President Muhammadu Buhari has declared support for the Imo All Progressives Congress (APC), governorship candidate, Hope Uzodinma.
The APC, National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole made this known at a rally to flag-off Uzodimma’s campaign in Owerri on Friday.
The state governor, Rochas Okorocha, who is also a member of the APC boycotted the rally.
Mr Okorocha has been having a running battle with Mr Oshiomhole over the refusal of the party to recognize the governor’s son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, as its governorship candidate in the state.
The party also dissolved the state working committee loyal to the governor.
Mr Nwosu has since defected to another the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) where he hopes to actualize his ambition.
The governor however remains the senatorial candidate of the APC for Imo West Senatorial District.
At the rally, Mr Oshiomhole urged Imo people to disregard people from unknown parties, who were juxtaposing Mr Buhari’s picture with theirs, saying Mr Uzodinma was the only candidate endorsed by Buhari.
“Those who are putting Buhari with their faces because they are unknown are fake. Buhari has APC as his party.
“Buhari has adopted Uzodinma as his governorship candidate.
“We brought you a message of hope not a message of lamentation and family business.
“We have come to deliver the message of hope that although things have gone wrong in the recent past, we have come to say how we will return the governance of the state to the people.
“The government that is coming will bring development for every son and daughter of Imo. Today is not a concert but a day to pass the message of hope.
“You have a reason for demanding change,” he said.
Mr Oshiomhole assured civil servants in the state that they would not be neglected in Mr Uzodinma’s government.
He noted that civil servants in the state were being treated with levity in spite of their relevance to the development of the state.
He added that other people including traditional rulers and pensioners would be given their right of place and treated with dignity.
“You want a governorship candidate whose purpose is to bring development to all Imo people including civil servants who no longer know what a pay day is like.
“I want to assure workers that have been lamenting and families whose breadwinners cannot fend for them that the days are over.
“Never again will your governor look at you and say your salary depends on when you work not when it is due.
“You will now have a person that will lead by example and do not be deceived. Anybody who believes in APC must support Uzodinma.
“Pensioners too will smile. Traditional rulers will have dominion over their areas without intimidation.
“We will make sure the bailout money is returned.
“The days are gone when a governor will look at the people and say there is money for other things but not for paying salaries.
“In Uzodinma’s government, appointments will be based on merit and not family connection. We will not domesticate happiness in the hands of a few people because all Imo people will be happy,” he said.
The national chairman stressed that “roads and other contracts will not be awarded to in-laws but to genuine men and women of Imo State”.
“Democracy is about the people and as such we will run an inclusive government, the government of the people, by the people and for the people.
“Never again shall we govern on the basis of family connection. Knowing somebody or not, or marrying from a family or not will no longer matter. Your money will be used to develop Imo,” Mr Oshiomhole said.
He said Nigeria needed to produce leaders that would be accepted by the people.
He expressed disappointment over the state government’s refusal to release the stadium booked for the rally.
According to him, it is absurd for a governor who is in the same party with the governorship candidate to deny access to the stadium.
He stressed that it was worrisome that a place built with tax payers’ money was put under lock and key.