The Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primaries election committe in Imo State, Ahmed Gulak, alleged yesterday that Governor Rochas Okorocha offered him a $2million bribe for the purpose of returning Uche Nwosu, son in law to the governor, as winner of the primaries.
Gulak, a former political adviser to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, said in Abuja that he turned down the offer.
The party has since forwarded the name of Senator Hope Uzodinma as its governorship candidate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC),leaving Nwosu fuming with anger yesterday.
Nwosu wondered why APC national chair, Adams Oshiomhole, frustrated his governorship ambition after making his own son a member of the Edo State House of Assembly.
Okorocha, meanwhile, fired back at Gulak yesterday on the bribe allegation, dismissing it as an afterthought, while Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State, whom Oshiomhole accused of running the APC in his state as an emperor, said yesterday that the APC chair “lacks respect for truth and decency.”
Gulak who had alleged that he was kidnapped on his arrival for the primary in Imo State also claimed that officials of the state government offered to convey him and his team to Owerri from Abuja in a private jet, an offer he claimed to have rejected because he did not want to be compromised.
He told reporters in Abuja that Okorocha’s plan was to turn the state into a family estate with his son in law as governor, his (Okorocha’s) son as deputy governor, his wife as a member of the House of Representatives and himself as a senator without considering the fact that it is the people of the state that will be the ultimate decider.
According to him, “The NWC approved our appointment, myself as the chairman and returning officer and six other members including the secretary making us seven as enshrined in the guideline. We went to Imo against all odds. We stood our ground, elections held, results collated and the winner announced.
“After the collation, I and few others escaped because the governor himself came to arrest everybody in the hotel. But before he arrived, about four of us escaped and he arrested other members including the secretary.
“He took them to Government House and they read a prepared speech declaring his son in-law the winner of that exercise. But I had already left Owerri for Abuja where I submitted my result.
“As I speak today, there is no single petition against our report and against the result.
“Let us not forget that Rochas’ in-law was not the only aspirant. Hope Uzodinma was not the only aspirant.
“There were other seven aspirants including the Deputy Governor. From the nine of them, there is no single petition against the conduct of the election.
“If there were grievances against the conduct of that election, the party has an appeal panel where petitions ought to have been lodged. The Appeal Panel will then recommend whether or not a fresh primary will be conducted. That did not happen.
“As we speak, in accordance with the constitution and the guidelines, the result submitted by my committee, signed by me, is the authentic unchallenged report and the NWC had no option but to uphold that report.
“I feel vindicated, the members of my committee feel vindicated.
“The issue of Governor Rochas going round blackmailing the party, threatening the party, is not the best for a governor.
“He is supposed to be a statesman. This is his party.
“I understand very well that he is the senatorial candidate of his party in Orlu, so he should not weaken the party from within. He should call everybody; all hands must be on the deck to ensure that the party retains the state.”
Gulak said that although there is nothing wrong in the governor wanting his son in-law to be governor, his lack of consultation with critical stakeholders in the state and his attempt to transform the state into a family dynasty, is an insult on the people.
He said: “I know that whoever Governor Rochas wants to push forward, decency demands that he should do so in consultation with the stakeholders of that state. Even if he wants to put his son in-law, his daughter or his wife, he ought to have consulted the stakeholders.
“No one man can do this game of politics. Everybody must be carried along. But I feel he did not consult the stakeholders before pushing his son in-law as the person to succeed him.
“Naturally, people will revolt and if he had his way and imposed his son in-law on the party, what of the general election, can he impose him?
“At the end of the day, the people of Imo State will decide who they will vote as governor and don’t forget it is not a one party system. I know that if you impose your son in-law as successor don’t forget that it is the Imo people who will decide who the governor will be.
“I have it on good authority that immediately they learnt that the NWC had upheld the result of the Imo primaries, the other candidates subsumed their ambition in the interest of Imo state to support Hope Uzodinma.
“As party men, we should all be happy about that too. That is politics without selfishness.
“Rochas has spent eight years as governor of Imo state, and you want your son in-law to succeed you, you want to come to the senate as a senator, you want your wife to be a House of Reps member, you want your younger brother to be running mate, you want your son in-law to be governor.
“That in itself is indecent, it is immoral and the people of Imo state may not take it likely.
