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Imo: APC Appeal Committee Upholds Ward, LG Congresses |The Republican News

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Romanus Ugwu, Abuja

The move by Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, to cancel the ward and local government congresses of the All Progressives Congress (APC) held in the state has failed, as the party’s Appeal Committee has ratified the exercise.

This was even as Imo Assembly lawmakers, led by the Speaker, Acho Ihim, and some National Assembly members staged a protest at the APC national secretariat in Abuja, yesterday.

Okorocha had met President Muhammadu Buhari and the Vice President, Yemi Osibanjo, to protest alleged malfeasance during the ward congresses in his state and demanded their cancellation.
In its report, the APC Congresses Appeal Panel said based on a report submitted by Imo State Congress Committee, signed by its Chairman, Senator Abubakar Tutare, ward and local government congresses were held in Imo State.
The appeal committee further said those who wrote a petition against the congress were unqualified.
The report said: “The congress committee presented video evidence to support its position that Congress actually held in the state.”

Meanwhile, the National Assembly legislators from Imo State have dismissed the insinuation that the allied forces, consisting mainly the chieftains of the party, have defeated Governor Okorocha in the recently conducted ward and local government congresses.

Speaking after the closed-door meeting with the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, the delegation of 24 legislators, led by the Speaker, Imo House of Assembly, Acho Ihim, claimed the governor is still the leader of the ruling party in the state.

They insisted that there is nothing wrong with the governor endorsing his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, and dismissed what many believed was the genesis of the problem.

“We are here to reconfirm that there was no congress in all the general and certain wards in Imo State. We are here to reaffirm and demand that an announcement be made for a new date for the ward and local government congresses and we can now talk about the state congresses.

“As for our discussion with the national chairman, we want it treated as an in-house affair; but, we have affirmed our stand that we are still with our governor.

“He is the face of APC in the South East. Of course, the young man has done so well.”   (The Sun)

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Oyegun, NWC Sabotaging APC Congresses, Says Okorocha |The Republican News

By Onwuka Nzeshi

 

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Imo state governor, Rochas Okorocha

 

  • Party to gov: Your comments uncharitable

Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, has linked the crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) over its congresses to a plot by some members of the National Working Committee (NWC) to manipulate the internal electoral process of the party in order to achieve some selfish goals.

Okorocha, who is also the Chairman of the APC Governors’ Forum, pointedly accused the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and the National Organising Secretary, Senator Osita Izunaso, of being less than transparent in the crisis rocking the Imo State chapter of the party, resulting in the disappearance of the result sheets meant for the ward congress in the state.

National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, had in an advertorial on Sunday titled: ‘APC congresses: Why We Are Here’, blamed the crises rocking the party’s congresses across the country on “singular pursuit of self-interests” by some individuals. “They tried to scuttle congresses and to anoint themselves that they might retain their various positions beyond the agreed term.

They sought to do this without recourse to the will of party members who first voted them into their positions,” Tinubu said. Parallel congresses had been held in some states by various factions of the party, while deaths and arsons have been recorded in others.

Okorocha, who spoke to newsmen at the weekend in Abuja, insisted that the entire crisis, which has resulted in the burning down of APC secretariat in Owerri, the Imo State capital, parallel congresses and killing in some states, could have been avoided if the party had not allowed Oyegun and other members of the NWC to conduct the congresses.

“I think the mistake that is trailing the whole issue is that we appointed a convention committee chairman who is the governor of Jigawa State and instead of him to conduct the congresses and convention, the national chairman and his team are now the ones conducting the congresses. It is not done that way and that is why we have problems now. “Most members of the NWC have a conflict of interests in this matter.

They are conducting the congresses for themselves. “Like what is happening in Imo State where the national organising secretary (Izunaso) is conducting a congress to raise delegates that will re-elect him to come back as national organising secretary of the party, this is the problem. It is not done this way; that is where the lacuna is and I warned about this danger.

“If we had taken a neutral committee to run the congresses and convention, we will not be having these problems we are having today in Imo, Oyo, Rivers and other states. People have become judges in their own case,” he said.

The embattled governor expressed dismay at the sudden rebellion launched against him and his political structure in Imo State, alleging that it was the handiwork of those who did not like his opposition to the tenure elongation plot hatched by members of the NWC to perpetuate themselves in office.

