Former Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, has hinted that he may be contesting for the country’s president by 2023.
Okorocha, who addressed selected journalists in Abuja, ahead of his 58 birthday celebration explained that his ambition to become the president of Nigeria was borne out of the desire to render selfless service to the nation.
He said, “Having contested in 2003, 2007, 2015, and you are asking me at this time if I will contest? That’s quite interesting. My contest for presidency is not just because I want to be president. if am going to be the president for failure or be a president that will not succeed, I don’t want to be a president. But if my presidency will unite this country, then I want to be a president.
“If my presidency will address the issue of poverty and insecurity, then I want to be president. If my presidency will address the economy of this nation that we will begin to talk like other developed nation, then I want for be a president. And if my presidency will guarantee education for the poorest of the poor, then I want to be a president. Other than these, hold your president and presidency, I am fine.”
According to him, “I really don’t understand whether people run for president of the federal republic of Nigeria because of where they come from or because of what they can do for the nations – I think these are two different things.
“Sometimes, it looks like when we talk about the presidency it looks like the only qualification you have is where you come from or the religion that you belong and not what you can give to the people, this is where I defer.
“If I am running for president, I am running for the president because of what I do for the people and not necessarily where I come from and this is the mistake we have made in this country in choosing leadership at every levels. These sentiments have all been there.
The former governor of Imo State, who also broke his silence on the current state of the All Progressive Congress (APC), noted that respect for President Muhamadu Buhari is all that is keeping the party alive.
Okorocha added that the party died the day the leadership abandoned the progressive and democratic ideals on which it was founded.
According to Okorocha, who is also the Senator representing Imo West Senatorial District, apart from President Buhari, the other leaders of the political blocks that merged to form the party in 2015, were practically schemed out by forces that joined the party.
He stated emphatically that “there is no more APC.”
In his words, “just permit me to give you the inside of APC, this word APC was formed by four major political parties that had governors, one was the CPC led by President Muhamamadu Buhari, ACN led by Ahmed Tinubu, ANPP led by Ogbonnaya Onu brought their structure, APGA led by me brought in our structure, every other person fell into this structure. The PDP group came in and joined us. I gave the name APC, I designed that logo and that was the beginning of the party and we had understanding.
“That is the party you call APC and unless we go back to where it all started, APC can never see the light of the day and that was how we started and that was what brought President Muhamamadu Buhari to office.
“You cannot rule out the role of these four key people, then CPC has only one governor in Nasarawa, APGA had only one governor, ACN came with the chunk of the governors and ANPP had a few. And we shared the first positions equally among these four parties. Now the founding fathers of the part are relegated to the backgrounds and people are coming with different interests making us play the same kind of politics that PDP played”.
He continued that, “there is no more APC, what we have is the respect for President Mohammed Buhari, that is what is keeping us together. What we have is our respect for the person of President Mohammadu Buhari and we still believe that something can be done.
“That trust and respect is what we still call APC, outside that, respect for President Mohammadu and the trust and belief that he could wake up one day and correct all these injustice and make it fine. That’s the only thing that is keeping the APC, if not that, I don’t think there is anything like APC because people are beginning to get fed up. Again, PDP is not even better, the party has its own challenges.
“In 2023, I think people are going to vote according to their conscience. People are beginning to realize that political platform is not the best to give you what you need. People are beginning to be more politically aware that individuals are more important than the name political party.”
On the outcome of the Edo State governorship election, Okorocha described APC’s loss as masses’ revolution against injustice.
He said, “If the report I am getting from Edo is not quite interesting when injustice comes into a matter, the centre can no longer hold and that is the problems of the party. I forewarned about what is happening today in our party and if the result in Edo comes out and PDP wins, it means we don’t have APC in the south-south, that is a bad sign.
“In the Southeast, literally we can say we don’t have APC, we just managed through the Ben Johnson way to get one state and that does not make our image good.
“The same party under the leadership of President, a man we considered a clean man, an honest man, a patriotic man and these are happening, that means it is unfortunate.
“The truth is, what I have been talking about has come to play. If PDP wins in Edo, I will not congratulate the PDP, I will congratulate the Edo people. I congratulate them for standing up against injustice, because the people that voted for Obaseki are not only PDP, even people in the APC voted for him. They want to stand up for injustice, Edo people are not docile, they know what they want and how they want it.”