How Ojukwu, Uwazurike made Okorocha Imo governor – Ajumbe


From Stanley Uzoaru, OwerriChief Orikaeze Ajumbe is the former chairman of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in Imo State. He has served virtually under every successive governments in the state from 2007.In this interview with SundaySun, he ex-rayed the achievements of Governors Achike Udenwa, Ikedi Ohakim, Rochas Okorocha, Emeka Ihedioha and Hope Uzodimma in Imo State.He also gave reasons he dumped the APC among many other revelations in his state. Excerpts:Tell us sir, is it true that you’ve dumped the APC?Yes, I have left APC, I’ve resigned as a member.What could be your reasons?APC has poor reward system, if you check, there were three political parties that made up APC, the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), CPC, ACN and other ones like APGA. ANPP and other parties were supposed to benefit from whatever that has been shared, those who negotiated on behalf of ANPP didn’t do a good job. Ogbonnaya Onu, Shekarau and the rest, didn’t do a good job ,they were only interested in what concerns them. Ogbonnaya Onu was only interested in becoming the national chairman of the merger party, as he was told that he was going to become the national chairman when the parties merge while Shekarau was thinking that he was going to be the only oresidential candidate. Tinubu and their group played that game on them, making them believe that, they did everything haphazardly, at a point when we have the last NEC meeting at the party secretariat, then a motion was moved to join ACN and CPC in the merger supported by somebody and I moved a counter motion of ANPP joining the merger. There was a stalemate, then I said count the vote ,I have somebody who supported me which means my counter motion was valid ,then I commanded a lot of influence at the NEC ,I asked them to count the votes of those who want ANPP to join the merger ,Shekarau was busy telling me what we’re going to gain from the national party ,but I told him we have a motion on ground, one for and one against ,but he continued to try to whip up support ,they were all appealing to me to withdraw my motion, but I insisted ,if they win me I will join. But after so much pressure,I said okay if this is what you people want ,let me withdraw my motion ,but I’m not in support of the merger ,I told them tomorrow you people will find out why I’m not in support ,and it happened ,and probably because of that ,to pacify me, they put me as a member of the convention committee in the last convention of the ANPP in Zamfara State ,thereafter, as soon as Buhari indicated interest to run for Presidency, Shekarau decamped and joined PDP. Shekarau that was carrying everything on his head abandoned all of us ,he didn’t negotiate well, he took us to a merger and we merged for your own selfish interest and we merged and you left us and joined PDP. Before you know it , Sheriff became the national chairman of PDP. When Buhari won, Ogbonnaya Onu instead of becoming the leader went and took appointment as a minister ,appointment that people like Tinubu did not take. Tell me how he’s going to challenge his boss in defence of ANPP which he left ,and no member of ANPP got an appointment with the APC. As I speak with you,former members of NEC of the defunct ANPP are still intact ,they still meet. In 2016, because of their problems,I sponsored a meeting at Abuja and called all members of NEC of the defunct ANPP ,we planned to pull out of the merger ,the governor of Yobe State then pleaded with us ,that we should give them time to address the issue ,we didn’t know it was a waiting game ,before you know it,that first tenure ended ,they promised to do something in the second tenure and before you know it, it started going the way it went ,as I speak with you,no member of the defunct ANPP have gotten any reasonable appointment ,it was of recent that Muoghalu got his own appointment after so much cry. Out of the three political parties that formed APC,you left one almost dead,you don’t want to do anything with it ,you depended on CPC and ACN ,so that was my annoyance.Which party are you going to join now?I have not decided, I will consult with my constituents and decide which party to go .You served virtually in all the administrations in Imo State,which of them would you say have impacted mostly on the people?I have monitored all the governors that have ruled the state ,let’s keep the military apart ,let’s keep the short period of Evan Ewerem apart ,let me start from Udenwa ,he tried his best. During the time of Udenwa ,there was peace in the state ,you hardly hear of insecurity, night life was bubbling, he was a very quiet person as a governor ,a man that needed no trouble even though there were things he didn’t do well ,especially when he was handing over ,but I would say that’s how God want it ,but he didn’t do so much in development of infrastructure on road network, he didn’t expand Owerri as a city ,but there was peace . Let’s go to Ohakim ,he would have been the best governor in this state, go and check all the roads Ohakim built ,till now ,those roads are still strong ,even though that he was slow in executing such roads ,maybe he was looking for the best ,may be he was also thinking that at his second tenure he would do better,but Ohakim respected the elders ,he recognised the importance of elders in governance and he consulted widely. Ohakim listens and keeps to appointment and he would be there waiting for you ,but he went haywire when he became a member of kitchen cabinet of the late Yar’Adua government immediately he left PPA and joined PDP. I advised him against joining PDP then ,but he told me it was an agreement he had with the president then. I warned him that it will swallow his political interest. Immediately he joined PDP, the war started ,you know PDP is like a cult ,there are people who own that party and they started war with Ohakim ,that war continued and they formed an alliance with Rochas Okorocha because they saw in him the person they can use to fight Ohakim. Eventually, it happened the way it happened ,and let me tell you ,despite the gang up, Ohakim won that election. I was there at INEC headquarters when Prof Akubundu was announcing the results ,they bribed the returning officer of Mbaitoli who came there and said that he has no result because Ohakim won in Mbaitoli. Then in Oguta ,they almost got the late Arthur Nzeribe’s wife naked and destroyed her result she was carrying and when they were announcing the result,it remained Ohaji/Egbema where Ohakim scored more votes ,I was sitting beside Agbaso and Jerry Egemba. Egemba was the agent of PDP ,no single commissioner of Ohakim was there at the INEC office ,the place was