Gibson Achonu and Chidiebube Okeoma
Imo State Governor Okorocha has claimed that Hope Uzodinma “is desperate” to become governor to avoid facing trials.
Uzodinma, who represents Imo West Senatorial District in the Senate, was arrested on Sunday by the Special Presidential Investigation Panel For Recovery of Public Property for the failure of his company to execute a contract of $12m for the dredging of Calabar channel.
The lawmaker, who emerged as the All Progressives Congress governorship candidate in Imo State under controversial circumstances, has since denied that he was arrested.
Okorocha, who is currently battling to stop Uzodinma from the governorship race in favour of his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, said on Tuesday that the senator was aiming to enjoy immunity as a governor to avoid trials for alleged criminal offences.
The governor again attacked the APC National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole for his insistence on Uzodinma as the governorship candidate of the party in Imo State.
“Chief Uzodinma is desperate to govern Imo State through the assistance of men like Adams Oshiomhole to evade the criminal trials he is already facing,” Okorocha was quoted as saying in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary Sam Onwuemeodo on Tuesday.
“His idea is that once he becomes governor, he would be leveraging the immunity provision to evade these trials.
“This is the man Oshiomhole wants to govern Imo people. If Oshiomhole had asked questions, and if he was keen on APC’s victory in Imo, he would not have gone into any deal with Chief Uzodinma.”
He added, “Chief Uzodinma should be advised to withdraw from the race and also quit politics to enable him to face these trials, and he can come back to politics if at the end of the trials he is not found guilty.”
Meanwhile, Nwosu, on Tuesday vowed to stop Uzodinma from succeeding his father-in-law next year.
The former Chief of Staff to the Governor, who spoke to his supporters shortly after his arrival in Oweei from Abuja, said, “Uzodinma is a tenant in APC”.
Nwosu, who is laying claim to the governorship ticket of the APC in the state, said the court would deliver judgement in his favour.
He denied that he had concluded plans to dump the APC for the Democratic Alternative in order to realise his governorship ambition, blaming Oshiomhole for the crisis that followed the party’s governorship primary in the state.
Nwosu said, “I am the lawful governorship candidate of the APC in Imo State. Our national chairman did not respect the rule of law and the constitution of our party by substituting my name for Hope Uzodinma.
“The records are very clear. I won the first primary election on October 2. I also won the second primary held on October 6. The records are there. The police, INEC and DSS reports affirmed my victories.
“It is only for a matter of time. We will get justice in court; my name shall be on the ballot. I shall be announced as the APC governorship candidate in Imo State. Hope Uzodinma won’t be governor.”