The senator representing Imo West constituency, Rochas Okorocha, has faulted the leadership of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) for the lingering internal crisis rocking the party and doubted the possibility of the party retaining power in 2023 if the crisis is not put in check.
Speaking against the backdrop of the lingering discord between the party’s national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, and the Governor of Edo, Godwin Obaseki, on Saturday in Kano, Mr Okorocha said a party full of internal crises does not deserve to be called a political party in real sense.
“This idea of crisis and idea of commotions shows that the said party does not have a common ideology. If the ideology is one and you believe in one thing, there should not be reason for disagreement at that level. You might have a minor disagreement, but when it comes to the issue of do-or-die, it is no longer a political party.
“What has been our challenge in Nigeria is that we don’t really have a common vision and common ideology for our political parties. So, it is just what we call ‘agidi’ and ‘goro’ combination. People come from all different beliefs, meet up in one place and form a political party.
“So, until we have such a political party that is more like a family in their belief, then we are still growing our democracy. Talking about what is happening in Edo State, it is unfortunate but a true political party cannot work against itself. So, I want to advise that they reconcile and relax their differences. The truth is that a party that is divided among itself can never stand,” he said.
Earlier this year, Mr Okorocha was suspended by the APC for allegedly engaging in anti-party activities. As an outgoing APC governor in Imo, he supported the candidate of another party to succeed him. Both his favourite candidate and that of the APC eventually lost the election to the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Emeka Ihedioha.
Mr Okorocha, however, won his senatorial election on the APC platform.
Since his election, the lawmaker has been making more headlines for his controversial comments.
He recently called for the reduction in the number of lawmakers across states to save cost for running the country.
Expressing his disappointment with his party, the two-term governor of Imo State said APC has deviated from it objectives. He said the party was hurriedly put together to topple the allegedly underperforming ruling PDP from power in 2015, leveraging on the influence of President Buhari in the North to emerge victorious.
He added that the leverage used in 2015 may not work for the party in 2023 as President Buhari will be leaving office by then which will put the party’s leadership quality and character to a more serious test.
“Right now, I think we should continue with the same pace that we started within 2015 election but that doesn’t seem to be the case. President Muhammadu Buhari gave character to APC. He brought his integrity to bear on the party. He made the party what it is in the northern part of the country and the masses of the North who saw him as a true leader, and we all rode on that to achieve that victory, but after the credibility of Buhari into this party, there seem to be no alternative in the same manner that will drive this party to 2023 victory.
“This is why I expressed my concern that if we are not very careful, APC might go with Buhari in 2023, and that will be a very unfortunate situation for the founding fathers of APC. The party needs to show purposeful leadership, show character,” Mr Okorocha said.
Okorocha on border closure
Also speaking on the closure of Nigeria’s borders, Mr Okorocha said he is not sure if “we are achieving results on the intention for border closure because we have more than 3000 entry points in this country. If we close the border, what have we done with some other bushes that surround Cotonou, Cameroon and other places.”
He suggested the country starts looking inward on how to solve the problem of importing these goods by “creating that kind of atmosphere, people will now begin to understand why we should be self-reliant and ensure food security.”
“Any time you see us eat a bag of rice produced in China, it simply means that you have created jobs for people in China while we are here as a consuming nation. So, whether we want to face this now or later, we must pay this price, either by this generation or the generation to come.”
He added that, “to say so means that there is nothing wrong to encourage local production. What I consider very afraid of is that if you travel from Sokoto to Kano, Lagos, Owerri, Ogun and Ondo and see any smoke coming out from the roof, that smoke is not a smoke for production, it is a smoke for consumption.
“It is either the smoke for pepper soup or smoke for fried fish or smoke for Jollof rice. This nation for too long has been a consuming nation and not a productive nation. This also has made our own problems more worrisome because we are not economically independent. We depend on other countries for virtually everything that we eat and use; and that is not good for our youths and the generation yet unborn.
“So, (rather than) border closure, a creation of awareness for us to begin to consume what we produce. So, we should take a more practical approach in ensuring that we encourage the youths and the people to look inwards and produce those things that we import,” he said.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...