‘Ndigbo would benefit immensely from Buhari’
ALTHOUGH the All Progressive Congress (APC) did not win in any of the Southeast states on March 28, a chieftain of the party, Osita Okechukwu, said the Igbo nation would benefit immensely from the administration of Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) who he described as a leader “who has a clear sight of how the country should be administered.”
Speaking with The Guardian in Abuja, Okechukwu who is the spokesman of the APC in the Southeast states said the fact that it would no longer be business as usual should be a source of happiness to Nigerians “who have suffered for too long under an insensitive government.”
According to him, “There have been certain things that have been recurring in General Buhari’s speeches, one is security and the other is corruption. For him, he will make the anti-graft agencies truly independent. I do not see him appointing an Attorney General that will bend the rules or entering a no-case submission when it is not necessary.
These are the first signs we are going to see. If you cast your mind back, he started by telling you that immediately he submits his asset declaration to the Code of Conduct Bureau, he is going to make it public and he is also going to direct his ministers and other principal officers to do same.
“He also said he is going to cut the cost of governance. Don’t forget that this was a man that was once written a letter that his pension as Head-of-State has been increased to N23 million a month and he wrote back to say N2.3 million will be enough for him. When we asked him, he said I called my wife and asked her to give me an idea of her expenses in a month. The wife did and he also added one or two things like medication and entertainment and said that he did not see why N2.3 million would not be okay for the household. He wrote back to the Ministry of Finance and they accepted it without making a noise.”
Okechukwu, who was a member of the defunct All Peoples Party (APP) said, “Buhari is not a noise maker, if he was the noisy type he would have advertised it with fanfare. I also came to the conclusion that Nigeria is like a family that used to be rich but the bread winner or the head of the family either through recklessness or otherwise, sold off the major assets and got the family indebted. The outward evaluation of the family portrayed the family as a rich family but looking inward, the family is in debt. That is what I consider to be Nigeria today.
“The Excess Crude account is less than $US 3 billion and the Foreign Reserve is also bellow $30 billion. We are highly depleted. In our study of strategy, we were taught that conflict is usually about money or women.”
He gave assurance that under an APC Presidency, all parts of the country would be carried along saying, “Buhari is the first elected President of the country that came to power without being drafted. He was not drafted, selected or persuaded by any group. When the Northern Peoples Congress (NPC) became the majority party in the First Republic, the leader of the party was the late Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello, who drafted late Sir. Abubakar Tafawa Balewa to be Prime Minister. When we came to the Second Republic, there were a lot of people who actually demonstrated interest in becoming President. By (Shehu) Shagari’s own account, his intention was to go to the Senate but he was drafted to become the President. When we came to the third Republic, (Chief MKO) Abiola who actually had the intention to become President, was not allowed to become one. General Obasanjo was somewhere loitering in the cells of a prison and didn’t even know that we have moved towards democracy when he was released and drafted. And by his own account, he said by the time they were telling him, he told them no. ‘I don’t know what you people are talking about.’
So, GMB can stand up and be said to be the first Nigerian who had severally hungered to become the President of the country. Even in one of his missions, he broke down in one of the sessions in 2011 and wept, for his concern about how to move Nigeria forward and how to fix the country. I would like to put it on record that he is the first elected President that was not drafted. In fact, the question of his forth attempt was that, ‘Sir you even said you won’t run again.’
“With regards the Southeast, we put all our eggs in one basket which was a tactical error because the Southwest and the North did not put all their hundred percent in one PDP basket or one APC basket. In fact, the Southwest, our competitors in the South were almost going on 50/50. For the benefit of the regime, I would say that the Igbo would be one of the greatest beneficiaries of the GMB regime. Why do I say so? I say so because those who will benefit from General Buhari’s regime would be the hard working and innovative Nigerian entrepreneurs as it is going to be a transparent regime. For those who work hard like the Igbos, they will be the greatest beneficiaries of this regime. General Buhari has said it clearly that his own Federal Executive Council is not going to be awarding contracts. That in the provision of the Procurement Act, there is a proviso for National Council of Procurement and that he is going to set up that council.
“That council is like the Tender’s Board which means if they give a guideline on how to supply anything, those who are going to get the contracts would be the competent ones. And the much I know about General Buhari, if that council decides to become a corrupt council, definitely, he will not wait a day to dissolve the council. To that extent, if the council procurement says if you do not pay your tax you can’t even contest that means that only those who pay their taxes, who update their records performance as contractors, will pass through.
“That’s why I say for the Igbo’s where I come from, we are not going to be the looser. He is not going to say that because you are Katsina person, we will lower the profile. That is not the Mohammadu Buhari that I know.”