By Chidi Nkwopara
OWERRI — The South East People’s Assembly, SEPA, has asked Owelle Rochas Okorocha to withdraw from the gubernatorial race in Imo State, saying Orlu people were precluded from the contest in 2011 and 2015 as a result of the zoning formula adopted by political leaders in the state.
The body noted that after Orlu zone had held the governorship slot for eight years between 1999 and 2007, it would amount to sheer greed and quest for instability for any person from the area to seek the post until it had gone round the other two zones of Okigwe and Owerri.
Chairman of SEPA, Chief Canice-Moore Nwachukwu, in a statement he issued in Owerri, yesterday, wondered why Owelle Okorocha should contest the 2011 governorship election when he knew that it was the turn of Okigwe zone to complete their eight years.
According to him, “Imo people agreed on zoning and based on that, Orlu took its turn from 1999-2007. Now Okigwe will do eight years from 2007-2015, while Owerri will take over from 2015 to 2023. That is when somebody from Orlu can now vie for that position.”
Chief Nwachukwu said any Orlu son who tried to defy the current political arrangement in the state would be creating instability and confusion.
He noted that it was in respect of the zoning arrangement that the highest political decision making body in Orlu zone, Orlu Political Consultative Assembly, OPOCA, vowed to disown any Orlu son who challenged Okigwe zone for the governorship in 2011.
The SEPA boss also expressed worry that the only time the presence of Rochas Okorocha is felt in Imo State is during elections, saying that the business mogul should make up his mind on what he actually wants.
“He has contested for the governorship, the presidency, the senate, PDP National chairman and now Imo governorship. The people are really confused on what the gentleman wants”, he said.
Chief Nwachukwu said it would have been better for Owelle Okorocha to concentrate on his business and philanthropic activities, instead of mixing up issues with politics.
He said: “Great philanthropists like Bill Gates and Ted Thurner, founder of CNN concentrated on their humanitarian activities. They never went into politics. So I expect our brother to borrow a leaf from them”.
He however counseled political parties not to sponsor anybody from Orlu for the governorship as it would amount to abetting instability and rancour in Imo State.