The cold war between the Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha and former Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, who is nursing governorship ambition under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has deepened.
The Imo governor on Tuesday dismissed the former Senator’s ambition as unrealistic, adding that he cannot even win the party primaries, talk less of wining the main governorship election.
Governor Okorocha in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Sam Onwuemeodo, said, “I want to say this for the sake of emphasis. Senator Ifeanyi Araraume cannot win the ticket of APC for the 2019 governorship election in the State and can never govern the State. So people should not allow themselves to be deceived”.
The statement continued that, “In 2007, Araraume won the ticket of PDP and failed the main election. In 2011, he also had the ticket of ACN and came fourth in the election. In 2015, he also failed the PDP Primary. So what magic would he perform in 2019?
“Again, if he sees himself as a Political force, let him do what Rochas Okorocha did in 2011 by taking the ticket of APGA that was not on ground and won his election by defeating a sitting governor of PDP extraction and in 2015, when he defiled all the PDP onslaughts with Federal might and joined the Merger that gave birth to APC at the risk of his life and his second term bid and also won his election. Let Senator Araraume pick the ticket of any of the parties, contest and win and we will celebrate him. He should not always be working to undo sitting governors to become governor”.
It added further that, “some of these people were among those calling Rochas, OkoroHausa, Alhaji in Government House and Buhari-Rochas and accusing him of coming to Islamize Igboland and Nigeria in general.
“Name-dropping has also become old fashioned in Politics. In 2007 and 2011, it was Chief Tony Aninih’s name that was been dropped. Today, they have begun to drop the name of Chief John Oyegun. Powerful Politicians in the real sense of the word do not drop names”.
The statement which apparently a reaction to the Araraume’s alleged claim that he was not in support of the elongation of the term of office of the APC National Chairman, noted further that, “it is unfortunate that while we have continued to exercise caution and demonstrate apparent decency and discipline in our media outings even as they concern some of the Politicians and governorship aspirants in the State, few of them have always thrown caution to the wind by thinking that the only way they can make impact or make a headway in their Politics and Political pursuits is by embarking on falsehood and sponsoring cheap blackmail against Governor Rochas Okorocha.
“As a responsible government and as responsible people we do not trade on propaganda, falsehood and blackmail. We do not tell lies. They have sponsored lies against the governor over the outcome of the APC NEC meeting held in Abuja on Tuesday, February 27, 2018 in which the tenure of the National Chairman Chief John Oyegun and others were extended.
“The governor is the strongest pillar of APC in the South-East and one of the pillars in the Country. And he has remained supportive in all ramifications to the John Oyegun-led National Exco of the Party. And there is no reason anybody should begin to create the impression that Governor Okorocha was against the extension of Chief Oyegun’s tenure.
“The APC governors who are all members of the APC Governors’ Forum which governor Okorocha heads supported the extension of tenure across the board. And with that, the governors are the greatest beneficiaries of the extension.
“You may ask where these elements were when the PDP foot soldiers were invading Imo and South-East in general with Soldiers and other Security agents. Rochas made the survival of APC in the South-East possible, having a Senator, three House of Representatives, Majority in the House of Assembly (23 out of 27), and gave President Muhammadu Buhari the highest number of votes in 2015 in the South-East. And APC won that election but the PDP people doctored the whole exercise with the help of Security agencies and INEC then. Time will expose these folks who think that their Political survival lies with blackmail against Okorocha”.
Meanwhile, the governor has congratulated Oyegun and other members of the APC National Working Committee (NWC) of All Progressives Congress, APC over the extension of their tenure by one year.
The governor also congratulated States, Local Governments and Ward Executives of the party who also benefitted from the extension.
He noted that “such lofty action would not have been possible without the able leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, the state governors and key stakeholders in the party who were at the NEC meeting”.
The governor reminded Chief Oyegun and his team that “by the extension, they have been challenged to do more for the progress and victory of the party at levels”.
He wished them a successful tenure, and praying that the” good Lord should grant them all they needed to succeed”.