Former Edo State governor Oshiomhole, who distanced the APC from Okorocha’s alleged disrespect for the Roman Catholic community in the state, apologised to the Archbishop of the Owerri Catholic Archdiocese, Most Reverend Anthony Obinna for the governor’s “sin”.
But Okorocha, who has been at loggerheads with Oshiomhole over the Imo State APC primaries, in which his son-in-law Uche Nwosu lost the 2019 governorship ticket to Senator Hope Uzodinma, said in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, his party’s national chair’s apology to Obinna was “a deliberate blackmail”.
The statement read in part, “In responding to that deliberate blackmail, we won’t toe the part of Comrade Oshiomhole. We recognise the fact that he is the National Chairman of a ruling party, which President Muhammadu Buhari is the leader, and we would not, therefore, throw caution to the wind like he did, when he was abusing or attacking governors in his party as if he is the publicity secretary of any of the opposition parties.
“If he had asked questions, he would have discovered that members of the Catholic Church in the state constitute the bulk of Governor Okorocha’s supporters, especially at the grassroots. They voted for him overwhelmingly in 2011 and 2015 respectively. And he has never taken their support for granted. He has shown gratitude in several ways which cannot be catalogued in this response, including making them the majority in his cabinet.
“The man has put himself on trial and that is the reason since that woeful and awful outing, he has made more than nine claims to see how he could recover but all to no avail. He murdered sleep and would remain awake.”
The statement said Okorocha demonstrated maturity by avoiding abuse and name-calling when he spoke to the media after meeting with Buhari recently, urging Oshiomhole to emulate the governor.