Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, at the weekend, declared that re-electing President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 would fast-track South East’s quest to produce the President of the country.
He said the zone would stand a good chance if it backs President Buhari in the next election, to be supported to produce the President. The SGF also cautioned the zone against making fatal political mistake that will ruin its yearnings.
Mustapha stated this at a reception organised for the Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Affairs Office, Barr. Georgina Ehuria, by the former governor of Abia State, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu.
In attendance included the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, former governor of Ekiti State and All Progressives Congress (APC) Deputy National Chairman (South ), Engr. Segun Oni, former Minister of State, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Chief Chuka Odom.
Responding to remarks made by Kalu, that Igbo have decided to give 75 percent votes to President Buhari if he decides to run for a second term in office, Mustapha said the South East will not regret voting massively for Buhari in 2019.
The SGF’s statement came barely a week after former President Olusegun Obasanjo wrote an 18-page letter to President Buhari, urging the president to take a deserving rest and not take a second shot at the presidency.
Continuing on the aspiration of the Igbo to produce President, he told Kalu “You made allusions to the fact that the South East would support Buhari. Let me confirm to you that for any thought of Igbo presidency, this is the shortest part. I have been in this game in the last 35, 37 years. I can attest to it. I know what it is, I know the permutations. I know what is on ground and I am an election manager.
“I know how you can commute, how you can fix the figures and how they come and arrive at the destination. And I can tell you without any fear, without any iota of doubt that the shortest path to an Igbo presidency is for Buhari to complete his tenure and now engage the Igbo nation in a decisive move”.
The immediate past Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) further said the presidency of Nigeria had always been obtained by negotiation.
Mustapha added that no single group could ascend to the presidency of Nigeria without negotiation, urging the Igbo to bring to bear their entrepreneurial spirit in navigating the way to the presidency of Nigeria.
He continued, “And I leave this with my Igbo brothers that the act of negotiation that you have perfected in dealing with merchandise, in dealing with commerce, in dealing with entrepreneurship, must be brought to bear on your navigating your way to the presidency of Nigeria,” Mustapha added.
Mustapha also cited the diversity of the country, particularly his home state, Adamawa, where they speak various languages, adding that Nigeria was a complex society with diverse background.
He, however, said but in the case of the Igbos, they were fortunate to come from a geographical zone where only one language is used in communication.
“Nigeria is a complex society. We come from different diverse background. I come from a state called Adamawa. There are about 96 ethnic communities. We speak different distinct languages. You have an advantage. You speak only one language in all the five South Eastern states.
“I have told you in Adamawa, we speak 96 different ethnic dialects. In a local government, you may find four, five and when they speak; they don’t even understand each other. And the only common denominator with which we communicate is Hausa. Similarly, almost in the states in the northern part of the country. But we have learnt the act of negotiation, accommodation, give and take in the process. We have shared power, even in our small state on a rotational basis that every part would have an opportunity.
“In Adamawa state as a matter of fact, most of the people that have been governor since Adamawa state, except one, come from the minutest of the tribes. That explains exactly what I mean. It is not the numerical figure, the act of negotiation, the ability to accommodate, the ability to give and take is what would create the prosperous Nigeria of our dream,” Mustapha declared.
Speaking earlier, Orji Kalu thanked President Buhari for finding his sister worthy to be appointed a permanent secretary, noting that Ehuria is an exceptional lady.
Kalu further said Ehuria’s appointment had shown that the president is looking towards the people of the South East.
In the words of Kalu, “This has shown once again that the president is looking towards us, coming to Bende Local Government, in our own home to pick a permanent secretary. And also, we thank the Head of Service who we know it is her office through which these things are done.
“I want to thank all of you, thank the Secretary to the Government of the Federation for this noble thing you did to Bende people, Ogbo people, to Abia North, to Abia State and to Igbo people.
“We are very grateful and even when we are thanking, we are still expecting more that Mr President should look more towards that area. We are not stopping because if we say we are very grateful, they might not remember us again.
“President Buhari has done very well and also giving us one strong appointment in my local government and we, the Igbos, we have decided; the PDP, APC, APGA, PPA that if the president is running again, he will have 75 percent vote in the South East. And this is a statement of fact,” Kalu said.
Kalu further said Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, though not a member of the APC, had already taken it rolling.
Kalu also said rhat GovernorWilly Obiano, must be grateful to President Buhari, adding that Obiano had already lost his re-election bid except for the instruction of President Buhari that nobody should touch Anambra votes.
Kalu declared that his support for President Buhari was not borne out of inordinate desire, but out of patriotism and for the president’s novel act of infrastructural drive in the South East.
Kalu, however, descended on former president Olusegun Obasanjo, saying that people should stop using political office to pursue people.
Kalu said that was exactly what the former president did while in office, adding that as president, “Obasanjo wasted peoples’ time, gallivanting up and down as if he was doing something serious, pursuing people and thinking that other presidents would be like him.”
Kalu also promised to write a 35-page letter on Obasanjo to President Buhari in June 2018 a copy of which would be sent to the former president.
In the letter, Kalu said he would reveal all the things that Obasanjo is supposed to be answerable to, saying that Obasanjo is the father of modern corruption in Nigeria.