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Assembly Member Reveals How Okorocha’s Son-in-law Will Become Governor

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One Imo State House of Assembly member, Mr. Henry Ezediaro, who is leading the Ugwumba Mandate 2019, which comprises 15 out of the 27 members in the state legislature, has revealed how the endorsed Governor Rochas Okorocha’s son-in-law will become governor in 2019.

Despite complains from Imo state that Okorocha is turning the governance of the state into a family affair, Ezediaro in an interview with Punch revealed how ‘heavy’ finance will be mobilized to ensure his victory.

Here’s an excerpt from the interview;

Why did your group in the House of Assembly endorse Governor Okorocha’s son-in-law as his successor come 2019?

I am the member representing Oguta State Constituency in the Imo State House of Assembly. I am also the Chairman of the House Committee on Petroleum, Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission and the Niger Delta Development Commission. Apart from being the leader of the Ugwumba Mandate 2019 in the Imo State House of Assembly, I am also the Director General of the group, worldwide. We have resolved to endorse Uche Nwosu, the son-in-law to our leader, Rochas Okorocha, as his successor in 2019 because we want continuity and the sustainability of the free education which our amiable governor has introduced in the state. He (Okorocha) has embarked on many projects in the best interest of the masses. Some of the projects would be completed before the end of his tenure while some would have to be completed by his successor. I want to vehemently state here that Nwosu is the only one that can tenaciously continue from where Okorocha will stop in terms of delivering quality projects to the people of the state. We will resist attempts by any person or group of persons that do not believe in this Owelle (Okorocha’s) philosophy, to bring a successor. We will also not allow any person or group of persons to hijack power through the backdoor. This is the major reason why we are calling on Ugwumba Uche Nwosu to contest the office of the Governor in 2019. I will urge all Imolites to support this project. I say this because it is the surest way that the massive development currently going on in the state can be sustained. The fact that Nwosu is a son-in-law to the Governor is a mere coincidence. He is constitutionally qualified to become Governor of the state in 2019. He is credible, humble, highly educated, young, intelligent and accessible. He is also conversant with the issues of governance in the state. Currently he is the Chief of Staff to the Governor of the state.

You recently announced that the House of Assembly has endorsed Nwosu as Okorocha’s successor but the Speaker said that you were on your own. What is your reaction?

The Speaker of the state House of Assembly might have been quoted out of context by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Marcel Ekwezuo, who issued a statement on his behalf. In as much as we are speaking for ourselves as lawmakers and the people we represent, the endorsement of Nwosu has the support of the majority in the Imo State House of Assembly across the board. We have a communiqué to that effect, and all of us signed it.

What is your members’ numerical strength in the House?

We are 15 as of the time that the communiqué was signed and more people have signified their intention to join us. The signatories will be made available to the press soon. I don’t know what is strange about lawmakers saying that they are supporting a person to become governor. We are not in House of Assembly only to make laws; we are also in the legislature to represent our people and to carry out oversight functions. So, we can take any decision on behalf of the people we represent on any issue.

It is pertinent to state here that the Speaker is my senior colleague. He also has the right to support whoever he wants to support.

Are you making moves to ensure that the entire House endorses the man as the next governor?

As the Coordinator of the Ugwumba Mandate 2019 and the DG Ugwumba Mandate Worldwide, it is my duty to deliver Uche Nwosu as the Governor in 2019. This includes getting all the members of the state House of Assembly on board. I say this because everybody must join the moving train, a train with fuel and not a train that will break down while on motion.

What is the position of the APC leadership in the state on the issue?

The All Progressives Congress as a body, as usual, will create an enabling environment for all the contestants to exercise their civic rights. But I am speaking as the DG, Ugwumba Mandate Worldwide. My group and I, are urging Ugwumba Uche Nwosu to contest. We are going to buy his nomination form and we would support the project heavily, financially.

What is the relationship between you and Nwosu?

There is no special relationship between us other than we are in the same government. I am the member representing Oguta state Constituency while he is the Chief of Staff (to the Governor), Sincerely, I have never asked him for any favour before and he has also, never offered me any. I am not going to ask him for any special favour because I don’t need it.

Is Okorocha aware of your group?

To the best of my knowledge, Owelle is not aware of Ugwumba Mandate Worldwide, but he must have been reading it on the pages of the newspapers. Recently, I heard when he said, My son-in-law is qualified to contest for any election of his choice, if he deemed it necessary as a citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I must not fail to add at this point that I am impressed with the way the Governor has conducted the affairs of the state. If there are areas he is getting it wrong, people like us will also tell him. This is because I am not one of the perceived Governor’s boys. I am a stakeholder in the party and when the governor is doing well, we must tell him and when he is not doing well, we must also call him and offer him our piece of advice. I donated five buses to the Governor’s campaign team in 2015 and 13 buses to the party.

Why did you clear Okorocha’s sister’s nomination as Commissioner for Happiness?

I am not speaking on behalf of the entire House of Assembly but as the member representing Oguta state Constituency. The sister, as far I am concerned, is constitutionally qualified to hold the office of a commissioner in the state. The House has not made any mistake by approving her nomination. We have not violated the constitution. Besides, the Ministry of Happiness does exist in many countries. I think it is a welcome development for other states in the federation to emulate.

Was there any form of drama before her nomination was approved?

Why should there be any drama? There is no need for that because she is qualified and the constitution allows her. The fact that she is a sister to the Governor does not disqualify her from being a commissioner.

Do you think the Ministry of Happiness is necessary?

The Ministry of Happiness is necessary in the state because we have information that similar ministries have been created in some countries in the world.

Did the House of Assembly approve the erection of statues by the governor?

The state Assembly approved not just the statues but all the expenditures on them. Some newspapers reported that the statutes were constructed and erected at a cost of N500m. This is not correct because the statues were simply made of rot iron, Plaster of Paris (POP) and craftily finished with bronze paint. It is our own unique idea of celebrating people who have distinguished themselves and had lived exemplary lives so that future generation can look up to them and emulate them. One of such statues is that of the late Dr. Alex Ekwueme. The former vice president unveiled the statutes made in his honour and that was the last official function that he attended before his death. This signifies that Governor Okorocha sees the future. Again, Jacob Zuma, the President of South Africa came to Imo state and many people did not understand the significance of his visit. South Africa has one of the best economies in Africa and many Nigerians pay as much as N300,000 to go there for tourism and probably for business transactions. So, for Okorocha to have brought Zuma to Owerri meant bringing the whole of S/A to the state. This is because any place that a President of a country is seen at any time, the entire country is there at that moment. Above all, the statue of Jacob Zuma is a serious tourist potential for the state.

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