President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday urged supporters of his party to vote for Hope Uzodinma, governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who is not the choice of Rochas Okorocha, Governor of Imo State and a foremost ally of his.
He also expressed concerns over the intra-party crisis in the state.
Okorocha had openly expressed his displeasure with the ongoing crisis in the state, stressing that he remained a major influence in the party’s politics and anything outside that is “iberiberism chapter one verse one”.
Okorocha was suspended by the APC National Working Committee (NWC) for anti-party activities, after he openly declared his support for Uche Nwosu, governorship candidate of the Action Alliance (AA), against Senator Hope Uzodinma, the APC governorship candidate. He has also secured a senatorial ticket on the APC platform, although he continues to campaign for Nwosu, his son-inlaw and erstwhile Chief of Staff.
However, speaking at an APC presidential rally in Owerri on Tuesday, Buhari urged the party supporters to “maintain their senses” in voting during the forthcoming elections.
“I want you to please maintain your balance, your senses. Don’t allow intra or inter-party to remove your senses of responsibility. Your vote is your vote. Choose whoever you like across party, ethnicity and across religion,” he said.
When it came to time for endorsements, Buhari said: “I’ll raise up the hand of the APC candidate,” as he raised up Uzodinma’s hand. Addressing Uzodinma, he continued: “I wish you (referring to Uzodinma) the best of luck; you and me.”
After some bit of drama, Okorocha offered his arm to Buhari for endorsement. There was a brief moment of pause after which Buhari lifted up Okorocha’s left hand and, addressing the people, he said: “Senator in APC.”
This was greeted to cheers from the crowd as Adams Oshiomhole, National Chairman of the APC, looked on.
Addressing Okorocha afterwards, he added: “We have to do something about this”, to which Okorocha responded: “I know. No problem.”