Former Governor of Imo State, Chief Ikedi Ohakim has debunked allegations making the rounds that he has backed out of seeking election to govern the state following his visit to a fellow aspirant, Senator Ifeanyi Araraume last weekend.
Ohakim made the disclosure in a statement issued by his spokesman, Collins Ughalla in Owerri, the Imo state capital.
Ohakim had on Friday, paid an unscheduled visit to the Senator at his Isiebu country home where they wined and dined, after which the pictures went viral.
According to him, he believes deeply in the unity, peace, security, stability and progress of Imo State and its people, saying they are bigger than anyone’s political ambition.
He stated that “He believes in the comradeship among those aspiring to be governor of the state, and that politics should be played without bitterness. Moreover, Dr Ohakim believes in the brotherliness of brothers and that the love and bond between brothers should be very strong that no kind of politics will be a wedge between them, no matter what”.
The former Governor admonished that when politicians preach political tolerance, they must first imbibe same and demonstrate it to their followers, so that they too will imbibe same qualities.
The former Governor said while he will continue to relish the warm reception he received from Senator Ifeanyi Araraume and the good time they had, eating together, hugged each other, shook hands, cracked jokes and laughed together, he will also be glad to host Senator Araraume or anyone else in his house, adding that he will yet visit more governorship aspirants in the state.
Ohakim stated that his interest in the Imo plum job is intact, saying nothing like that was discussed at the meeting.
He maintained that he remains in the 2019 governorship bid, adding that events in the last seven years have shown that he is the best man for the job.
Ohakim called on the other aspirants to tow the same line in the overriding interest of the state, saying “All political aspirants should visit each other, eat and drink together, shake hands, hug each other, crack jokes and laugh together, as the best way to inculcate the virtue of political tolerance among the people, rather than do-or-die politics. Doing so will also show the level of political maturity and selflessness among the aspirants and their supporters”, he said.
Ohakim and Araraume who both hail from Isiala Mbano local government area of Imo State were buddies before politics created cracks in their friendship in 2011. Both are seeking to succeed Governor Rochas Okorocha who stopped Ohakim’s second term bid in 2011.