…Seeks Buhari’s support for S’East Presidency in 2023
…No, it’s empty promise to deceive Ndigbo – PDP
In what can be referred to as unusual revelation, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, has said that presidential office of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is by negotiation, saying that the 2019 general election will decide the future of the country.
Mustapha urged the Igbos to support the ruling All Progressives Congress and start negotiating for 2023 presidency.
Mustapha said this on Tuesday during the South East Mega Rally which was held in honour of President Muhammadu Buhari in Owerri, the Imo State capital.
He advised that after the second tenure of the President, the South East can negotiate for the presidency.
The SGF said, “The time is now, the time for decision is now, you are the only people that can determine your future and cast a vision of your future to ensure that after Buhari’s second tenure, you can make a demand for the Presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Mustapha, who represented President Buhari at the rally, described the president as a man who is not tribalistic but has a good vision for Nigeria.
The SGF explained that Buhari’s cabinet has a total of 36 ministers which share an equal religion, adding that some of the ministers in the forefront of his cabinet are from the South-East and are Christians.
“In Buhari’s cabinet, there are 36 ministers, 18 are Muslims and 18 are Christians, his interest is to see the growth of the country and can afford to take the risk”.
He appealed to the Igbos not to listen to the stories that are going around about the President but rather commended him for being an honest man.
“Buhari is an honest man that caused the whole African continent to make him the champion of anti-corruption,” the SGF said.
He urged Igbos to vote for President Muhammadu Buhari come 2019 Presidential Election, adding, “Why will people vote candidates that cannot get up to 500 votes in their constituencies.”
He called on the Igbos to vote for someone who can deliver the 36 states of the federation and not someone who cannot deliver the one state in the country.
Reacting to Mustapha’s statement, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said APC’s pledge to assuage the Igbo’s of South East Nigeria with the presidency is nothing but deceit and empty promise by Buhari and the APC.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, in a telephone conversation with The Daily Times, said “it is all lies, propaganda and empty promise.”
He said: “Since 2015, which of the pre-election promises made by Buhari has he been able to fulfill? How can anybody take Buhari serious on anything he says? This is a man that has failed all promises made during his electioneering campaign”.
Ologbondiyan said it will be foolhardy for any Nigerian, group of persons or ethnic nationality to believe Buhari or be carried away by his unfulfilled promises.
He said, “this has been the antics of the APC-led administration since Buhari’s inauguration as president in 2015”.
The PDP, he added, is ready to deliver Nigerians and the country from a deceitful government led by Buhari through the ballot.
He, therefore, reiterated the party’s warning that the APC should conduct free, fair and credible elections and ensure that every vote cast count in 2019.
In a related development, the APC South East stakeholders boycotted the mega rally for Buhari
Former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, Chief Ken Nnamani, Minister of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Anwuka, and Imo State Deputy Governor, Prince Eze Madumere, among others shunned the rally.
President Buhari, who spoke through the SGF during the rally on Tuesday, said that 2019 election would make or mar the chances of Igbo presidency in 2023.
The SGF said that the South East, being part and parcel of the federation has the inalienable right to aspire for the presidency as enshrined in the nation’s constitution.
He said that although the South East rejected Buhari at the polls in the 2015 presidential election, he appointed a number of ministers from the zone in demonstration of his spirit of one Nigeria, his compassion and large heartedness from Nigerians irrespective of their tribe and religious inclinations and pleaded with the zone not to repeat the mistake next year.
The president although acknowledged the entrepreneurial ability and potentials of the Igbos in nation building, advised them to extend their olive branch to other zones to fastrack the realisation of their 2023 presidential dream.
He argued that the nation is in dire need of an experienced leader to remedy the rots imposed on the masses by the departed PDP administration at the centre.
The National chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, in his speech, described the rally as Tsunami of the century that would send shivers down the spinal cord of the opposition.
Oshiomhole dismissed the 16 years administration of the PDP in the country as a monumental disaster that took the nation several years backward in growth and development, even as he blamed key players of South East extraction in that government for being part of the conspiracy to neglect the zone in the scheme of things.
He commended the former Senate President – Senator Ken Nnamani and his team of democrats for rejecting the third term agenda of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, saying “We cannot fix what PDP destroyed in 16 years within 3 years”.
The APC National chairman also commended Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha for his vision, wisdom and sagacity to entrench the APC in the state and by extension in the South East, arguing that history should be reintroduced in all post primary schools across the country for people to learn from the past.
In his remarks, Governor Okorocha said that the election of Adams Oshiomhole as the APC national chairman is a beckon of hope for the party, even as he expressed optimism that he would repeat the feat he performed while in office as a governor and as a labour leader.
He said, We are here to celebrate excellence and South East made a fatal mistake in 2015 because the Igbos by then never believed in President Buhari but today, they are wiser and will not repeat the mistake in 2019”.
The governor described the isolated cases of intra-party squabbles within the party as part of the beauty of democracy, stressing that “nobody should use this to judge us”.
The rally attracted APC chieftains from various parts of the country including the former governors of Borno, Bayelsa, Enugu, Kano – Alhaji Ali-Modu Sheriff, Timipreye Sylva, Sullivan Chime and Alhaji Umar Ganduje, among others.
Meanwhile, the PDP has described Tuesday’s South East zonal rally of the APC in Owerri, Imo State capital, as a mockery on President Buhari by the members of his party.
PDP spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement on Tuesday, said speakers at the rally made a mockery of President Buhari by ascribing non-existent projects as well as those initiated by others, particularly, the PDP, to him in furtherance of APC’s renewed attempt to beguile Nigerians ahead of 2019 general election.
He said, “Even the rented crowd showed and expressed a vote of no confidence on the ill-performed President and his party, as they refused to brandish the now famished APC brooms or respond to the party’s slogan, a development that signposts the rejection of the APC in the zone and of course, in other parts of our nation.
“Is it not pathetic for President Buhari or the APC to, in anyway, think that they can suddenly enchant the people of the South East by false claims like those made about the Second Niger Bridge, Enugu-Onitsha Expressway, Akanu Ibiam Airport, Enugu, among other projects, when the reality in the zone remains a bold testament of maltreatment, official disdain and government’s insensitivity?
“Is it not also a height of foolery and political delusion for APC to think that the people of the South East will suddenly churn out five million votes and deliver same to a party that overtly relegated them as mere “five percent”?
“Worse still, all the APC leaders, who spoke at the rally, were all ill at ease, had no clear message, but dwelt only on empty sloganeering without regard to the sensibilities of the people, who had been subjected to the worst kind of relegation by their party in the last three years”.
The party said it will be instructive for the APC to accept the fact that the South East zone remains the stronghold of the PDP and no amount of hollow grandstanding by the fractious APC can detract from that fact.