Dickson Okafor

Uche Nwosu is the governorship candidate of the Action Alliance (AA) in Imo State. He speaks on his chances at the poll.

Governor Rochas Okorocha openly asked the people to vote for you during the recent rally of the All Progressives Congress (APC) with the First Lady, Aisha Buhari and the governorship candidate in the state, Sen. Hope Uzodima in attendance, a development that triggered protest from the supporters of the APC candidate. Isn’t that a mark of anti -party on the part of the governor and a sign of disregard for the wife of the president?    

As far as I’m concern, Governor Rochas Okorocha did not in any way disregard the wife of the president, Aisha Buhari. The governor’s support for me is not in doubt because he has made it clear that Senator Hope Uzodima is imposed on the members of APC in Imo State as governorship candidate of the party for the March election and has declared his support for me. So, I don’t think that was the cause of the fracas at Dan Anyiam Stadium. Like you rightly observe, the supporters of the APC candidate caused the fracas. My party the Action Alliance (AA) has adopted President Muhammadu Buhari as its sole candidate for the February 16 presidential election. Don’t forget that the rally was organised by South-East women for President Buhari and the wife of the governor is the leader of APC women in the zone. Therefore, to the best of my knowledge, I can’t imagine the governor descend so low to obstruct a rally organised by his wife for the number one citizen of the country.

Mind you, it was not governorship rally, but presidential rally. Members of AA were in that rally to show their solidarity and support for their presidential candidate, President Buhari and that was why majority of the people you saw at the rally were AA members. The task before me and members of my party is to ensure President Buhari is re-elected and that is Okorocha’s concern as well. My problem with APC is not President Muhammadu Buhari; my problem with the ruling party is its National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole. So, I was at the rally to support the re-election bid of the president and I have made it clear that President Buhari’s re-election is not negotiable.

Many won’t buy the idea that the supporters of Uzodima caused the fracas, can you be specific, what actually happened?

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It was not a big deal, rather, it was politics. It is expected that politicians will always disagree, but the supporters of Uzodima went too far to try to obstruct the rally because I stole the show. That was not the first of its kind, in Lagos; the APC rally also witnessed the same scenario. The major thing is that we are supporting President Buhari for second term in office and the people of Imo have resolved to elect me as their governor that is the reason members of APC in the state were jittery.

How has the response being since you joined AA?

So far, the response has been encouraging. Action Alliance within few weeks I moved into the party with my supporters is now the party to beat in the state just because of my presence in the party. That brings me back to what I told Oshiomhole earlier, I told him that what make up a political party is the people not an individual therefore, he cannot impose an individual on the people of Imo and expect them to be part of such party. When he refused to listen to popular wish, I moved to AA and all my supporters who were founding members of APC also moved with me because they felt betrayed by the National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole. They felt that he imposed a PDP card carrying member on them and that is the highest level of anti-party. So, they didn’t have any option, but to join me in AA. The people have made it clear that wherever I’ am, there they will be and whoever I support for President that is the person they will vote for. The crowd you saw at Dan Anyiam stadium that was over 20, 000 comprising women and youths are mainly members of AA and they came to support President Buhari

Is the President indeed with Okorocha as speculated?

Mr. President believes in the popularity of a candidate because he also believes in due process and he has assured Nigerians that under his administration he will ensure that the general election is free and fair. The relationship between President Buhari and Governor Okorocha is cordial. The only person who is afraid of Okorocha’s popularity is Oshiomhole and few members of the APC National Working Committee (NWC) who are bent at imposing Senator Hope Uzodima on the people of Imo. Apart from that Buhari recognises the fact that only Okorocha singlehandedly brought and ensured APC gained ground in Imo when others opposed the establishment of the party in state and in the South-East in 2015.

President Buhari is a party man and that is responsible for the way and manner he makes appointments. Buhari is one person who rewards hard work, commitment and loyalty. He doesn’t pay too much emphasis on political jobbers or those I call ‘food don done’ politicians. People who are not ready to help build parties, but will jump into a well structured political party and eventually kill it. That was what happened to PDP when the likes of Hope Uzodima joined other rebels and killed the party that was once referred to as the largest political party in Africa. So, what happened at the rally was orchestrated by Adams Oshiomhole to discredit Okorocha.