Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State has described as malicious and unfounded, the report that he blamed the All Progressives Congress (APC) National leader, Ahmed Bola Tinubu for the death of the APC governorship candidate in Kogi State, Prince Abubakar Audu.
The report credited to one Olutoyosi Omotoso and entitled; “Tinubu, others killed Kogi Guber candidate – Okorocha”, was published on the Facebook account of the author.
Reacting to the allegation, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Sam Onwuemeodo, in a press release, said that, “the attention of the Imo state Governor and the Chairman of the APC Governors’ Forum, Owelle Rochas Okorocha has been drawn to a social media (Facebook) report with the caption ‘Tinubu, others, kill Kogi Guber candidate – Okorocha’, written by one Olutoyosi Omotoso.
“In the basically untrue report, the author claimed that the Imo Governor had accused the former Governor of Lagos state and one of the key pillars of the APC in the country, Senator Bola Tinubu and others he didn’t mention, of being responsible for the death of the APC governorship candidate in Kogi state, Prince Abubakar Audu.
“The report came up Sunday (November 22, 2016) evening and of course, few hours after the news of the death of the Kogi Prince was still in doubt by most Nigerians”.
Onwuemeodo added that “in the report, the author however failed or refused to mention or tell his audience whether Governor Okorocha had made that claim at a press conference or in a press release, but unfortunately and unintelligently said that the Imo Governor spoke on phone to say that. And the follow-up question would immediately be; on what ground would the Imo Governor call the author on phone to tell her who killed Prince Audu and who didn’t kill him.
“The truth of the matter is that, the report was totally false, even on the face value. It cannot pass any logic to be believed. It was written in bad faith.
“Even at that, the language of the story could not be Okorocha’s for those who know him and for those who have been following his speeches. He does not talk like an immature speaker. For instance the writer quoted the Governor to have said ‘we are not unaware of their antics and plans to field Audu’s deputy, Mr. Abiodun Faleke, after the programmed death of his boss’.
“Governor Okorocha does not drag his sentences or speak disjointed grammar. The mischief is very obvious, for all men and women of goodwill to see in the story”.
The statement argued further that, “again, on the day (Sunday) Prince Audu was reported to have died, Governor Okorocha was presiding over the meeting of the South-East Governors’, Ohaneze leaders, traditional rulers and National Assembly members at Enugu state Government House, over the issues of pro-Biafra protests and agitations.
“The meeting began by 1pm and ended by 6.20pm. It was when the Governor was taken to the airport for Owerri that the news of Prince Audu’s death came as a rumour. Nobody believed it until late that night when the picture of the ugly incident became clearer. So, at what point did the Imo Governor call the writer on phone to begin to tell her what she claimed in the story?
“Against the backdrop of all these, we challenge the writer of the story to also publish the particulars of the call in question. The number with which the Governor called her and the time. And also state why the Governor could have chosen to call her, of all people. Let her state his relationship with the governor to warrant such phone interaction between them. We are only keen in unmasking the face of an ungodly blackmailer.
“The truth is that those who are cowed by Governor Okorocha’s God-given clout and attributes are the ones who have chosen to be petty. And they have our sympathy, because Okorocha, in his politics is being driven by God.
“Governor OKorocha is not quarrelling with Senator Tinubu. The envisaged rift between the duo only exist in the imaginations of those who have chosen the path of dishonour, because only dishonourable people could have authored such an inglorious write-up. Decent people do not do such.
“Finally, those who feel that they can drag Governor Okorocha down through cheap blackmail should better be advised to find something meaningful to do, because whoever God has blessed, nobody can curse. This is scriptural. And that is our joy and consolation.
“All in all, the Governor regrets the sudden death of the APC governorship candidate in Kogi state, Prince Audu. The death of the APC gubernatorial candidate in Kogi state came when no one expected it, but God knew why he allowed it to happen few poles to his coming back as the Executive Governor of that state.
“The death of the Prince should also be a lesson to all of us to appreciate our limitations as human beings. We are all pencils in the hand of the creator.
“On behalf of my family and the people of Imo state, I extend my heartfelt condolences, to the President and National leader of our great party, His Excellency Mohammadu Buhari, the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Oyegun, the people of Kogi state, and those left behind to mourn the departed gentleman”.