“Initially, I spoke against tenure elongation and said it was not good for our party. But the national chairman of the party and some other members believed that there should be tenure elongation so that there will be no Congress as provided by the party’s constitution.

“I was a lonely voice on that matter until it became an issue that picked the interest of some party leaders and they supported my position. I told them the danger, that if we do not conduct this congress and we conduct primaries, those people who will elect our candidates would have been illegal. We might win an election and somebody whom we might defeat can go to court and claim our victory because we were elected by illegal delegates.

They disagreed with me, saying that the constitution allows the party to do without congresses because the party is supreme. But I said party supremacy cannot override the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“Great minds like the vice president (Prof.Yemi Osinbajo) who is also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) also concurred with me on that position and that is where we are today.

They were giving the flimsy excuse that holding congress will divide the party, but we told them that the danger of not holding the congress is worse than not having the Congress.

You should do the right thing,” he said. On the controversy trailing the disappearance of electoral materials and party officials sent to conduct the congress in Imo State, Okorocha expressed disappointment that the national headquarters of the party had not been able to give a clear explanation on the development.

“I personally went to the national chairman’s office and when I met with Chief Oyegun, I did a request of him to declare his stand on this congress – whether it has been cancelled or not. He was not categorical with his statement as to whether it was cancelled or not, but he said that he was waiting for the outcome of the appeal panel.

“Shortly after that, the secretary of the appeal panel came to the party secretariat and we asked her about the situation in Imo State and she said that no congress was held in my state on that day as there were no electoral materials to do so,” he said.

The governor further expressed discomfort at what he described as the conflicting statements from Oyegun on the matter. Okorocha explained that Oyegun had earlier assured him that the ward congress will be suspended only for him to report that the results had been received at the national secretariat of the party. “I did ask the national chairman where are the result sheets and he told me categorically that they have received the result sheets.

The questions I asked were: Who submitted it? I am aware that the Police and DSS are looking for the result sheets. If the result sheets have reached the party office, then who submitted it? Anybody that submitted it should be able to tell security agencies how he was able to conduct the elections and brought the result sheets to Abuja.

“However, on Saturday, we are now hearing that the result sheets are not in the party office, but with some unknown persons caught in a hotel. This means that the party lied that it had got the result sheets.

So everything here looks funny; it looks like some kind of mischievous connivance by some people who are trying to make up things and cook up stories about the whole exercise.

“It is unfortunate that men who were elected into offices for their supposed integrity will condescend to lying and cheating, thereby debasing party principles. It is really very unfortunate, all because people want to get to power at all costs,” the governor lamented.

But the National Publicity Secretary of APC, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, described the allegations levelled against members of the NWC as unfair and uncharitable.

In a telephone chat with New Telegraph, Abdullahi said Okorocha should be specific on what went wrong and who did what, rather than blaming the entire members of NWC.

“I think Rochas is not being charitable and, which I think is just, because of his particular experience. People like Rochas would not mind setting the entire village on fire because they want to win.

You understand. So, saying that kind of a thing is not right, it is unfair. “If he has any specific thing against anybody, he should say so, but making that kind of wild allegation that the NWC conducted the congresses to favour them is not fair.

“What did the NWC do that they were not supposed to do. There were guidelines for the congresses. Or was it that the guidelines were not followed by the NWC? So, I don’t understand the meaning of what he is saying. If he has problems with anybody, he should go and sort it out, but I think it is wrong for him to cast aspersions on the entire people working for the party.

“I think it is wrong and I take exception to that. If he has any grievances with people, he should say so and if he has anything with the chairman or Osita, he should go and sort it out with them rather than involving the NWC,” Abdullahi said.    (New Telegraph)

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My Heart Bleeds Over Insecurity In Nigeria, Says Gowon |The Republican News

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Ex-military Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon with Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha

  • As Okorocha warns against politicizing national challenges

Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri

Former Head of State General Yakubu Gowon has expressed dismay over the incessant insecurity challenges in Nigeria, saying that his heart bleeds over the activities of Boko Haram, herdsmen, and other armed militants, whose actions he described as man’s inhumanity to man.

General Gowon spoke when he paid a courtesy call on Governor Rochas Okorocha at the Government House Owerri over the weekend, as part of his tour for a prayer rally in the country.

Gowon stated that Nigeria needs peace so that all its people can live and work together in the interest of one another and in the overall interest of the country.

