Owelle Rochas Anayo Okorocha is a Nigerian multi-billionaire businessman, education philanthropist and politician from Imo State, Nigeria who won the 6 May 2011 gubernatorial election in Imo State and was reelected for his second term on April 11, 2015. He is the founder of Rochas Foundation, a charity comprising a number of special schools that are spread all over Nigeria that gives scholarship to the less privileged children in the Nigerian society. In his first attempt, he ran on the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) platform and ran on the All Progressives Congress in his second shot. In both occasions, Rochas defeated his closest rival, incumbent governor Ikedi Ohakim and serving Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, by a close margin of votes and had to go for reruns.
Okorocha was a Commissioner on the Federal Character Commission and a Member of the National Constitutional Conference. When democracy was restored in 1999, Rochas Okorocha competed in the primaries to be People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for governor of Imo State, but lost to Achike Udenwa. He moved to the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP), and was an unsuccessful candidate for President on the ANPP platform in 2003. He returned to the PDP, and President Olusegun Obasanjo appointed him as Special Adviser on Inter-Party affairs.
Rochas Okorocha formed the Action Alliance (AA) party in 2005, planning to become a Presidential candidate for the AA in the 2007 elections. He again returned to the PDP, and in September 2007 indicated that he was interested in becoming PDP National Chairman. After Governor Ikedi Ohakim decamped from the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) to the PDP in July 2009, Okorocha denied that Ohakim had taken over the PDP in the state, saying he was named as leader since he was governor, but a proper PDP congress should be held to decide on policy
Okorocha decamped from the PDP to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), to run as APGA candidate for Imo State Governor in the April 2011 national elections. A few weeks later, in December 2010, the APGA suspended Okorocha from the party over what it described as anti-party activities pending an investigation of his conduct. It was reported that he had stormed the Imo State Secretariat of APGA with dozens of thugs, who beat up several top officers of the Party. Okorocha and his companions had also threatened the Imo State Chairman and Secretary of APGA. However, Okorocha went on to campaign as APGA candidate and won subsequently. Rochas in 2013 decamped to the All Progressive Congress.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared that the Imo State gubernatorial elections held on 26 April 2011 were inconclusive since the collation of results was marred by irregularities. The INEC ordered reruns in four local government areas and one ward, to be held on 6 May 2011. In the event, elections were not held in Oguta local government area due to a security threat. The final results had Okorocha of the APGA declared winner with 336,859 votes. He was followed by the incumbent governor Ikedi Ohakim of the PDP with 290,490 votes. Former Senator Ifeanyi Araraume of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) was third with 107,068 votes. President Goodluck Jonathancongratulated Okorocha on his election, saying the people of Imo State had spoken through the ballot box.
In preparatory for the 2015 elections, former deputy speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, threw in his hat for the governorship tussle. After being able to snatch away the PDP tickets from other contenders, he had to slug it out with the incumbent, Okorocha. The election eventually took place on April 11, 2015 after the first date was shifted by six weeks when the federal authorities cited security concerns. Just as Okorocha’s first election debacle, the second one was also declared inconclusive.
INEC declared the April 11 governorship polls in Imo inconclusive, a development that led to the cancellation of elections in more than 250 polling units in 23 of the 27 local government areas. The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr. Gabriel Ada, listed the state constituencies affected in the re-run to include; Ikeduru, Isiala Mbano, Isu, Oguta, Owerri West, and Oru East. He explained that the electoral commission ordered re-run for the governorship election because of the 79,000 differences between the votes scored by the leading and the second candidates.
Okorocha won the rerun election fixed for April 25, 2015.
On 26 August 2017, Rochas demolished the popular Ekeuku market along Douglas road as against the wishes of the Owerri people which lead to death of a ten-year-old boy. This consequently lead to series of protest by the traders of the market and the people of owerri against his anti people policies.
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