· Guarantees Tinubu’s success
By Ignatius Chukwu
On the day Rivers State was created, Chief Tony Okocha, who has announced his takeover as leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the oil state, stormed Abuja on prayer rally for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his incoming deputy, Sen Kashim Shettima.
This is as Chief Okocha has guaranteed that Tinubu’s administration would be a success.
The prayer rally was held at the Eagle Square in Abuja where most opponents of Tinubu chose to feat upon and stage protests.
The group chose the Rivers was created as a state to perform the religious function to show that the new Rivers State is now aligned with the centre, and may also be to show the incoming administration that Rivers people together with the state government led by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are solidly behind the incoming administration led by Tinubu.
The APC group under the leadership of Tony Ochocha, the national director of the Tinubu/Shettima Grassroots Independent Campaign Council (TSGICC) conducted the prayer session at Unity Fountain Abuja on Saturday.
In his remarks, Chief Ochocha, a chief from Rumuigbo in Port Harcourt and one-time special assistant to Wike as Obio/Akpor LGA boss said the prayers coincided with Rivers State day celebration and they felt one of the ways to solidarise with their principal (Tinubu) was to pray for him as he becomes president in a couple of days.
He said since 2015, Rivers has been in opposition at the National level but in next administration, the state is connected to the centre which would bring about more development and dividends of democracy to the people.
The former chief of staff to the then Governor Rotimi Amaechi commended Nyesom Wike, the outgoing governor of Rivers for his crucial role in the victory of Tinubu in the oil rich State and reconnecting it to the centre.
Okocha announced himself as new APC leader in the state instead of his former master, Amaechi. He had justified his claim to APC leadership by saying he leads the faction that worked for Tinubu and also got court backing to remove the pro-Amaechi executive committee, saying the former governor/former transportation minister can no longer be leader when he does not hold any office and did not align with the Tinubu group.
Speaking on the leadership credentials of the president-elect, Okocha said: “For performance, take that to the bank, he has got the experience, he is not new in the business.
“One thing that made me support Tinubu was the fact that he said he wants to be president, not that people have asked him to come and become president. When you make up your mind that you want to do a thing, you have prepared yourself against the rains and the sun.
“We pray for the wisdom and the strength to carry on for him, we need to be visionary, we want him to be focused, we need all the wisdom and courage and the boldness to take decisions no matter how difficult it is.
“Now that Rivers State is in the bag, we should be making demands, in politics, when you are on the table, you tell the people this is what I brought to the table so this is what I demand.
“There is a difference between making demands and making request, so you demand for your rights while others who didn’t succeed will be requesting for help, so as for us, this is our own time and knowing the relationship between the President-elect and the Governor of Rivers state who was the spin doctor before without Wike it would have been a bit difficult to win Rivers State.
“Since 2015, Rivers State has been at the opposition at the National level. In 2015, we scored less than 10 per cent for Muhammadu Buhari, in 2019, it was worst, but in 2023 APC Rivers did not only score 25 per cent, we won overwhelmingly.
“I want on your behalf send our gratitude to one lion of the South South, the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike who introduced us to national politics.”
On his part, Christian Ahiakwo, the presiding cleric at the prayer session, said the event was to seek God’s face for the successful administration of the president-elect as all power comes from the almighty.
“Nigeria is transiting to a new season and God bless the APC that we are having a rebirth of Presidency, it is a thing of success and joy and it is worth celebrating.
“For the success of the inauguration, we have programmed a prayer session for all the states ahead of the inauguration,” he said.