Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, has said in no uncertain terms that “Rivers and Akwa Ibom States are very strategic to the All Progressives Congress”.
Okorocha, who made this known at a breakfast meeting with journalists in Owerri, the Imo State capital Tuesday, also claimed that the electorate in the two states voted overwhelmingly for the APC.
The Imo governor also stated that the Igbo will not use the platform of any separatist group, including the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), to pursue the Igbo agenda.
On the strategic importance of Rivers and Akwa Ibom to the APC, Okorocha claimed that “the electorate in the two states voted overwhelmingly for the APC but their votes were stolen by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, through various forms of electoral malpractices”.
Although he resisted the temptation of revealing the strategies the governing party intends to use in sacking PDP in Rivers and Akwa Ibom States, Okorocha, who is chairman of the APC Governors’ Forum, simply said that plans were afoot to actualize the target.
The Tribunals in Rivers and Akwa Ibom States in separate judgments, annulled the election of Nyesom Wike as governor of Rivers while a re-run was ordered in 18 out of the 31 local government areas in Akwa Ibom, where Udom Emmanuel of the PDP is the governor.
Okorocha, who distanced Southeast governors and leaders from the pro-Biafra groups, said the zone did not need an armed struggle associated with militia groups to attract economic and infrastructural development.
He noted that the Southeast zone’s setbacks could not be addressed by antagonising the North and West, but by mutual cooperation and support for the APC-led Federal Government.
“The Igbo will not use the agitation for Biafra as a platform to negotiate the place of Ndigbo, but will support the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to attract the dividends of democracy that eluded us in the past.
“We should try to jettison religious sentiments and support President Buhari. The Igbo will not use Biafra as a front; we condemn those agitating for Biafra because that is not Ndigbo’s need”.
“I appeal to Ndigbo to avoid unnecessary bickering and antagonism with the North, West and other parts of the country, so as to brighten the prospects of a president of Igbo extraction in future”, he added.
On why his administration was yet to appoint commissioners and special advisers, the governor said it has enabled him save money for the state, for capital projects.
“If I appoint them now, they will start demanding for imprest, traveling allowance, hazard allowance and this is outside their monthly pay. This has enabled me save some money for the state, for capital projects”, Okorocha explained.
When asked why all public taps in the state have dried up, Governor Okorocha said he preferred sinking water boreholes for communities instead of procuring chemicals, maintaining machines and other facilities.