Rochas Okorocha, outgoing governor of Imo State [Photo credit: Vanguard].

Rochas Okorocha, lawmaker representing Imo West at the Senate, on Thursday visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Mr Okorocha, a former Imo governor, is one of the presidential hopefuls in the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC). On the day he officially declared interest in the race, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) filed charges, accusing him of fraud to the tune of N2.9billion.

Speaking with State House Correspondents, after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, Okorocha said he came to report the anti-graft agency which has been harassing him to the Nigerian leader.

He also said he used the opportunity to inform the president of his intention to succeed him in office.

“I also used this opportunity to intimate Mr President of what is going on between me and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the harassment and intimidation that I’m getting from the EFCC, literally on daily basis, and to inform him that I have court judgment and two court orders for different judgments at different forums, which stop the EFCC from harassing and intimidating me. EFCC has refused to obey the law,” he explained.

“And so I have to inform Mr President that EFCC should be made to obey the law that established it. And without the law, there wouldn’t be an EFCC. And the desperation with which they go about any affair that concerning me, should stop.

“And I reminded Mr President that recall that sometimes ago, the EFCC had claimed that they recovered the sum of N5.9 billion from my account, which the court found out to be untrue.

“In other words, they were biased and they prejudged me. On that basis, the court ruled and ordered that they should not further interrogate and harass me. This has also not been obeyed.

“The court ordered the EFCC to release my international passport, the EFCC has refused to obey. The court gives damages to me for some N500million for EFCC to pay. EFCC has not paid that. “Rather than doing that, on the day of my declaration, EFCC went on the press to announce that I’m being prosecuted for some criminal charges of N2.9billion and no more than N5.9billion.

“So, I said as the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and one that stands on the side of the law, he should bring this to the attention of the EFCC.

“And despite the efforts by the Office of the Attorney General to make the EFCC see reasons and obey court judgment, to release my travel documents, and stop the harassment, they have refused.

“So, I think that is some kind of desperation on the side of EFCC. And I don’t know who might be causing this, but it is appropriate that I do let them know of the injustice that is going on with me as regards the EFCC,” he added.

Buhari’s Response

When asked what he intends to achieve by reporting the EFCC to the president, he answered that he came to prevail on Mr Buhari, whose regime has the culture of disregarding unfavorable court orders, to prevail on the anti-graft agency to play by the rules.

Okorocha said while he is not afraid of being investigated, laid down rules by the law should be followed.

“One of the duties of a president is to protect the law of the land,” the APC Chieftain explained. “And when an issue comes to an issue of judgment the duty is incumbent on the government of the day to ensure that justice is done.

“I came to demand for justice that you should prevail and as the custodian, as the leader of our nation, he should be made to know that such is going on.

“I didn’t come here to say, I don’t want to be investigated by the EFCC. That’s not the issue, that there’s judgment on the ground. There’s judgment and there’s the order of the court that I’m asking Mr President, who appointed the EFCC to recall that there was the law that established the EFCC.

“And if that law is good to make somebody EFCC that law should be obeyed, too. So, I’m not asking Mr President, to speak on the matter.

The President said he would take up the matter, especially when he saw the judgment. He said we’ll 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,” he added.

Party politics and the need for level playing ground for all the parties that came together to formed the ruling party as the APC convention comes up on February 26, was also discussed.