Can APC rule Imo for 24 years?

Governor Okorocha’s assertion that his party would rule his state for another 24 years draws commendation and criticism from across the divide. Is it a matter of hubris, horror or hope?
By Charles Kumolu
THE declaration by Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State that his party, the All Progressives Party, APC, would have an unbroken 24-year reign in his state may sound hysteric, but it offers another window for some level of introspection in the polity.
Famed for making sensational political pronouncements, Okorocha had while hosting party chieftains in Owerri about a fortnight ago, boasted that APC would not only remain strong in the state but would be in power in the state for the next 24 years.
His assertion was a reminder to the 2008 predicition of the erstwhile national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP,  Chief Vincent Ogbulafor that his party would have a 60 year grip on the
Federal Government.
“We assure you we will do our best, and like I always say, the challenge is ours, the time is now and the place is here. PDP will rule Nigeria, whether they like it or not, for not less than 60 years,” Ogbulafor had said.
Expectedly, the comment immediately attracted criticisms especially from the opposition parties of that era.
Not deterred by that, the phrase later became a maxim for party members even in the last presidential election campaign.
It is believed that the 60-year prediction which the party had seen as a possible feat was one of the illusions that further increased the hubris that eventually led to the fall of the PDP in its 16th  year of power at the federal level.
Divergent feelings
Now that the expression has found its way back to the polity, there are divergent feelings over what it holds, considering the distraction a similar assertion had created in the past.
Apart from APC supporters, analysts think the affirmation is coming rather too early from a governor, whose party’s direction of governance has been a subject of vague public interpretations.
In marshalling this argument, it was posited that the expression is capable of giving the APC a false sense of security and as well result in taking the electorate for granted.
However, the Publicity Secretary of the APC in Lagos State, Mr. Joe Igbokwe in a chat with Vanguard, downplayed whatever irritation Okorocha’s prediction may have caused.
According to him, the expression should not be seen in the light of the PDP scenario, adding that the party hinged its prognosis on performance.
“The message did not sound boastful. He said so with conviction that the party is going to achieve that with performance. It is not the way the PDP said it was going to rule for 60 years with nothing on ground to achieve that. The PDP boasted that it was going to rule without taking responsibility of leadership. The PDP’s statement was actually empty and signified nothing because they had no framework for leadership,” Igbokwe stated.
Further clarifying the significance of the phrase, he said: ‘’We are going to achieve ours with performance that will be matched with brutal efficiency.
Dividends of democracy
Delivering the dividends of democracy will be our ultimate guide towards achieving that. That statement may have been made as a way of encouraging himself to perform and also assuring the people that with performance the APC will be in charge for a long time.”
Nonetheless, he expressed confidence that the prediction may come to pass if matched with performance.
‘’When APC says such a thing, it does not imply that the party is interested in perpetuating itself in power; however, the party wants the county to know that it is concerned about service delivery. We are not like PDP that boasted and did nothing. It is certain that being in the saddle will easily be achievable through service delivery in accordance with the manifesto of our great part. So, the statement is tied to performance,” Igbokwe added.
On his part, the National Secretary of Inter-Party Advisory Council, IPAC, Dr. Sam Eke noted that the APC has nothing on ground to have warranted such prediction.
Hinging his assertion on the notion that the longevity of any party, will only be determined by how well it can make real it’s electoral promises, Eke noted that Okorocha should not be taken serious.
Eke, who was the presidential candidate of Citizens Popular Party, CPP, in the last presidential poll, observed that rather than making such unrealistic assertions, APC leaders should be disturbed by the fact that Nigerians are yet to experience the promised wind of change.
‘’Okorocha should not be taken serious. Ogbulafor said so and the PDP failed. However, the statement buttress the fact the APC was only united in sending the PDP out of power,’’ he said.
Accordingly, Eke added thus: ‘’Providing the dividends of democracy don’t matter to them as is being seen in their inability to set the pace for the change they promised. Awolowo once said that once the political marriage between the North and West becomes solidified, such marriages will enjoy longevity.
Boastful statement
That, we are yet to see, so why boasting that the party will rule for long.
“I find such boastful statement laughable because the APC has shown from what is happening in the National Assembly that it lacks the fundamental cohesive attributes of a political party. In Imo Okorocha does not even have influence over the state’s caucus to the NASS, so how did he come about such boastful prediction.”
He however sounded cautious to the effect that: “The party should forget about empty prediction and concentrate on providing the functions of government, because such predictions are not often made in the interest of the common man.”
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