- Insists Ihedioha never won
By Lawrence Olaoye
National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has said that President Muhammadu Buhari was excited that his party has finally found a foothold in the South-East following the Supreme Court’s victory of Sen. Hope Uzodinma, its candidate at the 2019 governorship election in Imo state.
The APC boss also insisted that the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP)’s candidate, Emeka Ihedioha, who was removed by Supreme Court verdict never won the governorship election because he failed to win the required 2/3 of the 27 local government in the state.
Briefing newsmen yesterday after formally presenting Uzodinma to the President at the State House, Oshiomhole said Uzodinma’s eventual emergence as the state governor was in tandem with Buhari’s vision of uniting the country.
Oshiomhole said “The governor of Imo, Senator Hope Uzodinma is not a stranger to the president, he has been part of the APC family, he has played very decisive roles when it mattered in the affairs of the party. Upon his victory which was delayed courtesy of INEC and finally retrieved by Supreme Court.
So the purpose of today’s meeting is just to introduce him as the new executive governor of Imo state. And of course President Buhari is very excited that we have established our foothold in the heart of the south east. And it coincides with the president’s vision of uniting the country. Now we can truly say that we not only control the center, we have governors in each of the six geo-political zones and I believe that is good for our party and for the government.”
Contesting Ihedioha’s declaration as the winner of the Imo guber election, the APC boss said “Now, is there any of us in this room that at a time Emeka Iheidioha was declared, even the returning officer could not show that he scored the constitutional requirement of at least one quarter of the total vote cast in at least 2/3 of a local government. On that criteria alone there is no question in the eyes of the law, Emeka iheidioha ought not to have been declared because he had those numbers only in nine local government areas and of course you know you have about 27 local government areas, 2/3is 15.”
Responding to question on what Imolites should expect from his administration, Uzodinma said “I understand very clearly the challenges in Imo State. Even before now, only few days ago when I got to Imo, I discovered that salaries were not being paid in full.
“The reason being that the money coming from Abuja, the federation account is not sufficient. What I did was to cut down the running cost and forfeited the security vote donated to the governor, I made up the money and we were able to pay salaries 100 percent to all the civil servants.
“I also directed that the local government funds be sent straight to the local government until such a time the state is ready to release 10 percent of their IGR (Internally Generated Revenue) to the local government then we can begin to do the business of JAC – Joint Allocation Committee.”
On reconciliation of aggrieved members of his party, the governor said “On arrival to Imo State I have been able to do after reasonable consultations. I have visited leaders from political class, like you must have heard and seen, the party is properly reconciling and leaders are coming back together even across board.
“Twenty seven members of the House of Assembly, 25 are now APC members, they have decamped to APC. The state chairman of the PDP in Imo State, seven members of his cabinet have decamped to APC. So APC is building and the momentum is growing by the day. So the issue of reconciliation is being given serious attention.”
Asked for his priorities, the governor said they include security, infrastructural development, education as well as agricultural development and revival of moribund industries in the state.
On his reaction to the opposition PDP’s resolve to re-approach the Supreme Court on perceived error in its judgement which returned him as a duly elected governor, he said “going back to the Supreme Court is based on falsehood.
“Because, the number of accredited votes outside the excluded votes is what we are talking about. But if you are going to court, you must go to court to discuss or talk about number of accredited voters including the excluded polling units.
“If you compute the number of accredited voters, inclusive of the accredited voters, the figures are correct. We went to court with the issue of exclusion, we didn’t go to court with the business of election malpractices, violence and all of that.”