OPINION: Is Sen. Rochas Okorocha Planning To Dump APC?

January 11, 2021

OPINION: Is Sen. Rochas Okorocha Planning To Dump APC?

What happens when a football team you co-founded refuses to allow your son to represent them at a local match? Leave the club? This might be the fate of Sen. Rochas Okorocha, the former Governor of Imo State and one of the founding members of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Okorocha is no doubt, one of the most influential politics as long as the South-East zone is concerned. He had successfully risen to a great height without any known god-father. Having won the election under the gubernatorial elections under the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) platform, he thought it wise to migrate to the APC for his second tenure.

The plan worked very fine as he got elected for his re-election bid under the party, which also presented Muhammadu Buhari as their presidential candidate.

Who would have expected less? A party formed as a result of a merger of Nigeria's three biggest opposition parties – the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) should win any federal election.

The new party was peaceful (or rather appeared peaceful) until the 2019 gubernatorial elections when the then Governor Rochas Okorocha tried handing over to his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu while still holding the senatorial tickets.

This didn't go too well with the other contestants and after some series of contests, Ugwumba Uche Nwosu had to leave the APC for Action Alliance (AA), a party that was founded by his father in law in 2005 ahead of the 2007 general elections.

To cut the long story short, Rochas Okorocha lost his grip of the gubernatorial seat, while winning the Imo west senatorial seat. His son in law, who also served as the Chief of Staff to the state government contested under the AA platform but lost to PDP's Emeka Ihedioha.

After some months of holding the seat, Sen. Hope Uzodinma, who previously took third in the gubernatorial race was declared the winner by the Supreme Court.

Life after leaving the government house

Sen. Rochas Okorocha hasn't really been appearing on the news since he left the Imo State government house. He has been spotted in few events, but we guess he purposely remained out of the media while re-enforcing for a bigger battle.

In November 2020, the ex-governor was spotted visiting the current Executive Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu. He went alongside Ugwumba Uche Nwosu, Barr Chief Steve Asimobi and other close associates. Even though media reporters stated that he went to solicit for better welfare of Ndi Imo in Lagos State, we believe it might not be unconnected with the 2023 presidential race.

Even though Bola Tinubu, the most influential politician in South Western Nigeria has remained mute on his intentions of running for the 2023 presidency, Sen. Okorocha has been vocal on his.

In an article by Guardian.ng, he hinted that he may be contesting for the country’s president by 2023. While addressing journalists ahead of his 58th birthday celebration, Okorocha explained that his ambition to become the president of Nigeria was borne out of the desire to render selfless service to the nation.

Quoting him; 'there is no more APC, what we have is the respect for President Mohammed Buhari, that is what is keeping us together. What we have is our respect for the person of President Mohammadu Buhari and we still believe that something can be done.

He also commented on the APC’s loss at the Edo State governorship election, describing it as masses’ revolution against injustice.

Is Sen. Rochas Okorocha Planning To Dump APC?

Even though Okorocha yet to announce his next moves, we suspect the ex-governor will be plotting his next move, which might involve dumping the ruling party.

Over the past few months, Sen. Okorocha and Governor Uzodinma have been at loggerheads with each other. Uzodinma while reacting to his predecessor statement that he (Uzodinma) wasn't working for the interest of the party, accused the later (Okorocha) of planning to destroy the APC in the state before defecting to another party.

The ex-governor was spotted on Monday, 11th January 2021 with Rivers State's Nyesom Ezenwo Wike. Even though he was there to commission the Rumuche-Rumuakunde-Ohna Awuse Road in Emohua Local Government Area, the APC chieftain my be plotting a cross-carpet, just like the Ebonyi State governor, Dave Nweze Umahi.

Will Rochas Okorocha be returning back to the PDP?

Considering Sen. Okorocha's political history, will he be returning back to the People's Democratic Party (PDP)? In 1999, he contested in the primaries to be the People's Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for governor of Imo State but lost to Achike Udenwa.

He moved to the All Nigeria People's Party (ANPP), where he unsuccessfully ran for the party's presidential nomination. 

Not giving up, Okorocha returned to the PDP and the then President Olusegun Obasanjo appointed him as Special Adviser on Inter-Party affairs.

In a bid to contest to be president in the 2007 general elections, Rochas Okorocha formed the Action Alliance (AA). Even though the presidential race was unsuccessful, his in-law was able to contest for the 2019 gubernatorial elections under the AA platform.

In September 2007, he returned back to the PDP, where he declared his interest in becoming the party's national chairman.

Ahead of the 2011 gubernatorial elections, Okorocha decamped from the PDP to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), to run as an APGA candidate for Imo State Governor. He won the race and was declared governor by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

On 2 March 2013, Rochas led an APGA faction to form the All Progressives Congress (APC). He was later elected by his colleague governors in the opposition as Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum.

Rochas won the 2015 gubernatorial elections under the APC platform and got elected for his second tenure.

During the 2019 National Assembly elections, Rochas Okorocha contested the senatorial ticket for the 9th Senate representing Imo west Orlu senatorial zone. After a long battle with the INEC, Rochas got sworn in on 13th June 2019 by the Senate President Ahmed Lawan.

What's up on the 2023 elections?

Considering how things have turned out and how much Rochas has complained about the ruling party, I doubt the possibility of him remaining in the party after 2023. He has times without number, complained that APC would collapse without the president.

While speaking with selected journalists in his Abuja home, Okorocha stated that it was the respect some APC stalwarts have for Buhari, that is keeping the ruling party together.

In another instance, he revealed that APC might lose its current grip of power in 2023 if nothing was urgently done to reposition its leadership.

Now the big question is; 
Will Sen. Rochas Okorocha contest in the 2023 presidential elections? If yes, will he sacrifice his APC membership to achieve the desire? Only time will tell!

Igbo Stanford

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