2019: Araraume Cannot Govern Imo – Okorocha
By Austin Echefu
Ahead of the 2019 governorship election in Imo State, Governor Rochas Okorocha insists that Senator Ifeanyi Araraume will not be Governor of the state, saying that he does not have the capacity to even win the governorship ticket of the All Progressive Congress (APC).
The Governor made this known in a press release by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Sam Onwuemeodo, on Wednesday, following the report that the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the APC had rejected the Governor’s motion to dissolve the National Working Committee and other excos of the party, down to the wards, and rather voted to extend their tenures till June 2019.
The Governor and Araraume had lost their love for each other following Araraume’s guber ambition which the Governor had opposed. But supporters of Senator Araraume had taken to the social media to celebrate what they considered a victory against the Governor, even as the former Senator issued a press release thanking the President and the national leadership of the party.
It was also gathered that Governor Okorocha had made arrangements to replace the party excos in Imo State, from the state level to the wards.
In his reaction to the development, the Governor said that “Senator Ifeanyi Araraume cannot win the ticket of APC for the 2019 guber in the State and can never govern the State”, urging the people not to “allow themselves to be deceived”.
The Governor recalled that “In 2007, he (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?”
He challenged Araraume to join any other party and pick the governorship ticket there to prove his mettle, saying: “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 be always working to undo sitting governors to become governor”.
He said that Araraume was “among those calling Rochas, OkoroHausa, Alhaji in Government House and Buhari-Rochas and accusing them of coming to Islamize Igboland and Nigeria in general”.
The Governor claimed that while he had maintained decency in his media outings some governorship aspirants had thrown caution to the wind.
“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”, he lamented.
Governor Okorocha also noted that “As a responsible government and as responsible people we do not trade on propaganda, falsehood and blackmail. We do not tell lies”, adding that some people had sponsored lies against him.
He said that he is the strongest pillar of the APC in the Southeast and warned politicians to stop dropping names.
“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 were these elements 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”.
He added: “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”.
However, Senator Araraume had on Tuesday thanked President Buhari and the national leadership of the APC over the tenure extension for the party excos down to the wards.
In the press release which he signed personally, he said: “I, Senator Ifeanyi Godwin Araraume wish to congratulate the national chairman of our party, APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, membeers of the National Working committee and the entire executive members of our party at the ward, Local Government, State and national levels for the unanimous and overwhelming resolution of the national executive Committee of APC today to extend their tenures for another one year.
“This calls for more work for our great party ahead of the forth coming general elections come 2019”.