FORMER Imo State governor Senator Rochas Okorocha has boasted that he will succeed President Muhammadu Buhari after the 2023 presidential elections saying he is confident of emerging victorious this time around.
Between 2011 and 2019, Senator Okorocha governed Imo State and in May 2019, he got elected as the lawmaker representing Imo West Senatorial District. Three times in the past, senator Okorocha has ran for president and on each occasion, he lost out in the primaries, the latest instance being to President Buhari in 2014.
Speaking to a group of youths from the Forward with Anayo Rochas Okorocha campaign group in Abuja, yesterday, the former governor said this time around, however, victory is certain. He added that he aspired to become president of Nigeria a long ago, stressing that the first time he picked the presidential ticket was over 20 years back under the platform of All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP).
Senator Okorocha said: “I have contested for the office of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria three times. The first time, I ran when I was very young 20 years ago on the platform of the ANPP and later, l ran on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party where I came second and the last one was with the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2014.
“I have been in the business of running for this office and this time, it will be the fourth attempt. Every time I started, I got stopped at the primary level but this time around when I do run, I must win the race.”
Senator Okorocha is one of the founding fathers of the APC, leaving his then party the All Progressives Grand Alliance to join it. In the past Senator Okorocha has lost primaries to two candidates who went on to get elected president in the form of President Umaru Yar’Adua in 2007 and to President Buhari.
Although not constitutional, Nigeria’s component parts have a gentleman’s agreement that the presidency will rotate between the north and the south of the country. President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure will end in 2023 and being a Fulani northern Muslim, it is expected that the next president will come from southern Nigeria.
Each half of the country is made up of three geo-political zones, which in the south is made up of the southeast, south-south and southwest geo-political zones. However, since the return to democracy in 1999, the southwest has produced President Olusegun Obasanjo. while the south-south has produced President Goodluck Jonathan, so the next president should come from the southeast.
Senator Okorocha is one of the leading Igbo politicians from the southeast and certain to be one of the big gladiators in the ring when the primaries start. Other likely candidates will be Governor Dave Umahi, Governor Hope Uzodinma, Senator Chris Ngige and science and technology minister Dr Ogbonnaya Onu.