By Uche Mbah
Hope Uzodinma, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Imo state, did what his supporters regarded as a triumphant entry to Owerri, Capital of Imo state. This is the first time he is coming back home after the controversies surrounding his emergence as the APC flag bearer in the state, a situation that has since pitched the Imo state Governor, Rochas Okorocha, with the APC chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.
Uzodinma arrived in the company of Imo Deputy Governor, His Excellency, Prince Eze Madumere, Distinguished Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu, Hilary Ekeh and many teeming supporters. Okorocha’s son in law, Uche Nwosu, was also said to have touched down at the Sam Mbakwe Airport, but his arrival was rather unsung due to the focus on the APC flag bearer .Uche has up until now failed to accept the outcome of the INEC result that produced Hope Uzodinma.
With this arrival, Hope appears to be set for electioneering campaign. Initially, with the list of flag bearers in the state omitted the names of the governorship candidates in Imo State, speculations were rife that the election may have been cancelled. But in the supplementary list, Hope Uzodinma’s name was upheld as the authentic governorship candidate.
With this, he is billed to contest with the candidate for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP , Emeka Ihediaoha.
On arrival, Uzodinma fielded questions from journalists.
On the issue of the protest by Governor Okorocha, Uzodinma noted that nine people contested for a position that only one person became victorious, it is not out of place for losers to feel aggrieved.
On his arrest, he denied ever being arrested.” I also read it in papers like every other Nigerian”, he said
According to him, Niger Global, the company that was accused of the complicity in the contract scam, had only two per cent share in the contract.
“Before I came to the senate, I came from the private sector. I was in oil and gas and marine operations. I operated Niger Global. In 2004 we participated in an international deal and Nigeria Ports Authority was looking for partners to manage the channels and we were lucky.We were one of the companies that formed the consortium to manage Calabar Channels.Calabar Channels Management Company is a joint venture being operated by the NPA. They have the major shareholders.They have 60 per cent shareholding and then the consortium of like six other companies had different shares.Niger Global had five per cent share and there is a five member board, where NPA has three and the consortium of companies two. Before I came to Senate, I was in the board and the technical partners to the consortium dredged the Calabar Channel under the supervision of the Calabar Management Board,” he said.
He dismissed the whole issue as witch hunt, wondering why it is just surfacing now.
“All I know is that some aggrieved persons are behind this, otherwise where was this panel since 2004. I was in the 7th Senate from 2011 to 2015, why did this issue not come out. I have been here in the 8th senate from 2015 to date why didn’t the issue come up.To the best of my knowledge, the company worked, even though I am not in the management anymore but I am still one of the minority shareholders of that company.If there is any question that must be answered by the company, the majority shareholder should first answer their own query.If anything, I am a serving senator and a ranking one at that and the Chairman of the Southern Senators Forum.”