In this interview conducted by KELECHI UGO, the former Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Imo State, Hon. Chris Oguoma analyzes how his party will cruise home to victory in the 2023 general elections.
How do see the November 11, 2023 Imo State gubernatorial election as fixed by the INEC?
Imo State is no longer in the normal electoral timetable of Nigeria general elections.
On that day, I know of Kogi, Bayelsa and Imo States will be simultaneously holding their governorship elections. So,we have joined the league of states that have staggered elections.
.Do you think that the All Progressives Congress, APC in Imo State has chances of winning November 2023 governorship election?
Yes, APC is the ruling party in Imo State. And the truth of the matter is that it is difficult to defeat any political party in power. Again, our party in Imo State is strongly structured across the polling units.
We have our structures across the awards and LGAs. APC is the party to watch. What always wins election is the strength of the political party.
Look at the party in government if it has touched lives positively. And of course,APC has touched lives positively in Imo State. Our party has done so much,particularly in the area of road infrastructure. Our governor has done well in area of road infrastructure. No doubt,APC will win November 11,2023 Imo gubernatorial election.
. Let us look at the issues surrounding your successor, Dan Nwafor’s withdrawal of his case against APC from court. And we also learnt that Senator Hope Uzodimma has initiated peace moves with former governor,Owelle Rochas Okorocha and Senator Ifeanyichukwu Araraume of same APC. How do you see the new alliance of these three political “irokos”?
The reconciliation is a welcome development. And I want to commend our leaders, the current governor of Imo State, the former governor of Imo State and Senator Araraume. On Wednesday last week,a strong ally of Senator Araraume, Major Emenike(Rtd) was sworn-in as a Commissioner in Imo State. I think that is also part of the reconciliation outcome. I also heard that the incumbent governor and former governor Owelle Rochas Okorocha are also meeting. That’s a good development for APC. And why is it a good development for APC is that we are going for elections. We can’t win election if our leaders are in disarray. So, I thank God for the reconciliation move. APC will be going to polls as a united force. And part of the peace process like as you said, Dan Nwafor withdrew his case from court. That case was capable of disrupting the party’s process. Thank God that in the spirit of reconciliation, the matter was withdrawn from court. And APC is now stronger.
In no less than four months now, Nigerians will be going to polls to elect those who will oversee the affairs of the country in the next four years, and Imo State is not an exception. I am aware that your party,APC is fielding candidates in all the positions.
In your own Owerri Municipal State Constituency in Imo State House of Assembly,do you think that the APC candidate,Ugochukwu Obodo has the capacity to win the election?
That young man has the capacity to win the election. He is a youth and Umuororonjo community youth leader which is the first son of Owere nchi ise. He is a very strong member of Owere nchi ise political class. Umuororonjo has population, and Obodo coming from there is an advantage for his victory. The youths are supporting him. He has chances to win the election. And the leaders are solidly behind him.
.Recently, there was a counter endorsement of the APC Senatorial candidate for Imo East Senatorial District, Alex Mbata by Owerri Zonal traditional rulers. How do see the action of the monarchs?
Politicians should help the traditional rulers. We are not supposed to bring them into ridicule. Going by their status, they are supposed to be apolitical. An Eze may have interest in a candidate, but he should be apolitical. They are supposed to come out and denounce the endorsement because everybody expected them to be neutral (apolitical), but that doesn’t mean that Alex Mbata is not a strong candidate. Alex Mbata is our candidate and he is going to win the election. And with our support,Alex Mbata is the next Senator for Owerri zone.
. Is there any position you think APC is having fears of winning in Imo State?
So far,in Owerri zone, APC is very strong. I was the former Owerri Zonal Chairman of APC and we worked very hard to install the party in our zone. Yes,we are not unaware of the current “Obidient” syndrome, but we are politicians,and at the appropriate time, you will see us cruising home to victory.
In Owerri zone, we have four federal constituency seats, one senatorial seat and nine House of Assembly seats to deliver. I don’t have fear in any of them. We are going to deliver all of them.
.Before the primary elections in the middle of this year,there were calls from different quarters for you to join the race for Owerri Federal Constituency seat in the House of Representatives. Why did you turn down the call?
Honestly, I was totally under pressure to join the race. Leaders, market men and women including age grade members from Owerri Federal Constituency begged me to join the race, but I refused due to the state of my mindset. I didn’t make up my mind to contest for the election. So, election is a thing of one’s mindset. At a time, I started thinking of joining the race,but I lately asked God to approve the appropriate time for me. Of course, I remain a household name in Owerri Federal Constituency and can’t be afraid of any election.
.On 28th February,2023, we will be going to the polls to elect a new brand president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. And we have three top candidates,Bola Ahmed Tinubu of APC,Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of PDP and Mr. Peter Obi of the Labour Party. What do you think that is going to happen?
2023 presidential election is going to be tough. It always looks like two-horse trade, but this time around, we have a “third force” which is Mr. Peter Obi of the Labour Party. Mr. Obi and Kwankwaso of NNPP cannot be discounted. The truth is that it is going to be an interesting political battle. Above all, Labour Party will take over South East and some parts of South South. It will be difficult for another party to succeed in south east. These South East and South South are traditional stronghold of PDP.
So, I pity the PDP in this election because it is going to be very difficult for them. I don’t know how they are going to do it in South South because they are having problem there. Then,for APC, the party never banked on the South East. Yes,we have Imo and Ebonyi as APC ruling states, but APC never banked on South East because PDP has been making waves in this zone which is gradually turning “Obidient”. So,these things are likely going to play out in the forthcoming general elections. In North,PDP will be there because of Atiku, but Kwankwaso of NNPP factor will also play out.
Nobody should discount what is going to happen for APC in North because the incumbent president is from there.
We have strong governors of APC extraction in the North.
So, it’s going to be an interesting game. In the South West,APC candidate is coming from there.
What you normally see in an election will not be seen this time around because a lot of things will be unfolded. And at the end of the day,APC will win the presidential election.