By Chinonso Alozie
Owerri—Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, yesterday, said his presidential ambition was “lingering” because President Muhammadu Buhari is still in power.
The governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr Sam Onwuemeodo, disclosed this in a release to newsmen in Owerri.
The governor also launched a group called “Rochas Youth Movement” in Nigeria.
According to the release, “Governor Okorocha spoke when more than two thousand youth delegates from all the geo-political zones of the country visited him.
“On the issue of his lingering Presidential ambition, the governor repeated his earlier assertion that he will not run in 2019 if President Muhammadu Buhari will be running.
“He said even at that, he will not also run at any given time unless 10 million Nigerians would endorse him, adding that President Buhari meant well for the nation and should be given all the support he deserves.
“May I remind all of you that my joy this evening has no bounds for the singular fact that the Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, Ijaw, northern minorities, western and eastern minorities, Muslims and Christians and others can sit down in a roundtable and speak like members of one family. If only for this, my mission for this nation is today achieved.
“I am an Igbo man with Igbo parentage. I was born and raised in the north. The north gave me education, guaranteed my childhood, even when I was not worthy to be called anybody in this world.
“I did all my schooling— primary, secondary and tertiary— in the northern part of this country. I finished and needed to be successful and wealthy. My encounter with someone from the South-West gave me the financial empowerment.
“So you can see that in my person, I have no choice whatsoever but to be a detribalized Nigerian, having been born of Igbo parentage, raised up by the North and empowered by the West. Nigeria remains my constituency.
“Most of you may not know that I am not in politics for self-aggrandizement or as a means to seek livelihood. I am in this job for the glory of the job, not for the profit and for the honour of this job, not for the wealth in it.
“I believe that one day it will become a manifest truth that somebody somewhere really cared for this nation.
“In my quiet time have I gone through lamentations, thinking about our nation and particularly. So is the youth of Nigeria, believe me, if our youths are not alright, our nation can never be alright.”
Okorocha charges youths
On his plans for Nigeria and youths, he said: “We no longer want to make the youths the future but the present leaders. I want you to love one another and continue to be united because, believe me, when a Yoruba man is in power, his business confidents will either be Igbo or Hausa man, the same goes to the Hausa or Igbo man in power.
“It is only when it comes to political lines that people deceive people and make them believe that there is division between A and B. When we meet in London or travel on the same first class, we enjoy ourselves and have fun together and when we come back, we tell Nigerians different stories, that deceit must stop.
“I, therefore, like to approve the use of my name for Rochas Youth Movement, but this movement must be a movement for peace, unity and prosperity. The movement must unite Nigerians across the ethnic divides; it is only then will it reflect my image of Rochas Okorocha.
“I did what was necessary through hardwork to turn from a petty street hawker in Jos to become a governor, if I can do it, you can equally do it with adequate hardwork.
“For your request that I run for Presidency, which I have tried three times, I have respect for one leader, President Buhari. I was in APP and we contested Presidential elections.
“After APP, we parted ways, but when it came to the issue of putting the nation back on its foot, I saw a man with extra-ordinary qualities, who does not think about himself, who in fact hates himself for the sake of his nation.”
“This made me give him every support I could muster from the South-East. I was like the only voice from this side of the world singing the song that this man can change this nation for good. I trust President Muhammadu Buhari.”
The release also said that “an award was presented to Okorocha by two leaders of the delegates, Otunba Fatai Adebiyi and Alhaji Abdullahi Ali.”