A member of the House of Representatives, Hon Ralphael Nnanna Igbokwe Monday led some leaders, traditional rulers and stakeholders from Mbaise Nation to a solidarity visit at Government House, Owerri.
Igbokwe is of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
This newspaper had reported last week that five PDP members of the House of Representatives from Imo State are awaiting the outcome of the Supreme Court ruling on the leadership tussle in the PDP before switching to the APC camp.
However, Igbokwe, a two time federal lawmaker and a traditional ruler in one of the Mbaise communities, HRH Eze Chidume Okoro met Okorocha Monday.
This is the second time a group of stakeholders from Mbaise have visited Okorocha.
Last week, a group of academicians also visited the Governor.
Many have interpreted the second visit in a less than four days by Mbaise people to the governor as a ploy to decimate Owerri zone who are angling to produce the next governor of Imo State in 2019
In Owerri zone, a historical political mistrust exist between the Mbaise clan and Owerri bloc as evidenced in the 2015 governorship election. The Owerri bloc voted for Okorocha while the Mbaise clan voted for their son and the PDP Governorship candidate, Hon Emeka Ihedioha.
At the meeting today,The Governor, according to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemedo claimed that “Mbaise people voted massively for him in 2015 , “but something happened along the line which didn’t allow the correct votes of the people of the area to count again…”
The Statement reads in part:
His(Okorocha) words, “If there is one group of people that I am proud of, that are so enterprising and have made the name of this State great globally, it is the Mbaise people. In other words, Imo State can hardly be talked about without the mention of Mbaise. Mbaise people are source of pride to us and adequately play a key role to the development of the State”.
He continued, “In the last election, I almost lost the election because of the result they churned out from Mbaise. I equally know that Mbaise people voted for me but something happened along the line. Yet, Mbaise is the place I have built a University, factory, Schools, hospitals, roads, and having the highest number of beneficiaries of the free education programme”.
He said, “I took oath to serve the whole of Imo people. I am not sectional and for that oath, I have been faithful to it. I am not a sectional leader and will never be. Mbaise will get the best from this government. All the projects I have in Mbaise will be completed before I leave”.
He added, “Politically I will always work with the Mbaise people. Mbaise people should start resisting the idea of Abuja selecting Candidates for them for Political offices. Hon. Nnanna Igbokwe is a young man that has the support of his people. Some Politicians talk only about Party, while the wise ones talk about people in the Party, as you cannot have a Cathedral without a Bishop”.
He also remarked “There are three groups of Imo people. People who love one another and believe in the progress of the State; people who love themselves and believe in the progress of themselves and finally, the docile ones who sit on the fence and fall to any group that favours them. Nnanna Igbokwe belongs to the group who love one another and believes in the progress of the State”.
He further stated “Igbokwe, you are doing very well, you have remained consistent. We will support you and coming with Ndi eze shows your humility and unity of purpose. I want to thank you and request of you to join hands with those who think alike, be in that family. I will advise you to join people who share the same ideology with you”.
“In their separate speeches at the event, the two leaders of the delegation, Hon. Nnanna Igbokwe and HRM Eze Chidume Okoro told the governor that Mbaise people would remain grateful to him for doing for them what their own people could not do for them when they held sway, adding that the governor has demonstrated what true and people-oriented leadership is all about.
“According to them, aside the free education which Mbaise people are key beneficiaries, the siting of the University of Agriculture and Vetinary Medicine in Mbaise remains an exceptional favour Mbaise people would not forget in a hurry, adding that the Chinese Company, SKYRUN, which the governor also brought to Mbaise, the rural roads, hospitals, the Micro Finance Bank in Ezinihitte Mbaise and key appointments Mbaise people have continued to enjoy under his administration only portrayed him as a man with large heart.