From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo Wednesday met with the former governor of Imo State and senator representing Imo West Senatorial District, Rochas Okorocha, over the feud between him and Governor Hope Uzodinma, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Speaking to State House Correspondents at the end of the meeting, Okorocha declared that he wants an end to the feud because, he would not want an escalation of the conflict arising from the sealing of some of his property in Owerri, the State capital.
‘The whole thing to me sounds like a movie, a joke, a dream that does not reflect any practical reality, but I am a father, I’m a leader of that state and I am trying to make sure things don’t escalate beyond control.’ the senator said.
‘But for what has been done to me, I am human; I can bear it just for the purpose of peace to reign.”
The former governor of the state from 2011 and 2019 said he was waiting to understand why he was being attacked, pointing out that the earlier allegations against him had been changed.
‘I am still waiting to understand the reason why all the attack because before, the allegation was that the money used in the building was government money.
‘Now it has changed; it is no longer the issue of government money, but that it is built on the green verge and allocation where government house was supposed to be built. I am still waiting and only time will tell.
‘But let it be known that I was Rochas Okorocha before governor and I am still Rochas Okorocha after governor.
‘Government House never made me. I was who I was before becoming governor. Rather, I would say that becoming governor was a sacrifice on my own part.’
Okorocha stressed that his foundation attracted charitable organisations that invested in the state.
‘But talking about the properties in question, the schools, the East High College, Rochas Foundation College, the Royal Spring Palm Hotel and the university, these outfits are all charitable outfits for the Rochas Foundation.
‘And I brought them back home as a sign of investment to encourage investment in my own state, where I come from.
‘So, the allegation that it is built on the green verge or built where Government House was supposed to be built is neither here nor there. It is rather trying to make excuses to carry out an already planned attack.
On the possibility of the All Progressives Congress (APC), resolving the conflict since both he and Uzodinma belong to the same party, he replied ‘that’s what one would have naturally expected.’
He further said: ‘The question is what wrong has Rochas done? Have I done any wrong bringing APC to the South East?
‘And when I built APC none of these people was there. They were all in PDP.
‘Was it wrong that I encouraged my family to invest in their state, rather than investing abroad?
‘I asked nothing of the government. I simply wanted to live my free life. But it is for he that accuses to prove.
‘What preoccupies my mind is to make sure that we don’t create tension in the state because already this country has a lot of insecurity. And the police that ought to be busy doing something else should not be busy going to guide the sealing of a property with a white paper stronger than a court judgment.
‘Can a governor use a white paper to execute a judgment? Can you be a judge in your own case? These are the questions begging for an answer, and why the use of thugs to attack your immediate predecessor and a senator of the federal republic?
‘What are you trying to achieve? Now that you have arrested him, or forced him to the police station with thugs, what have you achieved? What is the case against him? Nothing.
‘That is why I described it as a very unusual situation. I think it is a script that is playing out and this script has been for too long.
‘When I won my election into the Senate, I was refused my certificate. Ugwumba Uche Nwosu won that election as governor of Imo State; they refused him.
‘Now I am in the senate and I’m being accused of many things, but no one has been able to establish any fact against me.
‘I have followed the due process of the law. I went to court; I got judgment, but the government does not want to obey the judgment. The same government went ahead and used white paper to seal the property.’
Talking about his senatorial mandate, Senator Okorocha said he was focused on delivering his mandate as a senator to his constituents, pointing out that what was important to him was the ability to represent his people well.
‘For the first time in the history of that senatorial zone, you could see what is called visible constituency projects which were not there before.
“I am one senator that doesn’t believe in training as a way of squandering funds; that’s what we use to have in that part of the world.
‘I am about issues, I brought the bill for free education; education is every child’s right and it must be made free especially for a growing nation like ours.
‘There is just no justifiable reason in this nation why every child must go to school and pay school fees; I don’t believe in it; education must be free and it must be made free.
‘I also said our traditional rulers must be given their roles in becoming the chief security officers of their communities rather than governors or local government chairmen.
‘Let the traditional rulers become chief security officers of their communities because every security challenge is local and it emanates from a community; it is arrested at the community level, it cannot escalate to the state level.
‘And I made a bill for national unity of this country, and my question is why should 50,000 criminals defeat 200 million people in Nigeria?
‘The reason is the 50,000 criminals are united and the 200 million Nigerians are not united, so those bills are what I sponsored.
‘It is not a question of bills, but how impactful are your bills in the lives of the people that you represent and the nation at large?’