Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Tinubu,Rochas Okorocha Take On Each Other Over Buhari's Second Term Ambition

Chairman of APC governors’ forum and Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha, has said the statement credited to the national leader of the All Progressives Congress, (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, over the endorsement of President Muhammadu Buhari for the 2019 election by the governors came to him as surprise.

Okorocha who stated this while fielding questions from journalists after he was conferred with a doctorate degree from Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, at the weekend said nothing will change the endorsement of the president by the governors for the election.

Tinubu had in Akure during a private visit to the leader of the Pan Yoruba Socio- Political Group, Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, ruled out automatic ticket for President Buhari in the 2019 presidential election.

Tinubu said “no governor can appropriate the power of endorsement to themselves, adding that an individual opinions ‘does not matter at this stage”.

But Okorocha who noted that he endorsed the president on behalf of the governors said since he endorsed Buhari, none of the governors has said something contrary.

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 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. What I mentioned was for the governors and secondly what I said is support. The word I used is ‘support’; 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.

“If you recall, I said if not for Buhari I would have run for presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. But I found in him a man credible and he still has four years term to do. I will allow him to complete and I will go back to my political trenches because I will still run for presidency anyhow.

“I consider myself young enough to wait till 2023 and I don’t hide my stand on any issue. But for now, my support goes to President Muhammadu Buhari”.

Speaking on the defection of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar from APC, Okorocha said, “I have taken 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.

“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 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 couple with the fact that APC governors are performing, we are sure we will deliver 2019”.

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