‘My only agreement with Okorocha is make Imo better’

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Uche Nwosu won the Imo State All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship ticket after a fierce contest with some gladiators. In this interview with reporters in Owerri, the state capital, the former Chief of Staff unfolded his plan to reconcile aggrieved members of the party and his covenant with Governor Rochas Okorocha. NDIDI OKODILI was there.

The primary where you emerged APC candidate was boycotted by six of nine aspirants. Are you not disturbed about that?

Let me first of all commend the National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole and the National Working Committee for allowing justice and democracy to prevail in the Imo State chapter of the party as it concerns the governorship primary. The first governorship primary did not hold, but in a bid to deny the teeming members of our party the opportunity to decide who flies the party’s flag for the general election one unpopular aspirant hijacked the chairman of the electoral panel, Ahmed Gulak, who ran to Abuja and declared one fake result. The other members of the committee who were surprised by Gulak’s action stood their ground and a fresh primary was fixed for October 6. The idea to back out of an election is purely the prerogative of the aspirants. Moreover, three aspirants, including myself, participated in the primary. Our party members trooped out from the 305 wards to vote. All the stipulated guidelines in electing candidates were strictly adhered to. The electoral panel set up by the national chairman was here. They visited the police, DSS, INEC and the media covered the exercise. Who are even the six aspirants that boycotted the exercise? Are they the ones one of the aspirants bought forms for, so that they will support him in perpetrating injustice? The bone of contention is that we resisted their bid manufacture figures for a primary that did not hold. What happened on October 6 was true reflection of democracy. People came out in the direct primary and voted for aspirants of their choice without intimidation or inducement. Imo APC is on a cause and we are determined to win again in 2019. By the grace of God, I am the next governor of Imo State.

You called for reconciliation after you were declared winner. How sincere are you about that?

Everything I said after I was declared the winner of Imo APC governorship primary I meant it. I am passionate about Imo APC and the future of our state. My campaign organisation has already set a committee and we are working towards calming all frayed nerves. I don’t believe in a winner-takes-all approach. It is only when we stick together that we can win. Politics is about interest and this time our interest will be the same. We are reaching out to aspirants who genuinely want the success of Imo APC in 2019.We are one and we should work together to see that we not only win the governorship election, but to also make sure that President Muhammadu Buhari wins convincingly in our state .

Are you prepared to concede the deputy governorship slot to the other camp as insinuated?

The truth of the matter is that we are meeting and we are working towards making sure that the APC is stronger, focused and ready to come out tops in 2019. No offer has been made and no offer has been rejected either. But the reality is that I am the APC governorship candidate in Imo State and I am desirous of leading the party to victory in 2019. Our desire is to bring everybody together and we ready to make sacrifices and concessions to achieve that. Regarding the deputy governorship slot, when we get to that bridge we will cross it.

There is a speculation that your name has not been submitted to INEC. How true is that?

These petty speculations make me laugh most times. INEC guidelines are very clear; political parties had up till November 2 to submit the names of their candidates to the electoral umpire. It is very clear. The guidelines stipulated that October 7 was the deadline for the conduct of primaries by all political parties. The fact is that Uche Nwosu is the governorship candidate of the APC in Imo State for the 2019 general elections. Instead of wishing me bad luck you should join to develop Imo. I am passionate about the growth of Imo State. I have a blueprint on how to make Imo great. It is centered on a nine-point agenda. I shall unveil it on the day I will officially kick start my campaign.

Critics say your ambition to govern Imo is Governor Okorocha’s third term by proxy. Are you going to be a stooge, if you win, because you are married to the governor’s daughter?

I am nobody’s stooge and I will not be. The only agreement I have with Governor Rochas Okorocha is to work, work and work. Those who hold such infantile position have forgotten my role in this government. The question is, was I a stooge when I served as the Commissioner for Lands, Survey and Urban Development? Was I a stooge when I served as the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Imo State government? Was I also a stooge when I served as the Chief of Staff to the government of Imo State? I have realised that people say things because they don’t like your face or because their interest and yours clash. If I were a stooge would I be able to beautify Owerri in our urban renewal programme, which has been commended by all? In politics people must frame up things just to discredit their perceived political opponent. But, I have developed a tough skin not to allow those inconsequential things to disturb me. The vision is to lead Imo State to a greater height.

People say with your emergence as the governorship candidate and with that of your father-in-law as candidate for Imo West senatorial district the APC is destined to fail in the state?

Who said it, where, when and how? Politics is a reality show; it is about people. Primaries were conducted and the members of our party freely voted for the aspirants of their choice. Is that a crime? Let me tell you that the emergence of the governor as a senatorial candidate is a huge blessing for our party. His victory at the primary will work in our favour, because a mammoth crowd voted massively vote for him during the election. It also shows that APC will sweep Imo West senatorial district. Which politician in this state can you compare his or her popularity or acceptance to that of Governor Okorocha? Which politician has been able to do what the governor has done in this state? Who else has the kind followership the governor has?  When you play football you line up your best 11; in politics you field your best too. The governor is the best for the zone and that it is a huge political advantage for Imo APC. It will work in our favour both during the presidential and governorship elections.

There are fears that the crisis that trailed the primary will affect your chances…

Nothing unusual happened during the primary. If you have been monitoring political developments in Imo State, you will understand that the PDP and the APGA are not better off. More crises have happened in those parties than in the APC. In Imo PDP you saw and heard how allegations of over voting, double voting and other irregularities marred the outcome of their primary. Of course, you are aware that Senator Samuel Anyanwu has rejected the outcome of the primary. On its part, APGA couldn’t hold any primary at all. After two attempts to hold the primary failed, the party ignored 12 governorship aspirants and submitted the name of somebody who joined the party about two weeks ago. Politics is a game of interest and nothing bad has happened in Imo APC. Uche Nwosu will be the next governor of Imo State. Nothing good comes easy.

What would you do differently from your father in-law, if elected as the next governor?

I have a well researched and articulated blueprint for Imo State. It is a nine-point agenda programme for Imo people. That is why I have always replied my critics, by telling them to wait until I become the next governor and see what I will do. I want to repeat again that I am not anybody’s stooge. The only business contract I have with Okorocha is work and make Imo better. My programme is centered on wealth creation and industrialisation. I know what it means to wake up and you have no food on your table. I have come to empower the youths and the women mostly. I have come to improve on the health of the people. Children from age zero to six will have unfettered access to free medical care. It is also the same thing for our parents from 65 years and above. Apart from the free education programme of the current administration, I will make our education system an ICT model in the country. Our classrooms shall be rebuilt and equipped. Our teachers shall be retrained and empowered to teach our children better. We will massively move into the rural areas, so as to make life comfortable for our people. I will partner with security agencies to finance the police, because that is the best way of making Imo safer.

There are also insinuations that Imo APC crisis will affect the President’s re-election chances in Imo. Do you agree?

The fact is that there are no comparisons between President Muhammadu Buhari and the PDP presidential flag bearer. Buhari is a man of uncommon integrity and credibility. If you recollect, immediately Buhari took over in 2015 Nigeria’s image abroad was restored. Moreover, there is no crisis in Imo APC. We only have divergent interests, which the concluded primary will settle. Buhari will win convincingly in Imo State. Igbo people are more comfortable with Buhari and we will massively support him for a second term in office.

 

 



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