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No laughing matter: Okorocha with Buhari when the going was good

Buhari’s Okorocha headache

President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-(s)election in 2019 is facing a big, fat stumbling block in Imo State in the person of the current governor, Rochas Okorocha.

Buhari’s party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the words of a party stalwart who spoke to, “has been turned into Okorocha’s personal property” in the state. The source claimed that the governor has alienated and “fought” with practically every party bigwig, partly because he wants to install his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, as the next governor in 2019. Okorocha’s succession plans are his “insurance” to prevent being “lynched by the people and cut into little pieces”.

The crisis in the APC in Imo has led to two factions of the party with Okorocha on side and an alliance with former Imo House of Assembly Speaker and current senator for Imo North, Ben Uwajumogu (who incidentally, was one Okorocha’s crony), perennial governorship aspirant and former senator Ifeanyi Ararume and another former senator Osita Izunaso.

This trio informed Buhari that Okorocha has “killed the APC brand” in Imo. They told the president that the governor is so toxic that “anything to do with him in the state won’t fly”.  They also presented evidence of Okorocha’s looting of the state’s coffers, which our source described as “too much”.  They warned the president that associating with Okorocha would damage his (s)election prospects in the state in 2019.

The trio also asked the president to intervene because the people of the state who have suffered from the governor’s corruption, mismanagement and owing state workers and pensioners several months’ pay, know Okorocha has little “credibility” and “seeing his face along with Buhari” during the presidential campaign in 2019 would be an electoral liability.

The president was said to be jittery about the situation. But it remains unclear whether he will take sides and act in line with the pleas of the anti-Okorocha faction.

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