insisting that all these gestures showed the harmonious relationship between the governor and the workers in the state.

Okorocha recalled that Oshiomhole admitted that he had owed Edo workers seven months salary arrears while leaving as governor and could not also pay the N18,000 minimum wage, maintaining that he was therefore not qualified to talk about payment of salary.

“The truth is that the APC National Chairman has resorted to noise making to see if that could help him out of the whole mess but all to no avail.”

He observed that at Uzodinma’s flag-off campaign, Oshiomhole spoke with anger. And that anger stemmed from the fact that the venue of the event was empty. And he decided to vent his frustration on Okorocha.

“The blackmailing Rochas in Abuja by few Imo born political hawks has nothing to do with the tick political followership Rochas enjoys in Imo.

“And it was the empty venue that prompted the false claim that the governor refused to give them the Dan Anyiam Stadium for the event, as a face-saving mechanism. Where would they have got the people to fill the Stadium? They had played safe by deciding to use Uzodinma’s campaign office on Okigwe road. Yet, the compound was empty.

“At a rally at the Dan Anyiam Stadium on Tuesday, July 3, 2018, Mr. Oshiomhole after seeing the mammoth crowd said, they had known who owned the land. He was referring to Governor Okorocha who organised the rally. And nothing has changed between that July and today. Rochas holds the ace of Imo grassroots politics. And there is nothing anybody can do about that,” the statement said.  (The Sun)

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Guber Elections: Okorocha, Amosun’s Threat A Concern To APC |RN

     National Chairman, All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole

Kamorudeen Ogundele, Abuja

 

The All Progressives Congress is worried by the decision of some aggrieved members, including the Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibukunle Amosun, and his Imo State counterpart, Rochas Okorocha, to shun the APC governorship candidates in their states,  The PUNCH has learnt.

Some members, who were aggrieved by the party’s primaries, had vowed to work against the APC candidates in their states.

Besides the two governors, some lawmakers, who could not secure the party’s tickets have also vowed to work against the party’s candidates, except the President.

The APC National Chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, had earlier on Wednesday said the party could win the governorship elections in Imo and Ogun without the support of Okorocha and Amosun.

It was, however, learnt that despite the statement of Oshiomhole, the party leaders were concerned that some aggrieved members could spoil the chances of the APC.

This, a source said, informed the decision of the party to convene a consultative forum with governorship candidates, state chairmen and secretaries at the national secretariat of the party in Abuja on Thursday.

The source stated, “The party is disturbed by the tales from some states and decided to tackle the issues head-on so as not to play into the hands of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party.

“We know the party is waiting in the wings and looking for those who will be spoilers among us, so we have decided to be ahead of them.”

Another chieftain of the party, who would not want his name revealed because of the sensitive nature of the issue, cited Imo, Ogun and Zamfara states as places with high number of dissenters.

Okorocha, Amosun and the Zamfara State Governor, Abdul-Azeez Yari, are aggrieved that their preferred candidates did not get the tickets of the party.

The source said, “In Imo, Governor Rochas Okorocha has allowed his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, to pick the nomination form of another party while he remains in the APC to contest the senatorial seat. We see this as handwriting that the governor will work against the party in the governorship election.

“His position and body language is sending wrong signals to our members, so we need to quickly move in to motivate our members in order to heal many wounds as may be possible. Many of them think the crisis must be handled fast to avoid a gale of defections.

“Also in Ogun, the governor has said he is working towards the re-election of President Buhari but said he would work against the party’s governorship candidate.”

Plateau Governor, Simon Lalong, confirmed this fear in his opening remark at the consultative meeting.

Lalong said, “We have started to hear people say that they will campaign for the president, not the governor. The party structure is one and if they are not going to campaign for the governor, don’t campaign with us.

“Raise another structure in Abuja and remain in Abuja because if you come you are likely to dilute the message of the APC.”

Lalong urged the APC to release the campaign council so as to start working for the party.

“That is why I am also of the opinion that the earlier you release the campaign council, the better. Some of the items we intend to build into our campaign slogan are also for the president,” he added.

According to a communiqué signed by the APC National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Issa Lanre-Onilu, the consultative meeting resolved that party leaders must campaign for all candidates of the party (presidential, governorship and legislative positions).

“A situation where leaders engage in selective support by picking and choosing candidates to campaign for and support is anti-party.

“The Enugu State Chairman, Ben Nwoye, distanced the state chapter from the condemnable actions and utterances of a senatorial aspirant in the state, Mr Osita Okechukwu,” the communiqué stated.

The meeting also called on governorship candidates to run an issue-based campaign centred on the unprecedented achievements of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration which is evident in all the states of the federation.

It urged the party’s governorship candidates to run an inclusive campaign by bringing onboard former aspirants.

The communiqué added, “The party’s governorship and other stakeholders were also encouraged to domesticate ongoing peace and reconciliation efforts by the National Working Committee.

“The consultative meeting passed a vote of confidence in the NWC led by the National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole. The NWC was urged to continue its effort to protect the best interest of the party and pursue efforts to achieve peace and reconciliation in the party.”

