Exclusive Why Buhari Has Failed to Visit Okorocha in Owerri After 2015 Election .As VP, Osinbanjo Returns Again, To Commission Projects

Posted by on Jun 7th, 2018 and filed under Frontpage. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


By Thompson Agu, Abuja

Since emerging President of Nigeria in 2015, Muhammadu Buhari is yet to revisit Imo State, the only South East State with APC governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha.

With the days leading to his exit reducing gradually after the May 29, 2018 Democracy Day celebration, it has been observed that Owerri, the campaign base of Buhari and APC in the South East during the 2015 election is yet to receive the President on official visit.

The worries about Buhari’s absence and indifference attitude to visiting Imo heightened during the Democracy Day media chat with journalists in Imo State, where the governor instead of Buhari, revealed that his vice, Prof Yemi Osibanjo would now come for commissioning of projects.

Trumpeta observed that the Imo State Government has made a U-turn on the Presidency visit by expecting Osinbanjo instead of Buhari.

It would be recalled that in one of the public events at the International Conference Centre, in the heart of Owerri, early this year, the governor had disclosed that President Buhari would be in town in March for a purpose related to project commissioning.

The renewed zeal to have Presidency in Owerri, saw Okorocha inform the gathering that the VP will commission more than 100 Rescue Mission projects. While stating that his administration has surpassed on his mandate in terms of project delivery, he said that Osibanjo is expected in few weeks time. Subsequent releases from Govt. House stated that between June and July this year, the VP will officially visit Owerri.

Investigations by the newspaper exposes that the state governor has since Buhari emerged President made desperate efforts to bring him back to Owerri but to no avail and indications are rife that the President may not visit the State called Eastern Heartland except for political campaigns ahead 2019 elections.

Our Abuja correspondent discovered that it was a calculated ploy by Aso Rock to keep away from the governor, considering that the President has gone to several states of the federation on state visits to commission newly constructed projects.

Strong revelations that Buhari has no plans to take another look at Owerri again after the campaigns, where Okorocha nicknamed him “Okechukwu” before the 2015 election became manifest during the burial of late sage and politician of Anambra State, late Chief Alex Ekwueme. Instead of entering Anambra through Imo, the itinerary of the Buhari saw him step into PDP controlled states. The same scenario was first witnessed during the final campaigns of APC governorship candidate in the 2017 November election.

In Anambra State where Buhari also visited Ebonyi and Enugu States, apart from South East States, the President went to other places to commission projects.

This newspaper was reliably informed that several factors are behind the suspected cold response of the President to a state visit to Imo despite invitations from the government quarters.

The issue of Okorocha running against Buhari in the 2015 primaries of the party as well as reported comments in the past that his eyes are still focusing on a chance to preside the affairs of the country in Aso Rock is said to have warned the Presidency to be wary of Okorocha . It would be recalled that the Imo State governor was part of the 2015 APC Presidential race primaries partakers, who on losing the ticket rushed back to Owerri, to collect the governorship ticket held in trust for him by Chief Uche Nwosu, his Chief of Staff, he is plotting to make the successor in 2019.

It was learnt that Aso Rock is not comfortable with his Presidential ambition he tried to exhibit in 2015 despite interest to run as Governor again in Imo State.

Furthermore, it was also gathered that the governor’s continuous verbal reports of wanting to rule Nigeria as part of his ambition in the future, reported in the media and recent intimate association with former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, whose later comment that Igbo’s are entitled to the Presidency of Nigeria, during a visit to Owerri, however fuelled the displeasure of the Presidency against Okorocha. It was learnt that when Presidency expressed worries over his rumoured Presidential bid, Okorocha made a recant to state that he wouldn’t run for 2019 if Buhari declares.

What was said to have further irked the Presidency against stepping into the State, was the visit of some Presidents of African countries to the governor’s state.

Trumpeta learnt that Aso Rock not only felt aggrieved, but also felt slighted how a state governor would be directly receiving Head of States of other countries; an act seen as the governor trying   to “outshine” the President in International relations.

A clear indication that Okorocha may have incurred the wrath of the Presidency was when no federal government representative or delegation was available in each of the visits to receive the foreign Heads of State as expected in such exercise. More so, federal government security agencies, like Police and Army were said to have been instructed not to observe the mandatory Guard of Honour due to a visiting President. In the Owerri cases, the governor was forced to use his state established Imo Civil Guard’s for the parade.

Trumpeta recalls that former Presidents of South Africa, Jacob Zuma who was honoured with a controversial statue and road names after him, Sirleaf Johnson of Sierra Leone and others came visiting during his much celebrated 55 years birthday held last year.

A sign of the President’s disapproval of the Heads of States visits was the conspicuous absence of Buhari in all the events, including the grand finale. Against all expectations, the Nigeria President was absent as other world leaders and APC chieftains showed face in Owerri for the birthday events.

The statue of Jacob Zuma which attracted condemnation for the governor was also said to have made Buhari keep off Imo. Sources close to the President revealed that it would amount to double standard for Buahri an avowed anti-corruption fighter to associate with a state governor who graciously erected a statue of another country’s President standing trial for corruption charges.

It was however learnt that the inability of the governor to consult with the authorities at the Presidency before inviting Presidents of other countries including the erected statues prompted the distance from Aso Rock. To avoid further backlash from the Presidency, Okorocha reportedly named a major road after Buhari. Though, it attracted controversies when Catholics in Owerri objected to it and claimed it was Assumpta Avenue, the move was to pacify the Presidency.

Trumpeta learnt that the recent romance of Okorocha with Obasanjo who asked Buhari not to run for 2019 Presidency is reported to have sparked off fresh animosity between the governor and Aso Rock, leading to absence of Buhari for the commissioning of projects.

The Newspaper learnt that Osibanjo has become the saving grace of the governor as he settles for the VP for project commissioning scheduled to hold in few weeks time.

Source even added that the humiliation of Okorocha during the APC state congresses and silence of the Presidency on the matter despite the governor’s quick visit to Buhari in Daura, Katsina State is traceable to the grievances against the state governor.

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