filled up with Rochas Okorocha’s men. Ohakim’s men did not play there roles,some of them were in hotels probably waiting when the results would be announced ,that was how Ohakim lost out.Let me talk about Rochas. Rochas came unprepared ,he was to run for House of Reps,from House of Reps to Senate ,from Senate,P.C Onuoha changed his mind and talked him into running for governor. He thought it wasn’t going to be possible ,he took him to Ralph Uwazuruike and pleaded that Ralph should give him ticket because as at that time,Ojukwu had told Ralph ,whoever you nominate,that person I will support. Ralph told people like Big-Do to step down for him and he got the ticket and then entered into negotiations with Martins Agbaso and his brother that made his brother then,Jude Agbaso ,the deputy governor. Like I said ,he came unprepared ,it took him some time to know where to start ,so he started tarring all the tarred roads in Owerri to say that he has started doing something. And gradually he got himself, he nearly became a hero, Rochas opened up Owerri ,he made Owerri lands to have value, whether he was selfish or not ,he expanded the city Owerri ,during his time, there was no insurgence, the little we had in Ohaji/Egbema,he used his ingenuity to curb them,he was able to identify their leader and brought them into government and gave them positions, that place calmed down. Rochas could even enter a bicycle and ride along Douglas or Wetheral raod. In infrastructural development, he did well ,people would say the roads he did were China roads or the buildings he built were China buildings ,government is a continuum, where he did not do well, let his successor do,at least, he is not going to start from zero than abandoning what he has started . People accused him of land grabbing, he did ,he grabbed a lot ,his associates grabbed a lot, but service to the people he tried. Rochas is somebody who likes property ,those around him also benefitted from that ,in insecurity we had a smooth eight years of Okorocha and after Okorocha ,we had Emeka Ihedioha. For the seven months he was there ,he had a programme for Imo,you know I’m not from PDP. I’m talking as a stakeholder in Imo State. Emeka had a blueprint for Imo State as at that time ,but things started going wrong for him. The exigencies of office went into his head and he saterd to loose direction and in fact almost lost direction before the Supreme Court removed him ,you don’t do government things and become too clannish. But he had a good vision ,things started changing,under seven months he spent it fighting Rochas and lost direction and could not deliver ,he could not face his project anymore until eventually the Supreme Court removed him. Thereafter came Hope Uzodimma. I was still a member of APC till yesterday ,we welcomed Uzodimma,we saw him as somebody who is coming to rewrite things going by the way he came in . He knew the people would not accept him,he would now do the right thing ,he started with recovery, and the people hailed him for that especially those people whose property were forcefully taken by Okorocha, but all of a sudden those things started fading away and he started missing followers . If he had continued with the spirit of recovery, he would have been a hero by now ,from day one he entered, he was in court fighting Okorocha ,before you know it there was COVID ,it took about one year and he could not do much within that one year because virtually everywhere was locked down. Immediately after COVID is the insurgency ,it has been always one week one trouble for Uzodimma ,fighting the court,COVID ,fighting drop in oil allocation and finally the insurgency ,the burning of his house ,the insurgency that has almost taken Orlu , people started dying ,they started attributing it to him while he was not ,trouble now started ,people that loved him started hating him, those whose children died in the process ,anything he does,people would always oppose ,night life in Owerri started dying ,hotels started losing occupancy ,businesses in Owerri started dying ,people started running out of Owerri ,especially the young ones who had businesses, these things are not the making of Hope ,but those around him who could have advised him did not advise him well . No where in the history of wars it ended at the battle field ,look at all of them,Afghanistan, Biafran war did not end at the battle field, all of them ended at a round table.  The more you shoot the insurgents, the more they regroup,what do you do, pullout the security personel fighting against you and see how you can bring them in ,identify their leaders and dialogue with them ,there is no human being on earth that has no price.  Do not say I will crush them,the people you want to crush are the same people you vowed to protect ,if I were the governor this is what I would do,there are ways of identifying their leaders ,find out why they are doing what they are doing ,this is the main problem we have in this state ,it requires those who can look him in the face and tell him him these, we need peace in this state.Besides this insecurity, do you think he has done well?He is doing federal roads, coming to that he has done well ,Owerri to Orlu and Okigwe,Amaraku and he’s starting the Emekuku that leads to Umuahia ,that’s a good one,these are roads that lead to Owerri ,but the ones that will benefit the people are the local roads where agricultural products can come into the state and reduce the cost of food items ,when I heard he stopped the RAMP, I wasn’t happy ,it’s a project that would have given each community a good road ,it’s not sponsored by the state,he still has a year, let him bring back the RAMP .Alright, enough of Imo now, we know you to be a very close ally of Kwankwaso,do you think he made a wrong decision when he refused to pair with Obi as his vice presidential candidate?Some people say Kwankwaso is a proud person,he wouldn’t like to be under anybody . He has a direction and vision,he wouldn’t want to be under anybody so that his visions will not materialised. You know he is working closely with Buba Galadima and both of them are working on almost same vision ,pairing with Peter Obi can never work. Peter Obi now is the bride that everybody wants to marry ,he has brought in what I may call political influenza in Nigeria,in the sence that they thought it was child’s play and now they have seen that he’s unstoppable ,he’s even more popular in the North more than the South and if you check Nigeria today, restiveness has dropped and that is because people are looking up to Peter Obi,all the EndSARS people have all laid down their arms because of him ,people are already looking at him as agent of change.

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