A former Abia State governor and chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, has declared that the south-east as a region would vote massively for President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
Speaking on a special interview session on Arise Television, on Thursday, in Abuja, Kalu said he joined the APC because of the personality of the president.
He noted further that it would be unwise for any Igbo man to challenge President Buhari in 2019, saying that 2023 would be Igbo’s best chance adding that, “I don’t think it is the right thing to do. I believe in equity and justice. We should allow the north to have its eight years.”
Explaining further why he joined the APC, Kalu said: “I will add a lot of value to the APC in the south-east. Buhari’s illness slowed him down, no doubt, he has done well so far. I have been in the opposition for 10 years now. I joined Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) since 2006.
“But I joined APC because of Buhari. I joined because of his integrity so as to help grow the party in the south-east. APC has come to stay in the south-east. Buhari’s contest in 2019 is not only for himself but for the south- east. After Buhari’s eight years, nobody in Nigeria can tell us that our region cannot produce the president. Majority of the Igbo people will massively support Buhari in 2019. They did not support him in 2015. But in 2019 they will massively vote for him. I am passing a vote of confidence on him because he has integrity.
“I am not the only one passing a vote of confidence on Buhari, the APC governors just endorsed him for a second term, the World Bank is supporting what he is doing, so also is the EU, including other powerful world leaders.”
Asked if he was sure President Buhari would run in 2019, Kalu again said: “Recall what I said when he travelled to London for medication, when some people were saying he would not return. I said he would not only return healthier and stronger, but that he was going to run in 2019. So, I am convinced and I am sure that Mr. President will run. I have not seen any other candidate than Buhari. I am not thinking of any other candidate. I joined the APC because of Buhari. I know him personally. The country needs him to complete his tenure. “
The former Abia State governor also said that as a region, the south-east would be more interested in infrastructural development of the area than the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), where the holder of such office may not even be able to influence anything in the region.
He continued, “We just left the office. We had one during Jonathan for six years. So we can’t dictate to the president who he should appoint as his personal aides. But even at that we don’t need to have SGF to get what is due to us as a region. After all, up till last year, Port-Harcourt express way was impassable, today; major construction work is going on there.
“Enugu –Onitsha road which was abandoned before Buhari came in, work is going on there now. For me, those things are important to me than a ministerial appointment or office of the SGF. SGF is nothing if Buhari can do our roads to jump-start the economic activities in our region, I will be very satisfied with that than having SGF who does not have power to do anything. This is why I believe that getting Buhari to do our roads is very important, to giving someone a ministerial appointment or SGF which serves the personal interest of the appointee. We are traders, we are business people. All we need is access roads.
“We held the position for six years; I don’t see anything special in it. Our people are more interested in getting the roads fixed than holding appointments. Who told you that if an Igbo man is appointed SGF, he will exert much influence to get those roads fixed? The APC has not zoned the position to the South-East. It is not true.”