According to the former Head of State, with prayers God can touch the hearts of all those involved in the terror killings like he touched that of the biblical Saul, who he changed to become an instrument of transformation instead of destruction, adding that no situation is too difficult for God to change for the better.

“After the Civil War, from this town Owerri, I visited Nsukka, Enugu, Abakeliki, Umuahia, and Onitsha. We were impressed with the way the children turned out to welcome us. They were saying, you are our parents, our leaders, please do not allow any Nigerian child to suffer what we suffered,” Gowon said, recalling the experience of the Nigerian Civil War.

“God can touch one’s heart and change the person into becoming a vessel of peace. My prayer for every Nigerian man is to live in harmony. We would wish every man and woman and religious leaders to rally round and assist in any way possible. Every one of us has a role to play, not only the leaders. That is why we seek for God’s intervention,” Gowon said.

He further added that “without peace, we cannot go further. Let us continue to pray and do whatever we can to achieve the peace we all desire. Your role and our collective role is important.”

Explaining his reason for the visit, Gowon said: “We are in Imo for the Nigeria Prayer Rally. A prayer rally we have been doing throughout the geopolitical zones or States. This time around, it is for the South-East Zone to host the prayer rally, and Imo is hosting us. Your Excellency, we are grateful for the arrangements and support. We are impressed with your zeal and passion for Christ, suing for peace, which is what the country needs now,” the former military ruler said.

Governor Okorocha in his speech advised Nigerians to see the activities of groups like Boko Haram and others as national problems or challenges that require all hands to be on deck for solutions, but that the crises should not be politicized. He added that those who have lost their lives in the current troubles are people of all ethnic backgrounds, religions and political affiliations.

The Governor called on Nigerians, regardless of their religious and political persuasions, to come up with ideas on how best to come out from the country’s challenges, and should stop talking in a manner that would aggravate the problems.

“The acronym Gowon means “Go On with One Nigeria,” Okorocha quipped. “If this leader (Gowon) seated with us here today had not ended the war the way it ended, giving room for no victor, no vanquished postulations, today we would not be having a nation called Nigeria. His name is synonymous with peace. A man who ended the Civil War without bad feelings.”

He further remarked about Gowon that “this gentleman is 84 years old. We will honour him in our state. We are happy that he is still looking strong and young. In the face of the crisis that we have today, he has continued to pray. I do not know what would have happened to the Nigerian situation if prayers like this are not going on all over Nigeria. Thank God, in the face of these challenges, we have men who are busy praying for the nation and her people,” Okorocha said.

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Imo 2019: I’m Most Qualified To Succeed Okorocha – Madumere |The Republican News

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…Imo needs my experience, says Ohakim

Stanley Uzoaru and George Onyejiuwa, Owerri

Imo State Deputy  Governor, Prince Eze Madumere, has said he is most experienced and qualified than other aspirants who have lined up to succeed his boss, Governor  Rochas Okorocha in 2019.
Madumere, who made this known yesterday in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Uche Onwuchekwa, said he has learnt more from his boss to pilot the affairs of the state and consolidate on the achievements of the Rescue Mission administration.
Madumere said he has the right spirit and well prepared to take over the mantle of leadership, adding that he has the right temperament and experience to steer the ship of the state.
The deputy governor said he has “equally gathered more experience on the job than any aspirant, coupled with his exposure to the world best standards in governance.”
Madumere has continued to receive endorsements from various political groups across the state,  including women and youth organisations.
In a related development, immediate past governor of the state, Dr. Ikedi Ohakim has declared that he will be contesting the gubernatorial election in 2019 on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). He said the state needs an experienced person to rebuild its battered economy, saying the biggest business in the state now is mortuary business as people are dying on daily basis because of the extreme hardship.
Ohakim, who stated this at the weekend during an interactive session with newsmen in the state, said he has decided to contest the governorship of the state for a second time, based on the enormous pressure on him by well meaning Imo citizens, who have realised the grave mistake the people made in 2011.
“I want to formally declare my intention to contest the governorship of the state for a second time because of the enormous pressure brought on me by well meaning citizens after realizing the grave mistake of 2011. I am not an aspirant but a contestant. I am not desperate to become a governor, but today, Imo State does not need somebody who is coming to experiment with the state like we have had in the last six and half years now, but an experienced person to rebuild the enormous damage done to the state by the current administration, otherwise, the state will sink deeper into the economic morass that it has already found itself. ”
Meanwhile, the state Chairman of the PDP, Charles Ekekwem, has declared that there would be no automatic ticket for anybody, whether for those who are currently at the National or State Assemblies.
He said all positions will be contested for.
This was just as member of the party’ Board of Trustees, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, has appealed to members of the party who had left over one disagreement or the other to return to the party and join other stakeholders to reclaim the Government House in 2019.

