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Okorocha Offered Me $2m To Return His Son-In-Law As Governorship Candidate – Gulak Alleges

Peter Okunoren

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The Chairman of the All Progressives Congress governorship primaries committee for Imo State, Ahmed Gulak, has alleged that Governor Rochas Okorocha offered him a $2 million bribe so he could return his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, as the party’s candidate.

Gulak, a former Political Adviser to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, made the allegation in Abuja on Saturday in an interview with newsmen.

He said he turned down the offer and submitted the report of what actually transpired during the primaries to the party’s National Working Committee, which appointed him.

The report declared Senator Hope Uzodinma, whose name has since been forwarded to the Independent National Electoral Commission, as the party’s governorship candidate.

Gulak, who had alleged that he was kidnapped on his arrival for the primaries 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 said Okorocha’s plan was to turn the state into a family estate with his son-in-law as governor, his 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.

Gulak said: “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 though there is nothing wrong in Okorocha 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 lightly.

“They are not slaves.

“You cannot enslave them by making it a personal family dynasty.

“This is a well-educated state, a 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 begins 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 State, Gulak 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 $2 million, 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.”

POLITICS

APC Adopts Gbajabiamila As Speaker, Zones Deputy To North Central

Peter Okunoren

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The leadership of All Progressives Congress has adopted Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila as the Speaker of the House of Representatives for the Ninth Assembly.

The agreement was reached after extensive deliberation at a dinner held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday night.

The position of the Deputy Speaker was zoned to the North Central.

A statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, confirmed the development.

Issa-Onilu said the agreement was reached at the dinner between President Muhammadu Buhari and the House members-elect.

The statement said: “The APC has adopted Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila as its candidate for the position of the Speaker of the House of Representatives in the 9th Assembly.

“This position was reached after an intensive deliberation with the APC’s House of Representatives members-elect at a dinner with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Banquet Hall of Aso Villa.

“The Deputy Speaker position has been zoned to the North Central.”

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POLITICS

Ex-Governors Mount Pressure On Danjuma Goje To Accept Buhari’s Candidate, Lawan, For Senate President

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Some former governors are mounting pressure on their former colleague, Senator Danjuma Goje, to accept President Muhammadu Buhari’s choice of Ahmad Lawan for Senate president, The Nation reports.

The President is believed to have met Goje on the matter.

According to reports, Lawan, who is the Senate Leader, is forging ahead. He met yesterday with some senators-elect and pleaded with them to give him a chance.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) former governors, including some of them who are senators, have opted to back Buhari’s decision on Lawan.

Some of the former governors include Ahmed Sani Yerima, Adamu Aliero, Abdullahi Adamu, Aliyu Wammako, George Akume, Bukar Abba Ibrahim, Kabiru Gaya and Godswill Akpabio.

It was gathered that the ex-governors appreciated the “cautious approach adopted by Goje to his aspiration without ruffling feathers but they felt he should defer to the President”.

The ex-governors have sent a delegation to Goje to reconsider his position.

Although two of them were with Goje on Saturday for what was termed “ a social gathering”, it was unclear whether they were the ones who spoke on behalf of their colleagues.

A former governor, who pleaded not to be named, said: “It is true we are trying to avoid cracks in APC over the Ninth Senate President and some of us have met on the President’s choice and how to prevail on Goje to sacrifice his aspiration.

“I can tell you that some of us have opened talks with him. We are talking to him; we are mounting pressure. We also decided to send a delegation to him.

“As a matter of right, Goje is qualified to lead the Senate but we do not really want him to disagree with the President. And he is not a leader who believes in confrontation.”

Responding to a question, the source added: “Our intervention is just a follow-up to the audience between the President and Goje.”

“The former governor of Gombe State is yet to make any categorical statement on his ambition.”

Goje, it was learnt, told Buhari, who persuaded him to support Lawan, that he would “get back to him”.

“Goje has not returned to the President on what he intends to do,” a source in the Presidency said.

The Lawan Group is, however, waiting for Goje’s response before arranging a meeting between the two leaders.

Another source said: “Since a presidential intervention is already involved, we have deliberately asked Lawan to leave the initiative to President Buhari. The truth is that the President’s meeting with Goje underscored the enormous respect he has for the ex-governor.

“Lawan is ready to meet with Goje but after the elders and the ex-governors have brokered a deal.”

Lawan and members of his campaign team last night met with some senators-elect in Abuja on his aspiration.

The senators-elect are in the second batch of those to benefit from the induction course which was packaged by the National Assembly management.

A source at the session quoted Lawan as saying: “Give me a chance, I will provide quality leadership, I will carry every Senator along in whatever I do.”

A Senator-elect said: “The campaign team of the Senate Leader reached out to some of us across party lines. I am new, but I am impressed by his experience on legislative business. Let us see how it goes.”

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POLITICS

Ifeanyi Ubah Dumps YPP For APC

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Ifeanyi Ubah, Anambra South Senator-elect, of the Young Peoples Party (YPP) has dumped the party for the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Ubah’s defection was made known by the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole on Monday.

Oshiohmole informed the APC National Working Committee members, returning/newly-elected senators at the Presidential Villa, on Monday, that Ubah was now with the ruling party, NAN reports.

Describing Ubah as a ‘smart politician Oshiomhole in his opening remark, said the “YPP Senator-elect from Anambra South has decided to pitch tent with the ruling party because he felt more comfortable with the winning team.”

He, however, added that other issues related to Ubah’s defection would be perfected on a later date.

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