Former Imo state governor Senator Rochas Okorocha has said that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) could “disappear” with the exit of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.
Concise News reports that the second four-year tenure of President Buhari, who returned to power in 2015 after serving as Nigeria’s military Head of State from 1983 to 1985, ends in 2023.
And speaking against the backdrop of the perceived injustice in the party at the national level, “worried” Okorocha fears the APC could cease to exist after the tenure of Buhari.
Speaking to newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday, Okorocha, now the senator representing Imo West, said there was need for a change in the party’s leadership to prevent the party from collapsing
According to him, Buhari’s reputation appears to be the binding factor of APC.
“For the moment, Buhari seems to be the strongest pillar upon which this party is built,” he said.
“If nothing is done to correct the injustices in our party at the national level, then, I fear that this party may disappear with Buhari’s exit.
“Our party is already busy thinking about presidency in 2023 and not supporting the issue of governance which is what we have right now.
“The score of our party or its assessment depends on what we have done with governance and what we have done with politics.
“These are some of the problems we have and thinking that being APC is a platform to catch political power.
“People have begun to zone where the president will come from and where he will not come from, leaving the issue of governance; so, these have been some of the challenges we have as a party but I hope they will be addressed.
“But that cannot be complete unless we do some surgical movement in the leadership of the party.”
Okorocha’s face-off with APC leadership
The National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC had, in March 2019, suspended Okorocha – the then governor of Imo state – and his Ogun state equivalent at the time, Ibikunle Amosun.
The party’s NWC also recommended to the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) their expulsion from the APC over alleged anti-party activities in the build-up to the 2019 general election.
Both men had sworn to support their favoured candidates in other parties but at the same time backed President Buhari’s re-election bid.
Okorocha backed his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, candidate of Action Alliance (AA); while Amosun supported a member of the House of Representatives Adekunle Akinlade, candidate of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM).
The two aforementioned candidates of the former governors eventually lost to Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Dapo Abiodun of the APC respectively.
Okorocha reacts to suspension, fingers Oshiomhole
The former Imo governor had, in March, said that the National Chairman of Nigeria’s ruling party, Adams Oshiomhole, was plotting to destroy the party.
The governor made this accusation on the back of his suspension by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC.
He said in a statement that all states governed by the ruling party in the southeast were embroiled in crises due to the “fraudulent manner” Oshiomhole conducted the party’s primaries.
“He is playing the politics of 2023 in 2019 and in playing it he has thrown caution to the wind. In all the south-east states, there are crises and all arising from the fraudulent manner he conducted the primaries,” the statement read.
“In 2015, Governor Okorocha had joined the merger that gave birth to APC at the risk of his second tenure and was called all sorts of unprintable names.
“Yet, he won the governorship election, delivered 24 out of the 27 members of the House of Assembly for APC, two House of Representatives members and one Senator.
“In 2019, Oshiomhole felt that such a man should be treated with disdain. He handed over the governorship ticket of the Party to Hope Uzodinma who has never resigned his membership of the PDP on the floor of the Senate like others did and giving all kinds of flimsy excuses.
“And if Oshiomhole had meant well for APC and Imo people in particular, would he have given the ticket of the Party to a man facing five corruption charges and having travel ban slammed on him, to be the party’s Candidate?”