Rochas Okorocha, the Governor of Imo State, spoke exclusively with SaharaTV Executive Producer Omoyele Sowore. Governor Okorocha spoke about unrest across Nigeria resulting from the former President Goodluck Jonathan completely emptying the national treasury. He also addressed political factions in the National Assembly (NASS), Radio Biafra, the presidential and gubernatorial elections in the South East.
When asked about the economic condition of Nigeria, and whether Governors across the country are responsible, Governor Okorocha blamed former President Jonathan for leaving a “virtually empty” treasury for Buhari’s administration. Okorocha also pointed out that the past government managed Federal funds poorly.
Governor Okorocha said “if Buhari used the word ‘near empty treasury,’ I think he is being kind with the word. I think what we have is a complete lack [of money in the country].
Okorocha also addressed speculation that Governors of Nigeria embezzled a lot of the funds that were left from the past administration.
“I’m sure that you are not aware that Federal government takes 54 percent of (the budget) and State government takes 24 percent of that money. How much comes to State government.”
Sowore asked the Governor why he’s been seen travelling around with his private jet even though there were rumors that he sold it.
Okorocha responded by saying “that should not affect my private life. I hate poverty, I hate injustice. So seeing me in a private jet shouldn’t be a big deal.”
Sowore also asked the Governor to address the poor performance of the APC in the South East region during the Presidential elections. Governor Okorocha said that the power brokers in the South-East and South-South used coercion from the military and police to rig the elections in their favor.
“What we saw in the South East was not an election, it was impunity. People say APC is not in the South East, and that is not true. APC is strong in the South East. APC is strong.
“We were literally at war with the military and the police and they were able to stop them from writing results. They could not [rig] the 7.3 million. If they had [rigged] the 7.3 million in the election, Buhari will not have been President.”
The Governor briefly addressed the recent emergence of Radio Biafra, a media based organization aimed at secession of Biafra from Nigeria. He dismissed their actual presence calling it “a mirage, the more you look, the less you see.”
Governor Okorocha was also critical of President Buhari’s ability to mediate the civil war between APC politicians in the NASS. On Thursday, the House of Representatives erupted into a chaotic brawl when Speaker Yakubu Dogara of the APC announced his nominations for key positions in the House.
“If you watch President Buhari, he is not really bringing himself or imposing anything. His neutrality is the cause of what you see today. The President has said that the National Assembly should take whoever they want as leaders, and at a particular point the Party felt that in the principles of zoning and equity should now begin here [at the National Assembly] so that everyone feels part of the nation,” Okorocha said.
In light of the recent drama of the National Assembly, Okorocha asserted that despite the recent disagreements within his Party, the APC is still strong. He likened the events of figures like Bukola Saraki emerging to prominence within the Senate to the usual freedom lawmakers in the National Assembly enjoy, citing former Speaker Tambuwal’s defection to APC in the middle of the National Assembly session.
“My Party is not in disarray at all, what you are witnessing is real democracy. It’s devoid of position, so when people allow some level of free will to exercise their freedom than most people misunderstand it to be quarrels, I don’t think our Party is in disarray.”