By Andrew Essien, Abuja
The Igbo community has begun campaigns for the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari ahead of 2019, just as it advised a former governor of Abia state, Orji Uzor Kalu to desist from speaking in a manner that suggests that President Buhari may not be interested in running for the presidency.
Speaking on Sunday at the inauguration of the Abuja chapter of the pro-Buhari group, Ndigbo for Buhari 2019, leader of the group, and an All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain, Prince Paul Ikonne urged the Igbo to work with the mindset that the president is standing for a re-election and must be supported.
Ikonne also took exception to Kalu’s comment that President Buhari is not interested in a second term automatic ticket, asking the former governor to keep quiet as “he is not the spokesperson to the president.”
He said : “As a leader of APC in Abia State and a staunch supporter of Mr. President, I feel compelled to advise Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu to desist from acts and utterances capable of discrediting Mr. President and our great party APC. The APC is not PPA and as such, the state chairman of APC in Abia State should give Orji Kalu the APC Constitution to read, because I can see he joined APC with PPA Constitution in his mind”, he said.
“It is unfortunate that Orji Kalu is speaking this way. Just few days back, the same Kalu was calling on the Abia state governor to join APC and get automatic ticket. Today he is now saying that Mr. President is not interested in an automatic ticket; if you are calling on someone who is not a member of APC to come and get an automatic ticket and you are saying a founding father of the party is not interested in automatic ticket, then where is the justification? Is it because my leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has said it that is why Kalu is saying the same thing?
“On the 2nd of June 2017, former Governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, used his social media account to publish a document titled ‘My Contract with Nigeria’. The document essentially detailed his manifesto as an aspiring presidential candidate of APC. Some weeks back, the streets of Abuja, Abia, Lagos, Imo and others were defaced with 2019 campaign posters of Orji Uzor Kalu which he confirmed seeing ‘on his way to the airport’ and later disclaimed as the handiwork of his phantom political opponents. But few days ago, he enumerated the benefits and how the posters has made him more popular, saying, ‘by their mischief, PDP was only making me popular and eager to produce an Igbo President’. So it is obvious that Kalu, in his usual way and manner, printed and circulated the posters as a way of testing political waters, which is typical of the Kalu that we know.
“Most recently, Orji Kalu made utterances bordering on giving an automatic ticket to Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu if he joins the APC. Kalu had said, ‘the ruling party will give an automatic ticket to the current Governor of the state, Okezie Ikpeazu if he chooses to defect from the Peoples Democratic Party PDP’. For us, this is not only an exhibition of ignorance of party rules, but it is disturbing, distractive and against the party’s Constitution.
“We call on well meaning Abians, the supporters of Mr. President, APC in Abia State and south –east in general to ignore Orji Kalu and his mindset as we continue to support Mr. President for his second term”, said Ikonne.
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