At the weekend, Chief Mike Ahamba granted an interview to Vanguard where he expressed his views on the National Conference. The interview took a very interesting dimension when Chief Ahamba was asked questions pertaining to APC and his assessment of the Okorocha -led administration. Grab your pop corn and coke as you digest excerpts from the interview.
Opponents of APC say “the party died on arrival in Imo State”. Do you agree?
Well, there is no doubt that APC has a very bright opportunity of winning in Imo State. I regret to say that the only obstacle we have towards this lofty goal is the person we thought was our best advantage.
He has taken steps that have divided the party in a manner that is now difficult to fight together. But I want to assure the people of the state and members of the party that we shall effectively contain him.
The four parties that are the true members of the APC cannot sit back and allow an invitee to our dinning table, who has washed two hands, contrary to Igbo culture, to carry away the plates with the food on the dinning table.
So, I still believe that APC will carry the day in 2015 in this state because of the quality of people in the party.
Are you saying that APC is facing internal crisis in Imo?
Absolutely correct! Instead of harnessing everybody together, Governor Okorocha has been hatching and sustaining a dichotomy between his rebel All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA group and members of the parties that formed APC. This is exactly what the Governor has been doing. Apart from washing his two hands, he equally wants to carry the table and everything, leaving those who cooked the food with nothing. This is greediness at its peak! In the next few days, our game plan would be made clear to the nation.
Don’t you have the likes of Chief Achike Udenwa in APC?
*It is not only the former governor. Governor Okorocha is trying to sideline and silence him but the truth is that he cannot sideline him. He is equally trying to sideline me but he cannot succeed. He wants to sideline every other person. That is what he believes he is doing because these appointments he is making in the local governments and calling them APC appointments, were all made in absolute ignorance.
Is the Governor not a card-carrying member of APC?
He is a concessional member of APC and we have accepted him as such pending his formal registration. Remember that when APC was formed, there were four political parties that agreed to come together and all the members of the parties, as at the date of the formation, are the authentic members of the party. So, Governor Okorocha remains a concessional member until he is registered when APC starts registration of new members.
So, we are not being worried about him. He is being mis-advised by some people. It is unfortunate that he may realize his multiple mistakes too late in the day. One thing we can assure him is that he cannot hijack this party no matter how hard he may try.
What makes you so confident?
APC is a party that has people like us. It cannot be hijacked by people we know cannot deliver their wards. The problem is that because he is controlling government power, and people out of the desire to receive, pretend to be with them and they think they have the majority. It is not true. Very soon, we shall prove that it is not true and I tell you, Governor Okorocha is an advantage turning into a disadvantage.
What exactly do you mean?
Let us tell ourselves the truth. When you are in a state and you have the person who has the machinery of government on your side, it is an advantage. But when that machinery is turned inwards against members of the team, it becomes a disadvantage. That is exactly what I mean. Instead of using the advantage to unite everybody, he is using the advantage to dichotomise. And remember that Okorocha did not come with APGA into APC. Those who are with him in APGA are rebels and we just accommodated them and they want to drive us out. Those of you that read the story of Bintu and the camel in their primary school days will clearly understand that the story wants to repeat itself here. We will not allow a camel to throw us out.
How would you assess his administration?
With what is happening now, if I speak my mind, it would seem as if I want to deride him. The only way to assess his administration is for you to look at the road by which you (Vanguard) came to my house two years ago and see if you can pass it on foot now! That is a typical example of what has happened to ImoState. Don’t mind all these funny pictures that have run on the screen for more than one year.
If you are talking about development, how do you use the same pictures you used last year this year? A new set of pictures would have replaced what you put out before.
People in Abuja might be impressed but the people in ImoState know the truth and they are the people that matter. So, Labaran Maku, the Minister of Information, will not come here to vote and I wish he had the same type of administration in his own state so that I can go there and say something is happening.
Do we have credible opposition in the state?
