Monday, May 9, 2011

Ohakim's acceptance of defeat is sign of maturity, says aide

The readiness of the incumbent governor of Imo State, Ikedi Ohakim, to accept defeat and his pledge not to challenge the victory of Rochas Okorocha in last Friday's governorship election is a commendable gesture from a patriot who wants the best for his state. The Imo State commissioner for information and strategy, Elvis Agukwe, has said.

According to Mr Agukwe, "It takes maturity for Ohakim to offer a hand of fellowship to the governor-elect."

Major roads and streets in Owerri, the Imo state capital, were shut down on Saturday by jubilant residents of the state following the declaration of Mr Okorocha as governor-elect for the state by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Mr Okorocha's victory followed the eventual conclusion of the governorship election in the state that went into supplementary polling.

Apparently, reactions to Mr Okorocha's victory reflected the expectations of the people as several bottles of champagne were freely popped by roadsides and commercial taxi drivers and tricycle operators offered free rides to jubilant commuters. Not to be left out of the celebration, popular restaurants, and even local food joints, dished out free food and drinks in the spirit of the moment.

‘The sanctity of agreements'

To win the election, Rochas Okorocha, who ran under the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), polled a total of 336,859 votes to defeat Ikedi Ohakim of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who garnered 290,496 votes and Ifeanyi Araraume of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) who bagged 107,068 votes.

In the first official reaction after Mr Ohakim congratulated Mr Okorocha and pledged not to pursue the matter in court, the state commissioner noted that the governor's gesture was a testimony to the fact that the election was beyond him as a person.

"I said it before, and I repeat it now, the election was beyond Ohakim as a person. It was about the future of Imo State and the sanctity of agreements. The people have spoken, we have accepted the verdict," he said.

He made it clear that in days to come the people of Imo would miss Mr Ohakim as, according to him, the country still yearned for his leadership.

"Nigeria has not heard the last of Ohakim. He may have finished with the task of being a governor, but I believe we still need his services in the future," he said.

Man of peace and destiny

Mr Agukwe said he disagreed with the notion that Imo people rejected Mr Ohakim, noting that the margin of victory, about 46,000 votes, did not confirm that assertion. He said what happened was that godfathers, whom he described as "political deities", conspired to scuttle the second term ambition of the governor because they were refused the key to the treasury of Imo State.

"These were people used to squandering the state's resources and they refused to come to terms with Ohakim's resolve to ensure that Imo people benefit from their sweat," he said.

The official however commended Imo people for remaining calm and peaceful throughout the period of election, noting that the fact that no blood was shed was due to the peaceful disposition of the governor.

"Ohakim as a man of peace and destiny demonstrated that he was not desperate to remain governor. That's why he restrained his supporters in the face of extreme provocation," he said.

He called on the people to extend the same cooperation to the incoming governor to ensure the sustenance of the "legacy of peace" left by Mr Ohakim.

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