Newly sworn-in Senator, Rochas Okorocha, has cautioned Nigerians from the South East against the misconception of the term ‘Igbo presidency.’
Mr Okorocha, while addressing journalists after being sworn in as Senator on Thursday, said such an agenda could not have existed as it was impossible to hand over power to a region without due process.
The former Imo state governor said he is more concerned about having a president that will better the lot of Nigerians, irrespective of ethnic affiliation.
“Power is not given, power is taken, the South East cannot just fold their arms and expect power to be given to them just because you want power. Power does not go with sentiment some of the times, it’s on issues on ground.
“Democracy is about the people and the South East alone cannot make themselves president. So you cannot be talking about Igbo presidency, it doesn’t exist. We may be talking about Nigeria’s president of Igbo extraction but that depends on what other geopolitical zones think about the issue.
“For me, what is important is let power be given to somebody who has something upstairs who can put food on the table of common man, irrespective of religion or where you come from.”
He noted that the South East needs to mend fences across the country in other to remain relevant politically.
“There is need for the Igbos to mend fences. We are neither here nor there now politically. We are not in the ruling party, neither are we making impact in the opposition. So, there is need for us to get married to the rest of the nation politically.”
Mr Okorocha, the immediate past governor of Imo State, was sworn in on Thursday after recently being issued a certificate of return by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
INEC had earlier withdrawn the certificate on the argument that it was issued under duress. But, following a court order, the commission had to issue the certificate to Mr Okorocha on Tuesday, hours after the official inauguration of the 9th Senate.
The new legislator said he is focused on achieving three things at the Senate.
“I am here to do things dear to my heart. One of them is: the bridge connecting the south east to other ethnic groups seems to be very faulty, resulting from the politics we have played in the south east. It will be my pleasure to reconnect this bridge so that the south east people will move along at the same pace with other geopolitical zones.
“My second mission (at) the National Assembly is to see the possibility of making free education a reality so that the children of the poor can go to school. If I achieve these, I will be glad that I did, as member of the senate.
“The third one is, I am concerned about the killings and destruction of lives in the northern part of this country. Whatever we can do on the floor of the Senate, we will to have the executive curb this insurgence. I will be here and happy to work with my colleagues.”
Mr Okorocha thanked INEC and the judiciary for ‘doing the right thing’ in returning him to the Senate. He expressed surprise at INEC’s decision to appeal the court ruling that ordered issuance of the certificate to him.
“It will be very surprising to see that INEC will appeal this matter because there is no basis for it. Duress means using mild or excessive force to compel someone to do something he or she does not want to do.
“How would you have done that in a returning hall where you have police, SSS and party agents? And in my own person walking with gun or machete asking them to write result on my behalf. That didn’t happen. I think there is more to duress than duress itself,” he said.