“They are not slaves; you cannot enslave them by making it a personal family dynasty. This is a well-educated state, well enlightened state where we have professors in almost every family.
“We have businessmen, industrialists. These people have a stake in Imo state. So I know they will not lie low when Rochas begin to enslave them.
“He has gone on air every day to abuse and malign me and I have decided to keep calm because it is an internal family matter. Abusing me every day on television and in newspapers will not help him. He should go and work for the victory of his party and leave me alone.”
Speaking in his experience in Imo, he said “even before I went to Imo State, I was offered a private jet to take me there by the Government House and their proxies, but I refused because I didn’t want to be compromised.
“I refused the private jet and even the tempting offer made to me, very tempting. We are talking about two million dollars here, which I refused and tried to persuade them that I was going to do what was needful: free and fair primaries and that every stakeholder must be involved.
“Immediately we landed at the airport; that was where the problem started. They wanted to kidnap every member and only God knows where they wanted to take us to.
“I pity the Imo people, but they have to take their destiny in their own hands and elect who they feel will represent them better. I am not from Imo State, but I am a Nigerian. There is equality and there is equity. Some of our governors take state resources as their personal resources and we know that power is transient; after four or eight years. I am happy that the party has vindicated me and I know it is the best decision for the people of Imo State.”
Gulak has no character, says Okorocha
Contacted for reaction to the Gulak allegations, Okorocha speaking through his Chief Press Secretary Sam Onwuemedo, said it was all an afterthought.
He branded Gulak a man without character, saying the same man had earlier claimed he absconded from Imo State for fear of being kidnapped.
He said: “Gulak is a corrupt politician who does not have character. At first his claim was that he ran away to escape being kidnapped and it took him more than four weeks to remember that the governor gave him prepared result sheets to sign and $2million bribe. It is simply laughable”.
Nwosu: Oshiomhole frustrating my ambition yet he made son lawmaker in Edo
Okorocha’s son in law, Uche Nwosu, was also angry with Oshiomhole, saying the APC chair was frustrating his governorship aspiration yet he made his own son a member of the Edo State House of Assembly.
Nwosu alleged that Oshiomhole was opposed to his governorship bid because his father-in-law picked the senatorial ticket of Imo west.
He said: “We are disappointed over Oshiomhole’s action. His statements and antics did not give hope to young people who hitherto had always looked up to him.
“He is saying that Okorocha’s senatorial ambition scuttled my governorship bid. After all Oshiomhole’s son is a member of the Edo State House of Assembly, who he nominated and he is the chairman of the party.
“He is a man that is supposed to speak rightly and not deceive the people on air. I saw him on television when he was talking from both sides of his mouth. It is a pity that APC could have such a man as its national chairman.”
Nwosu insisted that he remains the authentic candidate of the party, saying his candidacy cannot be truncated by the national chairman or any other person.
“My mandate is still intact, I still remain the candidate of the APC, I am very much shocked with the national chairman who is speaking from the both sides of his mouth as a man of that age I thought he would have been upright,” he said.
“I am shocked that a man who has attained that age and who we should look up to as our role model has become somebody who many of us can no longer see as a role model again. I am shocked at the attitude of the national chairman which does not give hope to young people that mostly look up to him for years.
“I will not leave APC; I still remain the authentic candidate of that party. I still have a valid court order restraining the party from submitting any other name and also restraining INEC from accepting any other name other than my name and the matter is in court.
“So if they go anywhere and get another court order without knowing that there is a subsisting court order, then that must have been done in error.
“So the fact remains that I am the candidate of APC, it is just for a while and I will take up my mandate, I don’t have in mind to leave the mandate I already have for another party. My candidacy is secured and cannot be truncated by the national chairman or any other person.”
Oshiomhole and his collaborators will fail in Ogun, Amosun charges back
Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State also reacted angrily yesterday to the Friday comments by Oshiomhole in which he said the governor was running the affairs of APC in his state as an emperor.
Amosun, in a statement by Information Commissioner Adedayo Adeneye, said Oshiomhole “lacks respect for truth and decency.”
The governor alleged plot to hand the state over to what he called a gang of rapacious expansionists in the Southwest.
He said the plot would fail.
Adeneye, in the statement, restated “the contention of the APC leadership in Ogun State that the only gubernatorial primary held in the State was that of October 02, 2018 which produced Adekunle Akinlade as winner.”
