The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, and other leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the South-East, have called on the people of the zone to support the re-election bid of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
The party leaders made the call on Sunday during a stakeholders meeting held at the minister’s country home in Uburu, Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi.
Onu said that the meeting was convened to map out strategies on how to achieve victory in the zone for the party’s presidential flag bearer in the general elections.
He said that Buhari had performed well to deserve re-election in order to consolidate on the achievements he recorded in his first tenure.
He therefore urged Ndigbo to support his re-election bid, adding that he had executed remarkable projects in the zone.
He further said that the president had done well in the areas of security, economy and fight against corruption.
According to the minister, the president had delivered on the three key promises he made in 2015, including security, fight against corruption and economic growth and development.
He said: “The administration, through a relentless war against graft, has reduced corruption and ensured transparency in governance.
“The government has engaged the Boko Haram insurgents and has reclaimed 18 Local Government Areas previously annexed by the insurgents in Borno and Yobe states.
“The government has improved the ease of doing business and made the country a hub for foreign investments. The Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway and Enugu-Onitsha Expressway, which were abandoned for over 16 years, are nearing completion, while work on the Second Niger Bridge has commenced.
“The Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, in Abia, has been equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment to stem medical tourism.
“The establishment of automobile industrial hub to serve as industrial park at Nnewi, in Anambara, and those located between Abia and Rivers boundaries are all part of the achievements of the Buhari-led administration,” he said.
Onu commended the party leaders and stakeholders for their roles in ensuring that APC had a stronghold in the South-East.
He urged them not to rest on their oars but redouble their efforts to ensure that Buhari won majority of the votes in the zone.
He recalled that South-East was the first to endorse Buhari’s second term bid, hence the need for the people to translate the endorsement into victory for him at the polls.
The minister said: “We took bold step as a zone in 2017 to endorse the President for re-election before other zones followed suit.
“We are here today to plan on the strategy to ensure that we mobilise the electorate and supporters of our great party to vote for Buhari and other APC candidates from the zone.
“We want to show Nigeria that APC has taken root in the South-East.
“Yes, the performance of the party in South-East in 2015 general elections was made possible by the contributions of the leaders and stakeholders who mobilised Igbos within and outside the country to vote for APC.
“We urge greater unity among the party leaders, stakeholders and supporters as we prepare for the general elections in the zone in order to surpass our efforts in 2015.”
Onu further spoke on the need for the South-East to fully integrate in the maintream national politics.
He opined that Nigeria’s president of Igbo extraction in 2023 could only be achieved under an APC-led government.
He said, “It is important to point out that South-East remains the only geo-political zone that is yet to produce an elected president of Nigeria and this is what everybody is aware of.
“The North-East, through the Prime Minister, Tafawa Belewa, North-West, South-West, South – South and North-Central, have all produced Nigeria’s president at different times with the exception of the South-East.
“The zone stands a better chance to bargain for the slot and only under APC can this arrangement be possible.
“We must therefore support the president for a second term in order to have a better chance of producing the next Nigeria president of Igbo origin,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) also reports, Chief Emmanuel Enukwu, the APC National Vice Chairman, South-East, in an earlier address, called for greater unity within the party in the zone.
Enukwu said that the party had a sacred duty to deliver Buhari and other candidates in the zone in 2019.
He urged those who were aggrieved in the aftermath of the party’s primaries in the zone to bury their anger and join hands with the winners for the party’s victory in the general elections.
He said, “We must do everything we can to ensure the success of APC in the zone, in order to boost our bargaining power for the presidency in 2023″.