The Chief of Staff to the governor of Imo State, Uche Nwosu, in this interview with CHIDIEBUBE OKEOMA, speaks on the controversies surrounding the APC congresses in the state and the 2019 general elections
Are you under any pressure to drop your governorship ambition because of the power play which characterised the All Progressives Congress’ congresses?
I am not under any kind of pressure to drop my governorship ambition. My aspiration is divine and God has approved that I will be the next governor of Imo State in 2019. The persons who gathered together under the auspices of Imo APC allied force are a group of people that we have been defeating since 2011. We will defeat them again in 2019. Their action only makes me become stronger and ready for the battle ahead. Their action has made me more determined, psychologically and otherwise to get sworn in as the next governor of Imo State. For me, there is no viable opposition against my ambition. It is about transferring power to the younger generation. What they are telling me, by their emergency alliance, is that my governorship ambition has been signed, sealed and delivered to me. Nothing good comes easy. In politics, you don’t just get the power, you battle for it. Ifeanyi Araraume, Benjamin Uwajumogu, Jude Ejiogu, Osita Izunaso and Eze Madumere are fighting us as part of the political game which will come to an end when I, Uche Nwosu, am sworn in as the next governor of Imo State in 2019.
There are speculations that the cracks in the Imo APC will force the governor, you and your supporters to leave the party. Is it true?
There is nothing like that. Speculations are part of the game. The group of people fighting my governorship ambition will soon leave the APC, quote me. The truth is that you can’t talk about APC in Imo State and the entire South-East zone without talking about Governor Rochas Okorocha, who is the face of the APC in the South-East. The group of people making the empty noise today, mocked the governor in 2015 when he embraced the formation of the APC and threw his weight behind Muhammadu Buhari to become president. Many people, including Araraume, nicknamed the governor OkoroHausa in the Government House and went about the state lying that the governor was working towards Islamising Imo State by supporting the APC presidential candidate, a Fulani who is also a Muslim. Okorocha can’t go to another party, rather, those fighting us should go to another party or humble themselves if they want to remain in the party. Okorocha is one of the founding fathers of the APC in Nigeria. The party belongs to all of us because we are members of the party. We are ready for the battle ahead.
There are also speculations that the allied force asked the governor to drop you as his preferred successor if there must be harmony in the party. What is your reaction to this?
The allied force members should drop their governorship ambitions. They do not enjoy grass-roots support. It is about saying that you want be the next governor of Imo State. The key issue is, what do you have to offer our people? If my ambition to become the next governor is giving them a headache, they will have more headaches. My governorship ambition was ordained by God and there is nothing anybody can do about it because you can’t stop what God has approved. It is God that makes a king. Fighting my ambition is like fighting God and fire. Even the governor knows that the hand of God is in my governorship project.
What is your take on the claims that the governor is being humiliated in the APC because of his open endorsement of your governorship aspiration?
It is not true. The governor’s only crime in the APC is that he opposed the tenure elongation for the National Working Committee of the party. There are just two persons fighting the governor — the National Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, and the National Organising Secretary, Osita Izunaso. It is not because of me or my governorship ambition but because the governor spoke in favour of the APC constitution and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. There is no tenure elongation in the constitution of the APC. The governor saw the future ahead and prevented the party from unnecessary legal battles and political accident after the candidates of the party would have emerged. For some members of the national working committee, who want to remain in power, the governor’s position was a bad omen for them. That is how and from where the conspiracy started. Okorocha, from the outset, did not have any issue with the national chairman. The cold war started after his position on tenure elongation. Izunaso should be grateful to Rochas Okorocha for making him the national organising secretary of the APC. We came from a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance to form the APC and we were asked to produce the national organising secretary of the party and that was how the governor nominated Izunaso who is today fighting him.
Are you not threatened by the kind of political gladiators who are opposing your governorship ambition?
Why should I be threatened? In 2011 and 2015, these people were not with us and the governor won convincingly. In every 12, there must be a Judas. We are not worried by the persons who think they have betrayed the governor by joining the opposition. In 2011, Senator Arthor Nzeribe, Ifeanyi Araraume, Ikedi Ohakim, Achike Udenwa, Kema Chikwe, Hope Uzodimma, Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu and all of them were not with us but the governor defeated a sitting governor. In 2015, again, we had a sitting president, who was the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, Ikedi Ohakim, and Emeka Ihedioha, who was riding three superbikes, yet the governor was not intimidated and he won again. In Okorocha’s camp, not even the smallest person sees any of these people as a problem. We will win again.
Will you drop your governorship ambition if the governor directs you to do so?
Yes, I will because he is my leader. But I know the governor will not do that. My governorship project is a divine project. The man Rochas Okorocha is a man who believes in the efficacy of prayers. For the governor to have openly endorsed my candidature, it means that he has consulted his God very well. The issue of Okorocha asking me not to run for governor will not arise because that means he will go back to reverse what the people have done. Okorocha believes in God and the people. He will not direct me to drop the project because he knows that it is the best for the state. The governor knows that I will make a good governor. He will not reverse himself because he is a man of honour and integrity.