Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State has advised residents and citizens of the state to collect their Permanent Voter Registration Cards (PVC) to ensure political relevance in the forthcoming general elections.

Mr Okorocha, who gave the advice in Owerri, the state capital on Thursday during a news briefing, decried the poor response of Imo residents to the call for PVC collection.

He said Imo had the least number of registered voters and number of PVCs collected when compared to other states of the federation.

He said failure to collect PVCs would result in low number of votes that would be generated from the state, which he said, might deny the people key positions at the federal level.

To drive home his point, the governor declared August 15 and August 16 work-free, to enable eligible voters in the state to register and also collect their PVCs.

Mr Okorocha further directed that markets be closed on those days to ensure full compliance and good results.

He maintained that there was no longer coalition in Imo All Progressives Congress (APC), adding “coalition has ended and APC is moving forward in Imo.”

He added that a peace and reconciliation committee had been set up to re-unite the party in the state, noting that all but six members of the coalition would not be re-admitted into the party.

On the recent spate of defections from APC, he said the defectors left to further their political interest and not because of loss of faith in the party.

According to him, the party remains a sound and united party and believes that President Muhammadu Buhari remains the right candidate for now.

“The defections took place two years ago but it is just materialising now. We knew some of our members would leave and those who left are those who should have left.

“They left mostly because of their political interests not because they feel that the APC is not the best.

“As such, I don’t see it as a spite but a means for them to achieve what they might be unable to achieve here.”

Reacting to the impeachment of the former Deputy Governor, Eze Madumere, Mr Okorocha said that the action followed constitutional guidelines.

He said the new deputy governor, Callistus Ekenze, would assume office as soon as the court injunction restraining him was vacated.

Mr Okorocha said plans were under way to invite Buhari to commission a lot of projects in the state including the Airforce Hospital, Community Development Council building, the Imo traditional rulers building, Okigwe International Stadium and three fly overs.

He reiterated his determination to support his Chief of Staff, Uche Nwosu, to contest in the Imo gubernatorial race, saying he is a Nigerian and qualified for the position.

He said that he had also harmonised the salary structure of civil servants in the state apart, thereby improving the salary of the workers.

“Salary of workers has been regular. I have cautioned the accountants. July salary will be delayed but workers will receive both July and August salaries at the same time.”

According to the governor, APC primaries will be conducted soon through direct voting as demanded by the party national.

He expressed dismay that his free education policy was being taken for granted.

The governor said that students who engaged in cultism and other vices or who very low grade points would have his or her scholarship withdrawn.

Mr Okorocha noted that his administration had engaged in the building of more polytechnics in the state to accommodate more candidates seeking admission into the higher institutions.

(NAN)