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Jonathan: Okorocha is an Embarrassment to Democracy

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IMAGE: Governor Rochas Okorocha, »


President Goodluck Jonathan has described Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State as an embarrassment to democracy and a disaster waiting to happen.

Jonathan, who was represented by the Foreign Affairs Minister, 1, Professor Viola Onwuliri, at the Iriji Mbaise New Yam Festival, spoke to journalists after the event saying from the conduct of the governor, it was obvious that he was not interested in the festival but just came to create confusion and derail the event.

She said: “Since Okorocha assumed office in 2011, he has never attended the Iriji Mbaise until this one that precedes the election year. This is not the ground for venting personal animosities. He even left before the actual ceremony began. He just brought trouble to the event and this is an embarrassment to the state and its people. I am positive that by 2015, we will all have a chance to redress this anomaly.”

The 2014 Yam Festival, at some point, turned into a political rally of sorts with Okorocha and the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief Emeka Ihedioha, relentlessly fought for supremacy.

It was apparent however that the Mbaise nation was not too receptive to the fact that the governor tried to engage their son in their own soil. Okorocha’s microphone was intermitently switched off for as long as five minutes, as the people jeered the governor.

Receiving the governor to Mbaise, Ihedioha pointedly told Okorocha that he (Okorocha) would as a matter of necessity hand over to him in 2015, noting that the governor’s exit was not negotiable.

Ihedioha also held the governor to task on what he described as "lack of state government presence in Mbaise."
According to the deputy speaker, “The major projects in Mbaise are those executed by the federal government. In the few areas credited to the state government, we only see projects that are very poorly executed.

“It is evident that the governor has run out of ideas, so as a matter of expediency, it is expected that he would hand over the reins in 2015 so we can help out.”

Responding, an angry Okorocha said: “The green cap (referring to Ihedioha's trademark cap) will not make anybody governor of Imo State and as a matter of fact, there is nobody in the Imo State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who is his match in an electoral contest. My three years in office is more productive than the 12 years spent in the state by the PDP. Imo people have rejected PDP because PDP is worse than the Ebola virus.”

Okorocha’s microphone was switched off again when he said he had laid the foundation for a campus of the Imo State University to be sited in Aboh Mbaise/Ngor Okpala federal constituency.

The crowd booed and what they described as a Greek gift that was intended for political convenience.

The confusion degenerated into a free for all between Okorocha’s supporters and those of Ihedioha, but the security personnel on ground contained it in good time before whisking the governor away to safety.

While many believed Okorocha fled the event long before the breaking of kola nuts and the address of the president, his supporters said he left for another assignment.

Meanwhile, Ihedioha has asked Okorocha to apologise to the Mbaise people for defiling their custom and tradition.

The deputy speaker said this in reaction to a statement by the state government which asked Ihedioha to apologise to the governor for the embarrassment and disgrace the latter he at the event.

"The deputy speaker and other Mbaise leaders believed that it was the governor who actually owes the Mbaise people an apology for disrupting the event after coming late in his characteristic manner and defiling the treasured cultural values and tradition of Iri Iji Mbaise," a statement by Chibuike Onyeukwu issued on behalf of the deputy speaker said.

Ihedioha said it was a blatant lie the claim by the state government that he did not welcome the governor to the event, noting that even though Okorocha had an ulterior motive for attending the festival only after spurning invitations in the past three years, he still gave him the courtesy of welcoming him as chief guest of honour.

The statement clarified: "It is on record (and for the avoidance of doubt, the tape of the event can be cross checked by members of the public) that the deputy speaker did not only welcome Okorocha to the event but also enjoined him to accept the kolanut offered to him as chief guest of honour.

"This was in spite of suspicion of an ulterior motive by the Mbaise people on the part of the governor who had found it convenient to ignore several invitations to attend 'Iri Iji' Mbaise in the past three years suddenly decided to attend this year's edition for obviously sinister political reasons. The Mbaise people and friends of the nation present at the event easily saw through this facade and pretence."

Ihedioha said the governor's recourse to attacking him simply confirms the fact that "the governor holds him (Ihedioha) in trepidation and is at a loss as to how to address his growing popularity and acceptance among the Imo people vis-a-vis his (Okorocha’s) fast declining rating among the people."

Article Credit: Thisdaylive

Updated 4 Years ago

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Tags:     President Goodluck Jonathan     Governor Rochas Okorocha     Professor Viola Onwuliri     Chief Emeka Ihedioha