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Ohakim reveals edge over Ararume, others ahead of Imo guber race in 2019
…Says on mission to correct Okorocha’s inhuman leadership, grow Imo economy
Immediate former governor of Imo State and chieftain of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Ikedi Ohakim, who governed Imo State between 2007 and 2011, has responded to barrage of comments credited to the current State governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha.
In an interview in Abuja, he said apart from being the man to beat in Imo guber election come 2019, he has edge over any other contestant as apart from coming to spend one term; he will be on a familiar terrain.
On whether his chances will be limited by Senator Ifeanyi Ararume who has declared interest to run for governorship, he said “No, it will not. It is true that we are from the same zone, but Senator Ararume has every right to contest the election”.
“I must also inform you that it is not only me and Senator Ararume that is contesting from the Okigwe zone, we are five persons at the moment and there are possibilities that the number might increase. Aside people from my zone, other candidates would come from other zones. However, my case is different because I have only a tenure to spend and power will move to other zones.
He said “It is even better for me to assume the position this period because I am the only one that will hit the ground running from day one. I have the records of buildings and assets that I handed over to him in 2011 that need to be recovered”.
On his chances of securing the 2019 guber ticket of the PDP, Ohakim averred that “My chances are very high. Being elected governor under the party is an edge for me.”
“I also command high respect and influence in the party. In addition to that, our people are wiser and better informed now that people that took over after me were insincere and propagandists. “The people are now aware that all the allegations against me were untrue and orchestrated to malign my personality and reputation. I am not one of those greedy politicians who are after political office to enrich themselves.
“You can’t link me to any property in Owerri apart from the three-bedroom bungalow allocated to me in 1992 as a commissioner. The house was bombed in 2014 by some reactionary forces, but God helped me to rebuild it few months after. I’m neither corrupt nor a thief. I also never embezzled any money as alleged by my successor.
“All the contracts I awarded in my period were reviewed several times by Okorocha and no fraud was found therein. Imo people had value for all the money we spent while in government.
Explaining more on the allegations of embezzlement and other impunity against the PDP at the national level, the former Imo State governor called on Nigerians to “Disregard those allegations,” saying “They are all political strategies being employed by APC to turn Nigerians against the party. But unfortunately for them, Nigerians know the truth and have regretted their decision in 2015 and are ready to make amends. There is no doubt that PDP did a lot for this country in its 16 years in power. The party has penetrated the heart of every Nigerian”.
Ohakim was however silent on the latest plan of Governor Okorocha to build new houses for former states governors including himself.
Governor Okorocha had noted through his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, that it is wrong for people to conclude that the former governors left office as very rich people, arguing that “none of the former governors should be adjudged rich by any standard”.