By Adejumo Kabir
Uche Nwosu, the Chief of Staff to the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, has said being a son-in-law to the governor does not ‘disqualify’ him from succeeding his boss in office.
Mr Nwosu on Sunday also debunked allegations that his principal is controlling the state by putting his family members in key positions of authority.
The governor’s bid to ensure his son-in-law succeeds him has torn the party apart and also pitched him against the All Progressive Congress chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, who has refused to recognise Mr Nwosu. The conflict led to two parallel primaries being organised in the state, producing two governorship candidates, one of them, Mr Nwosu.
Mr Okorocha had earlier appealed to the National Working Committee of the APC led by Mr Oshiomhole, to submit the name of his son-in-law to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the winner of the APC governorship primaries in the state.
“The only hope left for Imo State now is for Uche Nwosu to emerge as a candidate. Otherwise, there will be total economic catastrophe when I leave as governor,” he said.
After the confusion over the authentic candidate of the (APC) in the state, INEC initially pasted the name of Mr Nwosu’s rival, Hope Uzodinma, as the right candidate for next year’s governorship election.
The name of Mr Uzodinma was pasted at the INEC office along Port Harcourt road in Owerri, with Akaolisa Cyprain Okechukwu, as his running mate.
But the electoral body later reversed itself when it omitted the name of Imo State governorship candidate in the provisional list it released last week for 2019 polls. This is in apparent deference to suits filed by both candidates asking the courts to disqualify the other. INEC says it awaits the court’s final verdict on the matter.
Speaking on Channels TV Sunday Politics, Mr. Nwosu said besides his own governorship aspiration and the governor’s quest for a senatorial seat in next year’s general election, “no other member of the Okorocha dynasty was running for political office.”
He noted that Mr. Okorocha never interfered in his work when he served in the government as commissioner for lands and chief of staff.
“The issue of Rochas Okorocha trying to control Imo state with his family does not arise. People should get down to Imo State. People should leave sentiments alone
“My name is Ugwumba Uche Nwosu. I am from Nkwerre local government. Rochas is from Ideato local government. By virtue of God’s grace, I was able to get married to the governor’s daughter. Does that stop me as a man from running for governor of Imo State?
“I was commissioner of lands and now chief of staff. Did Rochas Okorocha stop me from doing my work? The urban renewal you see in Imo State today is out of my initiative.
“Who else from Owelle Rochas Okorocha’s family is a candidate of the House of Assembly, House of Representative or the Senate?” Mr Nwosu posited.