Governor Okorocha who spoke to State House correspondents shortly after meeting behind closed-doors with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, also alleged that about five million members of the APC have left the party because of injustice by the party leadership.
He advised the APC national Chairman to learn how to respect the rule of law and court orders, adding that the impression that the President was behind what the party Chairman was doing was not true.
The Imo State Governor, who is Chairman of Progressives Governors Forum, said that the era of treating court order must stop; stressing that it was the presence of President Buhari as the party’s leader that had held the party together, if not it would have scattered.
He exonerated from any form of impunity exhibited by the party’s national chairman, saying that President Buhari who he described as the leader of APC, has been the only rallying point for the party, if not it would have disintegrated since.
He said, “I am here to clear the air that the Presidency is behind what Oshiomhole is doing in some of the States which has affected our party negatively. From my understanding from Mr. President, there is no such directive for Oshiomhole to do anything illegal or create any sign of injustice and as so, Oshiomhole is on his own in this whole thing.
“There is no presidency support for him to refuse a candidate who won election and give to wrong candidate who did not win election. This is the matter and I will simply say it is not with the consent of the presidency, he is on his own.
“And I also requested that Oshiomhole must learn to respect the rule of law and obey court orders where they apply. his issue of treating court orders as tissue papers must stop, it doesn’t reflect the image of our party, he must act quickly to fix the integrity of this party because his coming in ought to have brought joy into the party and not sadness.”
When asked whether APC was going to disintegrate as a result of the crisis in the party, Okorocha who said that he was the person that name the party APC said, “Well, APC will not disintegrate for as long as the person, Muhammadu Buhari is still the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and remains the leader of this party.
“So, we cannot give that credit to the chairman. He cannot disintegrate this party, the party is still intact, just that many people are hurt. Since his inception and after this primaries, we are losing almost five million voters because of anger, protest everywhere and he needs to be called to order, he has to respect the rule of law, respect court orders and do the right thing – obey court orders where applicable and not turn himself into INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission).
When also asked to state the true position in the Imo APC governorship ticket as today is the last day for the submission of candidates, he said that substituting the name of his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu who he claimed won the APC governorship primaries with the name of Senator Hope Uzodimma would not stand.
He said, “He (Oshiomhole) cannot be standing for Hope Uzodimma because that man (Uzodimma) did not win election. You cannot compare somebody who won 265,000 votes with somebody who won 7,000 votes. He (Hope Uzodimma) never won election and you cannot impose a candidate who is unacceptable to the people to the people, that is how serious the matter is now.
“So he (Oshiomhole) should do the right thing and I have advised him severally to do the right thing before he creates more disaffection in our party.”
Also reminded that it has been reported on Wednesday that the National Working Committee of the APC has substituted the name of his son-in-law Uche Nwosu with that of Senator Hope Uzodimma and submitted to INEC, he said it was an illegality.
According to him, “He (Oshiomhole) can’t do it. I don’t think the National Working Committee will do that because in the first place, the National Working Committee sent a 13-man delegation who conducted election and 12 of them signed proving that Uche Nwosu won the election with 265,000 votes as against Hope Uzodinma who got less than 7,000 votes.
“So, they (NWC) can’t do that. And there is a letter to that effect from the National Working Committee saying Uche Nwosu won, there is a Certificate of Return given to Uche Nwosu, there is a Police report saying Uche Nwosu (won), there is INEC report saying Uche Nwosu (won). So nobody can do that and if they do that, that must be the worst imposition in the history of Nigeria.”
The APC Governors Forum Chairman said that the tacit support for Oshiomhole by Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu was as a result of ill information on the side of the national leader.
Recall that Asiwaju Tinubu on Wednesday after meeting behind closed doors with President Buhari told journalists that nobody will remove Oshiomhole as he enjoyed the support of majority of party members and even called on all members of the party to support the national Chairman.
But Governor Okorocha said, “Maybe, he is being misinformed. If he is properly informed, he will not say what Oshiomhole is doing is the right thing.”
On his rumoured plan to defect to the Social Democratic Party, SDP, he said, “SDP? How can I build a house and leave it for someone else? I am in APC, I founded the APC, I gave the name APC and so this is our party and we must continue with the party and build the party for victory. “
Okorocha has been battling to ensure that his son-in-law takes over from him in 2019, it was reported that the National Working Committee, NWC, of the APC Wednesday night adopted the Ahmed Gulak Committee that conducted the APC governorship primaries in Imo state which recognized Senator Hope Uzodimma as the governorship candidate of the party in Imo State.