‘Why Southeasterners will support Buhari at 2019 polls’
The support President Muhammadu Buhari got in the 2015 election is what former Vice President Abubakar Atiku is getting now. Don’t you think this would determine the outcome of the 2019 election?
Somebody referred to some of the ex-generals as letter writers and you will discover that letter writing has already faded out; it has lost relevance because we are now in the digital age. Those letter writers have been taken over by events, their influence in determining the future of the country has waned drastically. Come to think of it, members of their family are even now supporting the candidate of President Buhari! What an irony! Therefore, a house that is divided against itself cannot stand. If members of the family see the good that the current administration is doing and they are applauding it, where lies their strength? Whether ex-generals supported Atiku or not, it does not mean anything, and it cannot predict the outcome of the forthcoming election.
Since Atiku emerged as the presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), there has been tension in the camp of APC. What could be responsible for this?
It is because the man is ready to spend any amount of money to woo voters. His interest has to do with money and because Nigerians are poor and hungry they can be easily cajoled. He spent $5,000 to win the primary election of the party but there is danger in this. If he wins, the first thing he will do is to recover all the money spent. What is now the lot of the country and the people? Those who can decipher between the good from the bad will definitely not vote Atiku because he would cause great danger for the country.
It is this corruption that Buhari is fighting against. When I saw his house in Daura, I was humbled because it is a modest house; this is a one time military president and now civilian president. But Buhari cannot be intimidated by anybody.
During the 2015 election, Atiku released his private jet for Buhari to campaign, and nobody mentioned the fact that he was corrupt but suddenly because he is contesting against Buhari, the narrative changes?
When he gave him the jet to use during campaign, it was seen as a gesture, which the president could not have refused. When it comes to the issue of corruption, Buhari does not leave anybody out. So, it would have been impolite if he had refused Atiku’s offer.
People are politically biased to say the corruption chase is one-sided. As he deals with the southerners, he does with the northerners. He tackles anyone found to be corrupt, no matter where he or she comes from. Because people are biased, they hear more of what the opposition is talking. The Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC) has been going after those in the ruling and opposition parties who are guilty of corruption. So, it will not be right to say the corruption chase is only after those against this administration. Those that the EFCC probed in Kogi State are members of APC. This is to tell you that people who served in this government and are found wanting had been dealt with, including ministers and other top officials.
What is your understanding of the SouthEast supporting President Buhari?
Nobody in this world can have 100 per cent support; even in the scriptures, Jesus Christ, as good as he was, his disciple, Judas Iscariot, betrayed him. In Nigeria, there are lots of political propaganda and gimmick that somebody can raise and use to deceive so many people. For me, as an easterner, my submission is that Buhari has done very well. I was part of those who complained that nothing much was being done in the South-East, which I discussed with those close to the president, and I was educated to see what the government has been doing. For instance, the Onitsha-Enugu road has been commissioned. The issue is this it is easy to criticise but I believe in constructive criticism. When you criticise, bring it to the open. Buhari is human when there is shortcoming, his aids, special advisers and ministers can correct it and everything will be resolved. There is no need showing hatred for the president.
Also, It will surprise you if you see the number of south easterners supporting this government they have so much love for the President that you will wonder what is going on.
You said earlier that the people are hungry. How do you think Buhari can make it a thing of the past?
Those who have read the economic indices about poverty say that it cannot be removed in three and half years. That is why we are asking for President Buhari’s re-election in 2019. If he comes back again, the economic indices would be nomalised even before he finished his second tenure, and poverty would be reduced remarkably in the country.
The opposition parties have been trying their best to run down this government, but politics should be played this way. It is not possible that Atiku will defeat President Buhari because of the things that are speaking against him. We know what happened when he was the vice president under former President Olusegun Obasanjo. We also know what happened in United States of America.
What have your organisation put in place to see that President Buhari is re-elected?
Our primary objective is to drive forces for the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari to office. RBM is represented in 774 councils in Nigeria; we are represented in the 36 states of the federation, including FCT. We cover the six geo-political zones of the federation, which include the South-South, Southeast, Southwest, Northeast, Northwest and North Central and these are our structure for campaign. Whatever decision we take at the national, goes down to the zonal, state, local council and wards level.
Nigerians have been clamouring for restructuring, but it seems this government is not ready to give it consideration. Don’t you think this might work against President Buhari?
It is not true that President Buhari does not support restructuring. But everything is procedural, and it will be better for the country if things are done strategically so there will be no regrets. What the president is doing is for the good of all; he has good intentions for the country and the people but things have to be done orderly. Restructuring will take process; so, it has to be looked at critically. I believe everything will fall into place at the right time.
What do you consider the major achievements of President Buhari deserving of a second term?
From the reports we are getting from the zonal coordinators and findings, President Buhari has achieved much in the areas of agriculture, road reconstruction and construction, even abandoned projects by the former administration are not left out. The projects include bridges, like the second Niger Bridge. President Buhari deserves to be re-elected because of the good governance principles he has put in place. We support his re-election because of his efforts to restore sanity into the Nigerian system.
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