Okorocha explains Kano visit, denies 2019 presidential ambition

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Governor Rochas Okorocha
Governor Rochas Okorocha

Last Saturday the Imo State Governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha, led a legion of political and business team, to Kano state for the first graduation ceremony of his college, Rochas Foundation College located at Airport Road, Kano.

Okorocha told his audience comprising of the governor of Kano State, Dr. Umar Gadunje, his Sokoto counterpart, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, former Nigeria Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule, former governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Saminu Turaki, the Deputy governors of Gombe and Kano states, the Speaker of the Kano State House of Assembly, Kabiru Alhassan Rurum, some Emirs in the North including the Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido represented by Emir of Lafia, Alhaji Mustapha Agwai among others, that he was purely in Kano for the academic event.

He said he could not attend the last graduation of the institution he established about 11 years ago because of time constraint.

Okorocha recalled how he started the Kano College, stating that he had driven into a fuel station 11 years ago, to refill his car, when he saw some little children begging for alms. According to him, he reminded himself that the little children with poor background could be great if given the needed is given. He said that he asked them questions which were answered in affirmative, indicating that they were ready to drop the alms begging for school, if given opportunity.

Okorocha said he was impressed, and was compelled to have their contacts and at the same time arrange for acquisition of developed land from a man he met in the state. The governor said the decision paid off when the school was later renovated to suit the students from the poor background.

The governor also disclosed to his audience that the institution was extended to five places in the country, including Ogboko in Ideato South Local Council of Imo State (his ancestral home), Ibadan, Jos and Owerri.
He said his target is to have about 100 colleges across Africa and beyond. He further disclosed that an expanse of land given to him in Zaria by the Kaduna State Government is being currently developed for the purpose.
“About 13,000 students are in those colleges and some of those who passed through the colleges are doctors, engineers and others.”

The governor had addressed the Kano State House of Assembly members numbering about 40, led by the Speaker, Rurum, on Friday preceding the event, urging them to legislate on the institution by giving it a state recognition. He also paid a courtesy visit to the Kano State governor, Ganduje, shortly before the ceremony.
In appreciation, Ganduje who described Okorocha as a future leader donated a Coaster Bus to the College. Tambuwal in his speech promised to assist the college, while the chairman of the event, Alhaji Maitama Sule equated Okorocha’s philanthropic gesture with that of late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Sir Ahmadu Bello and others.
Since then, some people have alleged that the event was about Okorocha’s 2019 presidential ambition.

But in a statement issued by Okorocha’s Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Mr. Sam Onwuemeodo, the governor recalled that the event was not hidden, wondering why some people used the media to paint it differently by linking it to politics.

The statement read: “It has come to the knowledge of the Imo state government that some people who are obviously cowed by Governor Rochas Okorocha’s progress and achievements both in politics and outside politics, are at the moment making effort to blackmail him using the graduation ceremony of the Rochas Foundation College, Kano, which held last weekend as their tool by giving distorted interpretations of that academic event as the governor’s campaign for the 2019 presidency. And they have sold that unfounded dummy to some media outfits.

“It is also worth stating that apart from the governor of Kano State Alhaji Umar Ganduje, and an elder statesman Alhaji Maitama Sule who were physically present at the ceremony, the governors of Sokoto and Niger states, former Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Saminu Turaki and the Deputy Governors of Gombe and Kano states were all in attendance.

Some prominent Emirs in the North including the Emir of Kano who was represented and Emir of Lafia, Alhaji Mustapha Agwai also attended, and they had spoken well of the Imo Governor, which could also be the reason behind the mischief of these people in question.

For instance, Alhaji Maitama Sule had described Okorocha as a direct successor of Nnamdi Azikiwe because like the late Azikiwe, governor Okorocha’s actions have helped to promote the country’s unity, and that the country’s founding fathers like Sarduana of Sokoto, Tafawa Balewa, Obafemi Awolowo and Nnamdi Azikiwe laid the foundation for Nigeria’s unity and today, Okorocha is the symbol of that unity because his actions are uniting Nigeria and he has been using one of the most effective tools of uniting a people, which is education. (The Guardian)

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