Serious Reconciliation Efforts Are Going On In Imo PDP – Okonkwo | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Serious Reconciliation Efforts Are Going On In Imo PDP – Okonkwo

pdp, Imo PDP
Posted: Sep 6, 2016 at 10:52 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Chief Solomon Okonkwo, the National Chairman of Igbo Forum, is former All Progressives Congress (APC) leader in Oru West, in Imo State. Now a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic  Party (PDP), he spoke to EJIKEME OMENAZU on the state of affairs in the party and in Imo State generally. Excerpts:

As a former leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the South East, how do you see the President Muhammadu Buhari so far?

I will say that it has been very tough for every Nigerian. Many of us worked strongly for the emergence of the APC believing that the ‘Change’ mantra would work. Now, the reverse is the case, hence many of us have quietly retraced our steps. One can no longer understand what is happening in the nation’s governance under President Buhari. Only he knows what he is doing. There is great suffering in the land. Things have never been so bad in this country before. Even during the Biafra war, for those of us at that side, there were some reliefs which some get from the relief agencies. Now, there is o relief from anywhere, either from the local governments, state governments and the federal government. Everything is now at standstill. Business has been grounded. The economy is grounded. Nigerians no longer believe that there is a government in Abuja. We do not know what the elected and appointed leaders are doing. Even those of them from our area, we do not see them. They come in quietly and drive out quietly without being seen by anybody. People have no one to complain to at the constituency levels. Even the politicians are complaining. We do not know what is happening. Is the government no longer selling oil daily? Is the Customs no longer working? Is this the ‘Change’ they promised us?
Presently Kwashiorkor, which we saw in the South East during the Nigerian civil war, is returning. But Nigeria is not at war now. There is no natural disaster now. But the president and the government are doing nothing to assuage the suffering of the people. I do not know if the ‘Change’ they promised is to die of hunger enmasse. President Muhammadu Buhari should wake up and save the people. If he cannot do it, he should throw in the towel to give chance to another person who has the capacity to save the people. Now, rice, which the children love so much, is no longer there. Even local foodstuff like gari and tubers of yam are beyond the reach of the common man. Now is the time for President Buhari to wake up.

How would you describe the state of Imo State under the administration of Owelle Rochas Okorocha presently?

In Imo, my state,  once you get to Owerri, the state capital, all the roads have been broken down for rehabilitation work at the same time. Anywhere you enter, uniformed government officials will arrest you and force you to a place where they call Heroes Square, deflate your tyres and extort between N20,000 and N25,000 from you. There is mass hunger and suffering. People die anyhow due to hunger and suffering. There is no money to buy food, drugs or pay hospital bills. The government workers are now on half pay. They work from Monday to Wednesday. On Thursdays and Fridays, they are asked to go to the farm when no land was provided for them. I have never seen an administration like this before anywhere in Nigeria. Owelle Rochas Okorocha used to be my hero and I worked for him in the past. But no one understands what he is doing now in Imo State under the APC government. I do not know the type of ‘Change’. Is it from prosperity to poverty or where?

Would you say that the Imo people are satisfied with the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration in the state?

Nigerians and Imo people have no alternative in 2019 than changing the ‘Change’. Thank God, my friend Owelle Rochas will complete his eight year in 2019. We cannot afford to continue with a party that promised us ‘Change’ and goodness and we are dying en masse. People prefer a PDP corrupt government if they will see food to eat, traders will see something to sell and there is money in the society.
With the crisis in PDP, do you think it will be in a position to recapture Imo State from the APC in 2019?
As regard the crisis in PDP, people are seeing that it is the party that can be in power and everybody will be happy. So, people are trying to position themselves for the next general elections. That is what is causing the so-called crisis. By 2019, PDP would have become a one united party. What is happening in PDP is a manipulation by the APC so that PDP will not resurrect in 2019. We have realised about the plot and we are retrying to resolve the crisis. The nation cannot afford another four years of APC ‘Change’.
We understand that are efforts are being made to rebuild the PDP in Imo State. Could you recount some of these efforts and how successful are they so far?
In Imo States, I am sure that the PDP is reconciling all the differences. They are consulting top personalities who were not really in the party to join the party. With the current poverty in the land, people looking for the PDP and are joining the party. All the reconciliation efforts are progressing positively. Both ex-members and many APC members are joining the PDP. Unless President Buhari and Governor Rochas Okorocha wake up now and do something fast, APC is sinking. In Imo, after successful congresses, the PDP now has stable executives from ward, local and government to state level.

Would you say that top Imo PDP leaders would agree to unite to rescue the party considering the crisis during the last general elections?

Recently, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu in his position as the PDP Leader in the South East, hosted stakeholders in his Glass House Complex in Owerri, which I attended. Attendance was great. Former House of Representatives Speaker and governorship candidate, Emeka Ihedioha was there. Chris Anyanwu was also there. Chief Ifeanyi Ararume was represented. Chief Hope Uzodimma sent a representative too. Almost every known leader of the former PDP was in the meeting. They resolved to sink their differences to rescue Imo people. Reconciliation efforts, especially as championed by our leader, Iwuanyanwu is in great progress.

Some South East stakeholders reportedly met in Enugu to discuss the possibility of APGA, UPP and PPA collapsing into one for a stronger South East platform for the 2019 elections. How do you see the move?

I don’t know those you refer as the South East stakeholders. They may be one of these propaganda work of some of the aggrieved South East politicians. As far as I know, in South East, there are only APC and PDP. APGA no more exists in Imo. In Anambra, they hold the government now. But, something else will happen in Anambra in 2019. PDP controls Enugu and Ebonyi states. So, I don’t see the magic the so-called stakeholders can do going by the progress being made by the PDP in South East. My advice to our people is forget everything about an Igbo party for now. Let us choose a good national platform for party politics. In the alternative, let us abandon everything about national politics and face the Biafran agitation. Forming an Igbo party is a mockery