He added: “the emergence of Akinlade was initially through a consensus arrangement as allowed by the party constitution but was nevertheless subjected to a primary election when some gubernatorial aspirants disagreed with the outcome of the consensus arrangement.
“This is, however, without prejudice to the sanctity of the consensus arrangement which Adams Oshiomhole hypocritically tries to demonise.
“Nigerians will recall that Oshiomhole himself was elected National Chairman of the APC by consensus arrangement which witnessed all other contestants to the office being prevailed upon to step down for him (Oshiomhole).
“The ground on which Oshiomhole disputes the gubernatorial primary in Ogun State is that the result was not announced by the State Electoral Committee from Abuja, therefore the governor resorted to self-help.
“We wonder why Oshiomhole accepted the result of the primary election in Lagos State whose result was also not announced by the State Electoral Panel. Why will the same scenario be acceptable in Lagos State but regarded as self-help in Ogun State?
“We wish to call the attention of Nigerians to another evil being perpetrated by Oshiomhole in Ogun State.
“As at today November 3, which is 24 hours after the deadline for submission of names of candidates for the House of Assembly, Oshiomhole has not given INEC Party Candidate Form (CF001) to any of the 26 candidates who won the primaries for the ticket to contest for the Ogun State House of Assembly.
“The primary was conducted on October 7 by the State Electoral Committee headed by Col. Ali Ciroma. This is despite the fact that the State Chairman of the party had kept vigil at the national secretariat of the APC in the last two weeks to collect the forms.
“If Oshiomhole is denying the outcome of the gubernatorial primaries because the State Electoral Committee shied away from announcing the result, what is the reason for denying all the 26 candidates for the House of Assembly freely elected by members of the APC in Ogun State?
“We want Nigerians to note the duplicity and meddlesomeness of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and his gang in the affairs of the APC in Ogun State.
“It is also important to note that Oshiomhole unilaterally replaced four of the nine winners of the primary election into the House of Representatives.
“This includes Mikhail Kazzim, a serving member of the House who won the primaries by defeating Olumide, the son of Chief Olusegun Osoba, with 28,802 votes to Osoba’s 4,209. Oshiomhole removed Kazzim who won the primaries and replaced him with the man he had serially defeated, not only in the last primary election but also in the general election of 2015.
“In yet another instance in Ado Odo – Ota Federal Constituency, Oshiomhole substituted the winner of the primary for the House of Representatives, Rotimi Rahmon with the name of Jimoh Ojugbele, who did not even contest to go back to the House of Representatives but contested the primary for the Senate and was defeated.
“In his conduct, Oshiomhole is opening a new chapter in the history of elections in Nigeria- a situation where a gang of desperate politicians will sit somewhere in another state and write the result of an election that never took place; what our people creatively refer to as “Offshore Rigging”!.
“This is what Oshiomhole and his gang are trying to foist on Ogun State. Lawyers say “you cannot build something on nothing”. Oshiomhole and his gang are trying to build a storey building of fraud on nothing.”
The governor also dismissed the claims of Oshiomhole that he withdrew the security of the State Electoral Committee, saying Indabawa, Chairman of the panel and a retired Commissioner of Police came into Ogun State with a full complement of police team which he claimed was provided for him by a Deputy Inspector General of Police.
He added: “How could Amosun have withdrawn policemen he did not assign or over whom he had no control?
“All of these have clearly shown that the motive of Oshiomhole is not the rule of law which he proclaims on the roof top. It is rather, an evil plan with some collaborators, desperate to hijack the government of Ogun State and add it to the harem of states under their rapacious gang of exploiters.
“As we have stated before, this evil design will not succeed in Ogun State. Our people are too educated, exposed and sophisticated to come under such odious arrangement. On a general note, Oshiomhole, who became the APC Chairman barely three months ago, is already threatening to write the epitaph of the party in his 100 days of ignominy.
Governor Amosun concludes the statement with an advice for Oshiomhole: “To Oshiomhole and his motley crew of co-travellers in ignominy, be assured that the music has just begun and we hope that you will enjoy the macabre dance to the music of justice.”
“By the Grace of God and the support of the good people of Ogun State, Adekunle Abdulkadir Akinlade will be sworn in as the new governor of Ogun State on May 29, 2019.”
KINDLY DROP A COMMENT BELOW