March 1, 2021

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‘Incoming president of Nigeria,’ crowd cheers Okorocha, after Owerri fracas

4 min read

A large crowd of supporters on solidarity visit, Monday, to the embattled former governor of Imo State,  Rochas Okorocha, cheered him on, with one of the speakers calling the senator “the incoming president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

The visit was at Mr Okorocha’s private residence in Owerri, Imo State.

Mr Okorocha, who represents Imo West District, has been in a lingering political battle with his successor, Hope Uzodinma, since he left office as governor in 2019.

PREMIUM TIMES  reported how the police on Sunday arrested Mr Okorocha during a fracas over the government sealing of a hotel, Royal Spring Palm Hotel, Owerri, belonging to his wife.

Some SUVs and other vehicles belonging to Mr Okorocha’s entourage were vandalised, and are still parked near the Royal Spring Palm Hotel.

The senator’s police orderly had a bloodied face after he was allegedly attacked with a machete.

The crowd, led by a faction of APC youth leaders loyal to Mr Okorocha, sang solidarity songs, while he stood, alongside other dignitaries, to watch.

The crowd sang for several minutes: “On your mandate, we shall stand! On your mandate, we shall stand! On your mandate, we shall stand!

A man, identified as Kenneth Emelu, said to be one of the youth leaders, while addressing the crowd, praised as “the father to the fatherless” and “the man we believe in.”

“The incoming president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he said to the senator.

And the crowd reacted with a thunderous shout.

“You have the mandate of God in the year 2023 to be the president. Nobody in Africa or the whole world can stop the mandate of God.

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“We are here to encourage you, Sir, and to assure you that we are with you. We are with you in prayers – spiritually, physically, and politically,” Mr Emelu said.

The youth leader, however, said the senator needed “a lot” of prayer for his presidential ambition.

“All of us here have a duty to pray for His Excellency. The enemies there are too much. We are going to surmount them.”

“Amen!” The crowd responded.

There is an ongoing debate on the propriety of zoning Nigeria’s presidency to the South-east, where Mr Okorocha hails from, in 2023.

The attack on the senator is because of 2023 election — Okorocha’s aide

Mr Okorocha’s personal aide, Ebere Nzewuji, told PREMIUM TIMES, Sunday, the feud between the senator and Mr Uzodinma is all about “political vendetta and witch hunt” by the latter.

“It is all about political vendetta and witch hunt, which is not far from the 2023 presidential election.

“Senator Okorocha is seen as the brightest star to come from this part of the country, and some people outside the region are using his brothers there to embarrass him,” he said.

Beyond Mr Nzewuji’s position, the origin of the feud between the two leaders could be traced to the 2019 governorship election in Imo where Mr Okorocha, then as governor,  supported his son-in-law in another party, instead of Mr Uzodinma, who was the candidate of APC — Mr Okorocha’s party.

Mr Nzewuji called on President Muhammadu Buhari and political leaders in the country to intervene in the feud between Messrs Okorocha and Uzodinma.

Mr Okorocha, during the solidarity visit to him, appealed to his supporters to remain calm.

He said Governor Uzodinma “is going in the wrong direction and might not end up well.”

“What happened (on Sunday) was a display of criminality in government and thuggery in governance.

“He (Uzodinma) is creating unnecessary tension,” he added.

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