Former Governor of Imo State, Chief Achike Udenwa has called on the state governor-elect, Emeka Ihedioha to ensure he probes Governor Rochas Okorocha when he assumes office on May 29. In this interview with WILLY EYA, he said such a probe is imperative because the mood of the people in the state supports such a move.
What is your reaction to the outcome of this year’s general elections?
My impression is that the election did not meet the expectations of Nigerians. You can see that we have not yet got it right. There was a lot of thuggery, vote-buying and manipulations. We are still where we were before. That is what we can deduce from this election and my party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the presidential election was short-changed. We are not happy with the election.
Do you support Atiku’s going to court to challenge the victory of Buhari?
I support his going to court. Everybody knows that Atiku was rigged out. Everybody knows that things did not go down in that election. If he was defeated, we would have taken it in good faith. You could see that the votes did not count. If you see the voting pattern and the results that were shown, you could see that all the places that Atiku was very popular, the votes were suppressed. You could see the number of votes that were cast in those places while in other places, you saw the millions that were dished out for the APC. Ask yourself, were those real actual votes? Let us see what happens in the court. Let us see whether the judiciary is still capable of delivering justice.
As a former governor in Imo State, how did the emergence of Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP come to you?
In this election, that is the only cheering thing to us, the people of Imo State. I told you in the past what was happening in Imo and the people of the state rose against it despite all the manipulations and harassments. The people rose up and said no. I am so happy about it.
His main rival, Uche Nwosu has gone to court on the grounds that Ihedioha did not win 2/3 of the state; do you think the election would not be upturned?
Let him go to court; the court will decide.
What agenda will you set for Ihedioha in the next four years that he will be in charge of Imo State?
The people of Imo have been dehumanised over the past eight years. There has been a lot of maladministration and destruction of the system. Everybody in Nigeria knows what has been happening in Imo in the last eight years. A lot needs to be done by the governor-elect. He needs to rebuild all the structures he has destroyed -the judiciary, the legislature, the civil Service and virtually every structure of governance in the state. Ihedioha needs to reconstruct all these. He has to start from the beginning. There is a lot of work for him and he does not have time again.
What is wrong with the electorate in Imo; they have been finding it difficult to get it right. This is because not long after Ikedi Ohakim emerged, the people of Imo were praying for the end of his tenure; the same scenario is playing out now in the case of Rochas Okorocha whose election in Imo was received with a lot of funfair. Is it more of the problem of the electorate than that of the candidates?
To be honest with you, if you remember how Ohakim came into power when I was leaving, he was not actually the people’s choice. He was a child of circumstances at the time. There were other considerations before Ohakim came in. It was a question of let us try him and see what he can do and he failed completely. He was very arrogant and did not even understand what the people needed. That is why he has been contesting and failing. He cannot make it even if he contests for 10 times. And in the case of Rochas, he came as a redeemer because of the poor performance of Ohakim. People thought the redeemer had come. He was very deceitful and promised them everything. He promised them good governance, welfare, free education and so on only for people to now find out he was fake. That is why everybody is happy that they did not vote for Uche Nwosu who he wanted to foist on the people of Imo. He wanted a third tenure through Uche Nwosu, his son in-law and the people said no. We are yet to know what will happen.
Will you support that Ihedioha probes Okorocha when he is sworn in?
It is left for Ihedioha but the popular opinion is that Okorocha should be probed. Why not? He did so much. The assets he has acquired is too much. If there is a doubt about that, let there be a probe and let the public know all those assets and how he acquired them. There is no harm in being probed. After all, Ohakim probed me. It’s not new.
What lessons should other leaders learn from Okorocha’s stewardship in Imo State?
When you are given opportunity by the people, never you abuse that opportunity. Once you abuse that opportunity, the same people will bring you down and strip you naked. That is exactly what has happened to Okorocha. Any time you have that opportunity to work for the people, you do not take them for granted. Okorocha took the people for granted and he thought he was smarter than the people. If Okorocha had left at the end of his first tenure, people would have thought he is an angel but his second tenure offered everybody opportunity to see more of him.
We have been able to see his governance and what sort of governor he is. Anybody who is coming out to serve the public must be very careful. Serve them well and you will reap it in future and people will talk well about you. People will see you as their leader. How can you after becoming the governor of your state, you leave in shame and nobody wants to associate with you. You become stigmatised and you become persona non grata in your own state. It is a big lesson. If they have elected you to serve them, serve them very well. It is not all about acquiring wealth and all that because at the end of the day, it will amount to nothing. Today, Okorocha’s name is synonymous with disgrace.
With the way the South East voted in the last election, will the South East expect anything from President Buhari? Some are already clamouring for the Senate presidency?
People expecting that are living in a fool’s paradise. I do not expect anything from him. Don’t ever expect anything good from him. The South East has to suffer for another four years.
What about the Igbo presidency Project?
Would you ever think that a person like President Buhari will handover to an Igbo man. If you do not believe it, I do not know why anybody should believe that. He will never handover to an Igbo man. Those who are following him are doing that for their selfish interest.
Before now, the impression is that the Igbo could not speak with one voice but since 2015, they all identified with former President Jonathan and the narrative changed to Igbo put their eggs in one basket. In 2019, Ndigbo showed that they have become a powerful political bloc. What is your reaction to the development?
When you push a man to the wall, what do you expect? Ndigbo have been pushed to the wall. They had no option and they knew nothing good could come from Buhari. No programme of the present government has favoured them. What is happening now is just like what happened during the civil war; they came together to fight.