…Ohanaeze’s endorsement of has no substance – Buhari
The United Progressive Party (UPP) and Igboezue – a socio-cultural Igbo group, have endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari as their candidate for the 2019 general election.
Speaking to State House correspondents after meeting behind closed-doors with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Friday, National Chairman of UPP, Chief Chekwas Okorie, said that the Igbo nation had put their eggs in one basket for too long and would not do it again in 2019.
According to Okorie, the Igbos had not benefited anything apart from the benevolence of President Buhari to bring some infrastructure in the South East, adding that he decided to support Buhari to ensure Igbo presidency in 2023.
Okorie, who is also the coordinator of Igboezue socio-cultural group, said, “It is not good that Igbo nation has put all their eggs in one basket for 16 years. In spite of this, Buhari has not stopped development in the region.
This is time to get them to earn Igbo presidency by voting for him in 2019.”
Reacting to the Enugu declaration of some South East leaders for the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the UPP boss said that the adoption of Atiku was not by the Ohaneze Ndigbo leadership.
According to him, “only four founding members of Ohaneze Ndigbo are alive today and we have never met to endorse Atiku. We are poised to change the narrative. Just as Zik and Igbo leaders led Igbo people into coalition in the First and Second Republics, that is what Igboezue is determined to do now.”
Meanwhile, President Buhari has said that the split within the Ohaneze Ndigbo over its reported endorsement of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, did not surprise him.
Speaking at a meeting with a select group of South-East leaders on Friday, at the State House, Abuja, President Buhari said that the moment the so-called resolution was announced, he got calls from well-meaning leaders from the region asking him to disregard it as it was without any substance.
According to him, “From that moment, I knew that the resolution would not stand, and alas, there it was.”
President Buhari said that his party, the All Progressives Congress, got it right from the very beginning that the major problems facing the country were mainly on security, corruption and the economy.
“We have done so much. Given the chance, we will do more. Given every chance, we will tell Nigerians where we were in 2015 and what we have achieved up to now.
“We will not get tired of speaking about the golden opportunity Nigeria lost during 16 years of the PDP. We earned money, which we didn’t use.
“The state of infrastructure we inherited was terrible – no roads, the railway was killed and power. They lacked conscience because anybody with conscience will not do what they did.
We will report them to Nigerians. Let anybody lead this country but not the PDP. They were so reckless with the resources of the country,” the President said.
“If you ruin the economy, send your children abroad to get education, won’t they come back?” he asked, adding: “I said it 30 years ago that this is the only country we have. We must stay here and salvage it together.”
The leaders of the delegation, Engineer Emeka Ekwuosa and the National Chairman of the United Progressive Party (UPP), Chief Chekwas Okorie, informed President Buhari that the Igbos and South-easterners generally understand the good things he is doing for Nigeria which they said, had unfortunately been misunderstood.
They promised to mobilise support for him in the South-East, saying that his re-election will be a national consensus.