Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo state has tackled the National leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, over his comment on the decision of the APC governors to throw their weight behind the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
Okorocha said it was wrong for Tinubu to fault the decision of the governors to support Buhari saying “this does not translate that there will be no party primaries or any other interested aspirant cannot contest.”
Okorocha who stated this in Akungba Akoko, Ondo State, after being conferred with the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters by the Senate of the Adekunle Ajasin University, wondered why Tinubu was “crying more than the bereaved” when governors alone cannot determine Buhari’s re-election as the party flagbearer
He said “the statement credited to our national leader came to me as a surprise, come to think of it, I never referred to him. I refer to the governors of Nigeria including the PDP and I said only one or two of them have not joined yet.
“Since I made the statement, no governor has said something contrary to what I said. I am surprised that Asiwaju will now be speaking for the governors.
“He looks like somebody crying more than the bereaved. I did not see the reason for the statement actually. But he commands my respect and I don’t want to join issue with the national leader of my party.”
The Imo State governor explained that “what I mentioned was for the governors and secondly what I said is support. The word I used is support, and that does not mean there will not be primaries.
“Governors can only contribute only 37 votes, we still have over 5,000 votes up there. What I was talking about were governors. I was not talking about other party members. Governors alone do not determine the flag -bearer of a party.”
Speaking on the exit of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar from APC to Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Okorocha described the defection as a great loss to the party but said it will not affect the fortune of the party in the 2019 general election.
He said “I have taken a holistic view of our party; it is not the best because no matter how anybody thinks, Atiku carries some political weight. His leaving our party is not the best.
“But all said and done since he has forged ahead by going to another political party, we will make amends and his place will be filled up accordingly.”
Okorocha, however, denied that APC was jittery over the outcome of the PDP national convention held in Abuja over the weekend, but said “there is nothing to be jittery about the outcome of the PDP’s convention. We are very confident that our presidential candidate to be; President Muhammadu Buhari is up to the task.
“He has an impeccable track record that it would take an unusual presidential candidate of a rival political party to match him.
“This is the strength of our party, coupled with the fact that APC governors are performing, we are sure we will deliver 2019.”