Jolted by the hounding of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), a former Imo Governor and serving Senator, Rochas Okorocha, on Thursday stormed Presidential Villa, Abuja, to seek President Muhammadu Buhari’s intervention to stave off his prosecution by the anti-graft agency.
Specifically, Okorocha asked Buhari to prevail on EFCC to halt what he called further harassment of his person by its officials.
Persecondnews reports that Okorocha cried out loud in an interview with State House correspondents after meeting with the President shortly before he departed Abuja for Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, for the 35th Ordinary Session of Assembly of the African Union Heads of State and Government.
Okorocha, who represents Imo West, pointed out that a subsisting court order had restrained the EFCC from prosecuting him and yet the agency has continued to “harass’’ him.
“I have to visit the Villa to seek the President’s help to caution the authorities against crossing the lines,’’ he said.
Persecondnews also recalls that shortly after Okorocha publicly declared his intention to contest the position of President in 2023 in Abuja on Wednesday, the EFCC filed a 17-count fraud charge against him at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Okorocha was alleged to have embezzled N2.4 billion public funds by conspiring with some individuals and companies.
He said part of his demands to Buhari was the immediate release of his international passport still being held by the EFCC.
“It is the responsibility of Buhari as President of Nigeria to ensure that justice is served on all citizens including this matter.
“The President said he would take up the matter especially when he saw the judgment. He said he will take up the matter and find out what is actually happening. And I hope he will do so. And I believe he will do that,’’ Okorocha told newsmen.
On the people he suspected to be behind his ordeal particularly Gov. Hope Uzodinma, he said: “I suspect so. Because why I say it is politically motivated means that some people are instigating the EFCC to do this which is wrong. All I’m asking from the EFCC is to please obey the law.
“And you cannot refuse to obey the law on one side, and then go for the law on the other side. So, if EFCC obeys the law, it will be the best thing they can do for the image of the EFCC and the image of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“But as to who particularly, the person must be such a coward who doesn’t want to expose himself. And there are people like that who wouldn’t want to expose themselves but stay under doing all kinds of things. I call them cowards because they stand up to what they believe in. My suspicion at this point is immaterial. What is more important is that the EFCC should obey a simple court judgment and court order, as the case may be.’’
On possible consultations with the governor over his presidential ambition, Okorocha said: “It is not for the governor to decide who becomes President, we are talking about the people. Even the governor himself will depend on the people to do so. My first consultation after seeing Mr. President now is to go to Nigerians and ask them if they want me to be their President.
“And it will be my next line of action. And of course, I will visit the six geopolitical zones, and inquire from them if they think I’m fit and proper to be their President and if they consider that it will go a long way. But what is important at this moment, why I came out, to even dream of becoming or running for the office of the President is because of the mood of the nation.
“I may not be the appropriate President 20 years ago, when I first ran, maybe I’m not being appropriate President 20 years to come, but the mood of the nation, cause that somebody that possesses my qualities, and credentials should be made to lead this country, not for self-aggrandizement.
“Because this is a mistake most people make. They think that when you want to run for President, there’s something in there for you. I don’t know what others ambition is, what is driving me is my vision and passion to make great this nation is my vision and passion to make sure we strengthen the unity of this country.
“It is my passion and vision to create wealth for this country with my business experience. That there might be enough resources to engage the use of this land, that issue of insurgency will be a thing of the past. These are some of the areas this is my passion. But one part of me the carnal part of me says ‘Listen must you become president?’ but that passion and vision is what is driving me into this aspiration of wanting to be President of Nigeria.’’
On the proscription of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Okorocha criticized the Federal Government for the action, sayimg the decision to prescribe it as a terrorist organization was needless.
“The matter could have been properly handled by the authorities. It was a needless action to have even started. It is something that you can handle and not allowed to escalate.’’