By Yemi Adedeji, Abuja
Rochas Okorocha, Governor of Imo State has reacted to comment by Bola Tinubu, National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), that there wont be automatic ticket for President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019, saying that the former governor of Lagos State was crying more than the bereaved.
Okorocha who is the Chairman of APC Governors’ Forum said Tinubu’s comment was against the position of the governors.
He spoke at the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, Ondo State after receiving a honorary doctorate degree .
Okorocha had earlier said all the governors would support the party’s sole candidacy of President Buhari in 2019 but Tinubu disagreed insisting that the party’s presidential candidate must emerge through a primary.
“The statement came to me as a surprise, come to think of it, I never referred to him (Tinubu). I refer to the governors of Nigeria including the PDP governors and I said only one or two of them have not joined yet.
“Since I made the statement, no governor has said something contrary to what I said. I am surprised that Asiwaju will now be speaking for the governors. He looks like somebody crying more than the bereaved. I did not see reason for the statement actually. But he commands my respect and I don’t want to join issue with the National Leader of my party.
“What I mentioned was for the governors and secondly what I said is support. The word I use is support that does not mean there will not be primary. Governors can only contribute only 37 votes, we still have over 5,000 votes up there. What I was talking about was governors. I was not talking about other party members. Governors alone do not determine the flag bearer of a party.
“If you recall, I said but for Buhari, I would have run for presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. But I found in him a man credible and he still has four years term to do. I will allow him to complete and I will go back to my political trenches because I would still run for presidency anyhow. I consider myself young enough to wait until 2023 and I don’t hide my stand on any issue. But for now, my support goes to President Muhammadu Buhari,” he said.
Speaking on the just concluded national convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Okorocha maintainedthat the ruling party was not jittery about the successful outcome of the convention, stressing that President Buhari would defeat any candidate presented by any opposition in 2019 election.
He equally stated that the exit of the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar is not good for the party.
He stated: “There is nothing to be jittery about the outcome of the PDP’s convention. We are very confident that our presidential candidate to be; President Muhammadu Buhari is up to the task. He has impeccable track record that it would take an unusual presidential candidate of a rival political party to match him.
“This is the strength of our party coupled with the fact that APC governors are performing, we are sure we will deliver in 2019. I have taken a holistic view of our party, it (Atiku’s exit) is not the best because no matter how anybody thinks, Atiku carries some political weight. His leaving our party is not the best,” Okorocha added.
He emphasised that since Atiku had decided to move on politically by going to another political party, the APC would make amend and his (Atiku) place will be filled up accordingly.