Ekekwem, who made the declaration at the stakeholders meeting held at the party`s secretariat in Owerri, stated  emphatically that nobody will be given special consideration, whether the person is currently serving as a member of the National or State Assembly as all positions must  be determined by the primaries.
He also dismissed the insinuations in some quarters that the state PDP has been hijacked by a cabal who now tele -guides the state executive on who should be given the party tickets.
“I want to state categorically that this state executive under my humble leadership will not , I repeat give any special consideration to any aspirant for any position in 2019 general election it does not matter whether they are serving members of the National Assembly or State Assembly every position must be contested at the primaries and it is the result that announced on the ground of the primaries that would be transmitted to Abuja.”

“I want to formally declare my intention to contest for the governorship of the state for a second time because of the enormous pressure brought on me by well meaning citizens of the state after realising the grave mistake of 2011. I am not an aspirant but a contestant.
He added, I am not desperate to become a governor, but today, Imo State does not need somebody who is coming to experiment with the state like we have had in the last six and half years now, but an experienced person to rebuild the enormous damage done to the state by the current administration, otherwise, the state will sink deeper into the economic morass that it has already found itself.”
The former governor said governance is not business but service to the people, noting that every sector in the state has been destroyed as the economy of the state has completely collapsed and that citizens of the state especially civil servants are finding it extremely difficult to feed their families.
“ People have always asked me what I forgot in the government house and my reply is that I am the only person who forgot something in the government house, because  governance is not business, like what we are seeing today, but service to the people.
Today, the biggest business in the state is mortuary business because people are dying on daily basis because of severe hardship. The private sector has collapsed in the state as most of the local contractors have packed up, the civil service has been destroyed and worst of all, state judges are owed about 18 months salaries, which is scandalous. I have written to the governor that if the judges are not paid by March, then I will lead a protest.
Continuing, if we do not have a regime change in 2019 it will be calamitous because security in the state will not be guaranteed because already kidnapping has become a daily affairs in the state”.
He said that as a governor he never allocated a plot of land to himself and he has only one house in Owerri which said he built in 1993 as a commissioner under the administration of late Evans Enwerem, stressing that the primary objective of governor of any state is the welfare of the people not turning the state into a private business empire while the people are left to starve.
“ No Imo people can say that his or her life is now better than it was between 2007 and 2011 during my tenure as the governor of the state because all the policies of my administration were tailored for the benefit of the people not for my personal acquisition. As a governor I never allocated a plot of land to myself and I have only house in Owerri which I had built as a commissioner under the administration of Evans Enwerem. So , my intention to be a governor for a second term is not because of material acquisition because I am satisfied with what I have. Today I pay myself N5 Million every month from my business and that it enough for me”.  (The Sun)

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Imo 2019 Election: I’ll Pick My Successor, Zoning Is Dead In Imo, Says Okorocha

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Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha

…Says zoning dead in Imo

From: GEORGE ONYEJIUWA, OWERRI

Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo state has insisted that he would produce his successor in 2019.

He said his successor would come from amongst members of his ‘rescue mission’ who, he believed, would sustain the philosophy and legacies of his administration.

This was just as he reiterated that the issue of zoning the office of the governor is dead in the state.

Governor Okorocha said this while addressing stakeholders and leaders of the party from the 27 council areas of the state who paid him a New Year visit at his country home, in Ogboko, on Thurday.

He maintained that whoever would take over from him in 2019 would be member of the Rescue Mission Political family and not an outsider.

“The issue of who takes over the mantle of Governor of the state in 2019 must come from the Rescue Mission Political Family and not an outsider . This is because the person already know the driving philosophy and would sustain the legacies of this government.”

The Imo State governor further  stressed that the era of zoning political offices have gone for good, in the state, saying that the zoning of political offices in the past have not encouraged the much needed growth and development.

