Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha has attributed the non-jubilation of opposition parties in the state when Senator Hope Uzodinma was named the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state to his unpopularity.
A statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, Okorocha said: “He should face his two most recent criminal charges over the issuance of dud cheque and non-declaration of assets. We won’t talk about other similar cases.
“In 2011, he took the Senate seat for Orlu Zone from Chief Osita Izunaso, through the court. In 2015, Nigerians knew what transpired in Imo. The state was invaded with armed security personnel by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leaders like Uzodinma, and the rest is history. So, Uzodinma can never win election in Imo, in a free and fair election. And that is why the PDP and APGA members are those celebrating his K–leg governorship candidature for Imo APC.”
Okorocha said the APC members in Imo see Uzodinma as still a staunch member of PDP, and that was the reason behind the dead silence in Imo, over the announcement of his name as the governorship candidate of the party.
“If Uzodinma was to be a known member of the party, there would have been celebration in Imo. The chieftains of the party in Abuja, who are backing him, are elite politicians, who have no relationship with the grassroots,” he said.
Regardless, governorship candidate of the PDP in the state, Emeka Ihedioha, has vowed to defeat whoever eventually emerges APC’s governorship candidate at the end of the day.
Speaking through his Director on Media, Chibuike Onyeukwu, the PDP candidate said his track records and acceptability would speak for him during the election.
“We do not care who emerges at the end of the day; what we know is our track records, we are acceptable, we have integrity and we are popular, inasmuch as we don’t want to dabble into their affairs, what is happening in APC is not signifying peace, let them close their ranks, whoever wins, we will beat them,” Ihedioha boasted.
Meanwhile, the youth wing of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Imo League of Professionals have thrown their weight behind Uzodinma.
In separate statements in Owerri, yesterday, the two groups said they trust him to run a government that would alleviate the sufferings of Imo people. The group further said they had taken time to analyse the pedigree of the candidates for the Imo governorship race and came to the conclusion that Senator Uzodinma is the one who has more compassion for the poor and downtrodden.
The Ohanaeze youths statement, which was signed by the Acting President, Dr. Kingsley Dozie, said the youths have made up their minds to vote for individual candidates and not political parties in 2019
They said for Imo State, the Ohanaeze youths have settled for Uzodinma because he has always been there to identify with the youths, the poor and the underprivileged, indicating that as governor, he will be more compassionate with the suffering people of Imo State.
“From what we know of Senator Hope Uzodinma, he has always been handy in helping the poor, youths and students. All those who know him will attest to the fact that his philanthropy is awesome. He has a kind heart and we think this is the type of governor Imo state needs now, to alleviate the pitiable plight of Imo people.”
The statement by the Imo League of Professionals signed by its president, Dr. Okechukwu Duru, a consultant surgeon, based in Owerri, Imo State, also echoed confidence in the candidacy of Uzodinma.
The League of Imo Professionals is made up of medical doctors, lawyers, accountants and other professional groups.
Duru said the league of professionals in Imo, consists of Imo indigenes and residents and claimed they had followed closely Senator Uzodinma’s history of philanthropy, some of which he described as “mind blowing,” and have come to the conclusion that he is the governor who will ensure that workers and pensioners are paid promptly, and that state resources will trickle down to the common man.
“In choosing to throw our weight behind Uzodinma, we weighed all the options and it is our well considered conclusion that he (Uzodinma) will attend promptly to the plight of workers, pensioners and the people, because making people happy has been part of him all his life.”