Speaking earlier at the opening, Oshiomhole said the consultative meeting was called to get feelers from states and to chart a way forward for the party’s victory in the 2019 general elections.

He lamented that there were some aggrieved members working with governors in states ruled by the opposition to ensure the APC did not have candidates.

“I am aware that we have some instances where some people have to go to court. And they are in two parts. There are some who are asking the court to declare them as the winner…where people are going to court to claim that there were no primaries such persons are not looking for solutions. Such persons are more or less agents of the opposition because if the court were to uphold their prayers, it means our party would have no candidate in such states. And the implication is that opposition will win such states.”

Oshiomhole said members had the responsibility to work wholeheartedly to deliver our candidates in their respective states.

“To be honest, l think that each and every one of you has one important role to play. Your actions could help the process of reconciliation and it could also deepen division. It would be helpful. No matter what anybody from outside who is helping you to reconcile with those who contested with you, your action would be far more potent in the process.”

Oshiomhole urged the candidates to woo over those who contested the party’s tickets against them.

“For example, in constituting your campaign organisation, if you find that there were those who wanted to be governors like you and who indeed have what it takes to be governors but the system can only produce one candidate, l think it would be best for you to identify such persons and bring them close and integrate them into your campaign organisation or if possible ask them to head the campaign.”

Also speaking, the Niger State Governor, Mohammed Bello, stressed the need to bring back aggrieved members.

“What we should do is to extend hands of fellowship to them and like the national chairman said, make them part of your campaign council. It will help to douse tension and give them a sense of belonging so that by God’s grace when we win in 2019, we must carry them along.

“The reconciliation committee is a good effort but we should set up similar committees at the state level. What we are doing in Niger State which we feel can help in other states is to refund the money they used in buying the forms. It will help douse a lot of tension. It is good that we are one united APC and together on one platform.”   (Punch)

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Imo APC Chair’s Murder: Okorocha Offers N20m For Whistleblowers

Rochas-Okorocha1

Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha

Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri

Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State has promised N20 million to anyone with useful information that would lead to the arrest of the culprits who murdered the All Progressives Congress (APC) chairman of Idea to North  Local Government, Chief Sunny Ejiagwu.

The governor, in a press statement, he issued through his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, emphatically said that the murder of the APC chieftain was purely a case of assassination following the circumstances surrounding his death.

“Considering the fact that nothing was taken away from the man or removed from his car, it should not have been therefore a Case of armed robbery, and looking too at the fact that there was no sign of resistance or struggling between the killers and the victim and the method of shooting, the issue of kidnapping should also be ruled out,” Governor Okorocha said.

According to Governor Okorocha, “The man’s head and body were shattered with bullets following several gunshots just to make sure that he had no chance of being revived, and that could only be done by wicked assassins.”

Governor Okorocha, who spoke when political and community leaders of Ideato-North came to officially inform him about the gruesome murder of Ejeagwu, at the Government House, Owerri, assured that those behind the act would be brought to book.

He continued, “Last night we received a very disturbing news about the untimely death of one of our Party leaders in Ideato-North by name Sunny Ejeagwu (Ohaneze) who was murdered at about 8.00pm last night.

“We have come to a very painful moment of this our political life, to say that those who are behind the killing must be brought to book”.

“This is painful and Ohaneze(Ejiagwu) has no reason to die now. He has just been elected the Chairman of APC, Idearo-North and he is one that is loved by all, but for someone to have gone to take his life, we condemn it in its entirety and we have requested the Security agencies to fish out the killers.

“We as a government must ensure that these culprits, these wicked souls must be brought to book. We must never allow innocent souls to be destroyed or even people being killed just for nothing.”

He further added, “I’m here placing a price tag that whoever can give any useful information as to the killers of Chief Ejeagwu, this government will release the sum of N20million immediately just to make sure we arrest whoever killed this innocent soul.

“The Security agencies have been directed and mandated within the shortest possible time to produce the killers of this man.

“We are asking all Imolites to go about their businesses without fear, as security arrangements are in top gear to ensure the security of lives and properties in the state”.

The governor also added, “As politics comes up, this is a similar incident that happened many years ago wherein the same Akokwa, a notable politician was killed and it looks like it has become the character of Ideato-North to kill around that area whenever politics comes on.

“I’m yet to classify this killing as politically motivated killing. But even if that is the case, the perpetrators must be brought to book, and we shall use this to show an example that we mean business to fish out the men of the underworld,

“Therefore, I and the State government have sent our collective sympathy and heartfelt sympathy to the wife and children and the family of Chief Ejeagwu for this underserved, unmerited and wicked death that he had to go through in the hands of his murderers.

“But everyone must know that life is sacred and no one has the right to take another’s life, and whoever does that, whether now or later, must pay the prize.

“So, I sympathise with the family and government will be with this family in this their period of trials and pains. Once more, let me assure all Imolites, all members of APC that we must bring to book, the killers of Ohaneze, and not too far from now”, Governor Okorocha stated.  (The Sun)

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