“As a politician, I can authoritatively tell you that any politician that gets into any political office based on zoning will be a clannish leader, because he or she will channel all his energy in doing things that will satisfy his own people but when a politician is elected  on popular demand devoid of zoning, he or she will see the entire state as his own and treat every zone equally in the scheme of things,” he noted.

He also pointed out that his Rescue Mission, in the last six  and half years, has  not done anything based on zone or where he comes from as all the developmental projects, including political appointments, have been distributed evenly across the state.

Okorocha, who stated that his greatest desire is  to see that all his political sons and daughters in  the Rescue Mission Administration, grow greater than him, politically, vowed to ensure that Imo State would not be made a political battle ground in 2019 by overzealous politicians who are desperate to be Governor at all cost.

The governor also maintained that his support and endorsement of the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari will make an Igbo president possible in 2023. He added that he was fully in charge as all the names from the state that made the recently released Federal Board members including the name of Sen. Osita Izunaso, was his own list.   (The Sun)

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Okorocha Laments Atiku’s Departure, Blames Tinubu On Buhari’s Ticket |RN

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                                          Gov. Rochas Okorocha

Peter Dada, Akure

The Imo State Governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha, has said the exit of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar from the ruling All Progressives Congress is not a good development for the party.

Atiku, a former Vice-President, defected recently from the ruling party to the Peoples Democratic Party.

Okorocha spoke with journalists after he received an honorary doctorate degree at the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, Ondo State on Saturday. He described Abubakar as a heavyweight politician.

He said, “I have taken a holistic view of our party, it (Atiku’s exit) is not the best because no matter how anybody thinks, Atiku carries some political weight. His leaving our party is not the best.”

The Imo State Governor, however, noted that since Atiku had decided to move on politically by going to another political party, the APC would make amends and his (Atiku) place would be filled up accordingly.

Reacting to the recent statement credited to the National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, which said there would be no automatic ticket for President Muhammadu Buhari for the 2019 presidential election, against the position of the APC governors, Okorocha maintained that he would support Buhari for a second term.

The chairman of the APC Governors’ Forum had earlier said all the governors would support the sole candidacy of President Buhari in the 2019 election but Tinubu disagreed insisting that the APC’s presidential candidate must emerge through a primary.

Okorocha said, “The (Tinubu’s) statement came to me as a surprise; come to think of it, I never referred to him. I referred to the governors of Nigeria, including the PDP governors and I said only one or two of them had not joined yet.

“Since I made the statement, no governor has said something contrary to what I said. I am surprised that Asiwaju will now be speaking for the governors. He looks like somebody crying more than the bereaved. I did not see reason for the statement actually. But he commands my respect and I don’t want to take issue with the national leader of my party.

“What I mentioned was for the governors and secondly what I said is support. The word I use is support that does not mean there will not be a primary. Governors can only contribute 37 votes; we still have over 5,000 votes up there. What I was talking about was about governors. I was not talking about other party members. Governors alone do not determine the standard bearer of a party.”   (Punch)

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2019: Imo Assembly Endorses Okorocha’s Son-in-law For Governor |The Republican News

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Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha

GIBSON ACHONU

Crisis brewing in the Imo State House of assembly may have escalated following the Assembly’s endorsement of Governor Rochas Okorocha’s son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, as a governorship aspirant in 2019.

Nwosu is currently the Chief of Staff in the Government House.

The House Committee Chairman on Petroleum, Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission and Niger Delta Development Commission, Henry Ezediaro, said Nwosu was the most qualified to take over from his father-in-law, Okorocha.

Ezediaro, who spoke at a press conference in Owerri, the state capital, on Saturday, said the decision to endorse Nwosu was reached after the majority of the state’s lawmakers declared him the best to run for the position.

He said, “After meeting with the members of the House of Assembly, we, irrespective of party affiliations, have endorsed Ugwumba Uche Nwosu. We urge him to contest the poll. If he does, we will support him to be the governor in 2019.

“On behalf of the lawmakers, we want to use this medium to appeal to the governor and thank him for his free education policy in the state, but without Uche Nwosu, the policy may die and that is why we want him to continue from where he will stop.”

The lawmaker denied there is a crisis in the House.

“The house is not in a crisis, we just disagreed on some issues,” Ezediaro added.  (Punch)

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