When you talk of credible opposition and you are talking about people with integrity like Achike Udenwa, my answer is yes. Remember that Achike Udenwa is the only governor in this country or among the governors in this country against whom no single allegation of graft has been made by anybody inside or outside the state. I won’t assess myself. I would like Imo people to assess me but I think they will agree that I have made efforts in my political life to manifest credibility. Whether I succeeded or not is not for me to judge. We have people like Col. Lambert Ihenacho, who is a man of great reputation and integrity. So, the opposition now, unfortunately, is contained in the APC that is supposed to be the ruling party. If you are talking about PDP opposition or APGA opposition, I want to tell you that PDP is not going to rule ImoState again.
Which zone do you think should produce the next Imo governor?
The issue of where the next governor should come from will eventually be harmonized. If we are going to face a party like PDP from one end and APGA at the other end, you will find that what we in APC lack in money and sentiment, we have abundantly in men. We have to choose a credible candidate that will be acceptable to the zones. Such candidates exist and when the time comes, they will emerge. I believe we have candidates who will emerge in APC and they will split the other parties as they are now.
You once accused Governor Okorocha of flouting the rule of law. Do you still maintain this stand?
Honestly, from what is happening, the present state administration has never pretended to be friendly with the rule of law. The Governor had covertly and overtly maintained that he does not believe in the rule of law. So, what else do you expect me to say? There is no action that he has taken that survived judicial searchlight. My only hope is that we don’t degenerate to a state of dictatorship in this state.
Could you cite instances?
Of course. If tenured commissions are dissolved arbitrarily and replacements are appointed arbitrarily without following the provisions of the Constitution of this country; if decisions are taken in a manner that show it is a one-man-decision without reference to others; if we have run this state without tenders board, we are running a one-man-show. A one-man-show is a dictatorship. The Constitution does not allow a dictatorship. It does not allow a one-man-show. It is a situation of combined efforts by all with a leader organizing things. It does not say that one man should decide things for us in ImoState, but that is what is happening.
Okorocha hinges his achievement on his ability to do things alone! This is dangerous for the Constitution of the country and people like Mike Ahamba will not sit back and allow that type of thing to continue. He had told me face-to-face that he does not believe in the rule of law. It is unfortunate but he is the Governor of Imo State. People must help him manage the situation and stop him when he is going beyond his limits by all legitimate means.
Within the APC family, have you people not been advising him?
Honestly, there was a time it appeared we had what I may call in the street language, “scatter-scatter situation”. The Governor called everybody together and we said it was fine and attended. Chief Achike Udenwa, a two-time governor and former minister, was there with us. He has earned his reputation and respect. Without being egocentric, I have paid my dues in the legal profession. I have equally earned my reputation and respect.
If all of us are in a party and we meet with somebody, agree on how to run the party, we were thereafter brought outside, faced the press, raised our hands together to show that we were one and immediately the publications were out, he went back to the things that caused the initial trouble. In fact, we are beyond where we were before the peace talk. What do you want us to do? Is that not arbitrariness? In politics, arbitrariness is dictatorship. This is an unfortunate situation.
Are you telling us that the national leadership of the party has failed to call him to order?
We have complained and we are going to complain again. You see, this question of the advantage of a sitting governor is what is disturbing us because probably, Abuja believes that we need this governor here for the forthcoming elections. But the governor could make a party fail an election. So, definitely, we are going to invite them to come and take a look at things again or we take steps to protect ourselves. It is not an Ahamba affair.
In the next few days, the legacy parties in this state will be making a very strong and serious statement. If after all that Abuja decides to ignore the situation, we will take care of ourselves and whatever they see, they take.
But the Governor is the leader of Imo APC?
He is leading his faction of APGA. They call themselves “Agenda”. He is not leading the four political parties that formed APC. So, he has put himself outside. We didn’t put him outside.
The APC comprises All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, Democratic Peoples Party, DPP, Congress for Progressive Change, CPC and Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN. Every other person hanging around APC is a concessionary member, who can only claim membership of the party after we have formally registered him. That is the law. We have been keeping quiet all this while but not any more.
Source: Imo State Blog