23 governors to join APCEight pro-All Progressive Congress (APC) governors and political heavy weights yesterday converged on Owerri, the Imo State capital, for the fledgling party’s maiden sensitisation and awareness rally in the Southeast.
The Heroes’ Square venue of the rally, was jammed as early as 8am. Party chieftains, politicians, captains of industry, traders and artisans defied the scorching sun to listen to the message – change.
At the rally were Governors Babatunde Fashola (Lagos); Adams Oshiomhole (Edo); Rauf Aregbosola (Osun); Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti); Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun); Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo); Kashim Shetima (Borno) and Tanko al-Makura (Nasarawa).
Speaking at the packed rally, which coincided with the Imo Freedom Day celebration, host Governor Rochas Okorocha disclosed that 23 governors have joined the newly formed APC. According to him, the governors are waiting for the right time to publicly declare for the party. He said their decision to wait was for obvious reasons.
Okorocha, however, noted that his party – the All Progressives Grand Alliance, (APGA) – is neither joining any political party nor going into any alliance but in a merger with others to form a new party, APC.
He said it was a matter of time for the APC to take over every level of governance, adding that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has failed the people in the 13 years of return to democracy, stressing that Ndigbo are for APC.
The visiting governors, who were visibly impressed by the massive turnout at the rally, took turns to deride the PDP leadership style. They restated APC’s commitment to giving Nigeria a better leadership.
Fashola, who drew a resounding ovation from the cheerful crowd, described APC as a great train of change. He said: “We have set about a course that is irrevocably committed to giving power back to the people. We believe that Nigeria needs a change and APC will bring about that change.”
Taking the floor after Fashola, Ajimobi noted that the PDP had gone from bad to worse. He said the only option left to salvage the nation is the APC.
Shetima said the exceptional performance of the pro-APC governors are testimonies of how great the country would be if the party became the ruling party. He urged the people to support the party for the good of the land, adding that the party is out to redefine governance.
Amosun said they were pleased to see that the performance of their Imo State colleague was real.
Amosun said: “This is what we want and this is what the APC represents. The battle has just begun; APC must succeed for the benefit of Nigerians because there is no better platform.
Al-Makura described Okorocha’s performance as the beginning of what the people of the State will witness in terms of development, noting that it is worth celebrating. He urged the people to support the governor.
“You cannot salvage the country with people who are fake, people who are pseudo democrats,” he said.
Fayemi said: “A time like this calls for visionary leaders as seen in all the states where the APC is holding sway. No amount of intimidation will deter us from working together to salvage the country.
“No one is happy with what is going on; that is why we have embarked on this rescue mission; that is why we have embarked on the freedom journey.”
Aregbesola, who held the surging crowd spellbound with his songs and dance steps, described the APC as a bulldozer that will crush everything on its way, including the ruling PDP.
He called on the people to say ‘no’ to unemployment, poverty and hunger, which he said PDP has given Nigerians as a legacy.
Oshiomhole noted that when he led a protest of workers to Imo State as a labour leader, he met a state with filthy streets, dilapidated infrastructure, “but now, everything in Imo State has changed”.
The Edo governor described Imo as an example of what Nigeria will look like in every area of national life when the APC becomes the ruling party. He urged the people to continue to support the governor.