The battle for the Imo State governorship is about to shift to the courts.
Incumbent Rochas Okorocha of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was declared the winner of the (s)election in April and the result is being challenged by his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) opponent Emeka Ihedioha, the former deputy speaker of the House of Representatives.
The word in Owerri is that Rochas is running scared because of the weight of evidence against him. He is alleged to have tried to get traditional rulers from Mbaise, where Ihedioha comes from, to go and plead with their son to withdraw the case.
When the traditional rulers refused, Okorocha said he “will deal with them and will not spare them”. His next move was to get some more pliant traditional rulers to go and see Ihedioha and offer him money to withdraw. This also failed.
Ihedioha’s counsel Mike Ahamba SAN (Senior Advocate of Nigeria) has also alleged that he has credible information from sources close to the governor that his life is being threatened. Ahamba has petitioned the Inspector-General of Police and the Imo State Police Commissioner that he has received information about what Okorocha is planning to do.
Our source said that Ahamba asked why Okorocha is afraid of the legal team Ahamba is heading, which has “only just one SAN, while Rochas has five SANs working for him”. Ahamba has said he is not pulling out of the case despite the threats and that Okorocha should let the law courts decide who won the election. Our source claimed that the Ahamba-led legal team believes that Okorocha did not even receive half the amount of votes allocated to him.
The source also claims that Okorocha was expecting earlier that the backing of President Buhahari would help him win the case. But the president, according to the source, “does not like Rochas and sees him as very corrupt”. The president has no intention of intervening in the case.