The internet has been awash with a report in the SUNDAY PUNCH alleging that Governor Rochas Okorocha got into an altercation with Governor Peter Obi’s aide over a seat. Contrary to the reports that the Imo State Governor punched the aide who attempted to challenge him, no physical contact was made.
Responding to the inquiry from SouthEastNigeria.com, the Imo State Commissioner for Information & Strategy, Chinedu Offor dismissed the report as an over-active imagination by the writer.
“…..I was at the event. Never happened. Governors’ seats are usually reserved for them by their advance teams of Protocol officers so this is someone’s over active imagination at work.
Very funny that at an important event for a revered son of Igbo land, a paid hatchet person masquerading as a journalist wants to reduce it as a squabble for seats. Please take a look at the event pictures.
All the brother governors of Imo, Anambra, Abia, and the deputy governors of Enugu and Ebonyi were seated side by side. Those wanting to divide Igbos by planting fictious imaginary stories will not succeed.
SouthEastNigeria.com also made contact with Governor Okorocha’s Chief of Protocol, Mr.Alfred Ononugbor. Reacting to the report, he said that there was no physical contact between Governor Okorocha and the aide. He further explained that upon their arrival, they met a vacant space on the sofa where the Enugu Deputy Governor was already seated. Collectively, the protocol team agreed that provision should be made for Governor Okorocha since the sofa was spacious enough to accomodate more than two people. The one voice who opposed this decision was Governor Peter Obi’s protocol officer (Ifeanyi Onukuba).
Upon Governor Okorocha’s arrival, he was ushered to his seat only for Obi’s protocol officer to challenge Okorocha’s entourage insisting that the space was reserved for Obi who was yet to arrive. A shouting match ensued from both camps.
Embarrassed by the scenario and unaware of what had transpired earlier, we learnt the Imo State governor opted for a chair on the second row till the Enugu Deputy Governor, Mr.Onyebuchi (Host) rose from his seat and invited Okorocha to join him on the sofa.
A member of Governor Peter Obi security team who spoke to SouthEastNigeria.com on conditions of anonymity admitted that the protocol officer was unruly. He however said that that the Imo State Governor was not being victimized and expressed regret that the journalist failed in making an adequate presentation of the scenario.
The truth of the matter is that the people at Enugu did not make adequate seating arrangement. Its not like it was directed at Rochas. It was only one long chair and the rest were plastic chairs. Even Ochendu (Abia state governor, T.A Orji) was sitting on a plastic chair…Even though one can say the boy over reacted but Rochas did not touch him. You know how some of our press behave, they can write anything just to sell their paper….take it from me that nothing like that happened.
Barr.Emeka, Chief of Protocol to the Enugu Deputy Governor declined to comment.
Culled from SouthEastNigeria.com