President Muhammadu Buhari said yesterday that reports of the split within the Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze, over its reported endorsement of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, did not come to him as a surprise.
Buhari described the endorsement of his major opponent in the 2019 presidential poll as inconsequential and lacking in substance, saying 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
LEADERSHIP Weekend recalls that Igbo leaders had, at a summit in Enugu State on Wednesday, reportedly endorsed Atiku’s candidacy for the 2019 presidential poll.
But speaking at a meeting with a select group of South East leaders yesterday, the president said from the moment he started getting calls from well-meaning leaders from the region, he knew that the resolution would not stand.
President Buhari said that his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), got it right from the very beginning – that the major problems facing the country were mainly on security, corruption and the economy.
A statement by his senior special assistant on media and publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, quoted the president as saying: “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 (also was killed). 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.
“If you ruin the economy, send your children abroad to get education, won’t they come back? I said it 30 years ago that this is the only country we have. We must stay here and salvage it together.”
The leader 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 Southeasterners 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.