• Wants national asset named after Ekwueme
Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
A delegation of South-East All Progressive Congress (APC) leaders has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to support the zoning of the office of the President to the region in 2023.
This is even as they again endorsed him to run for the 2019 presidential election, saying he did enough to merit a second term.
The delegation led by Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of Science and Technology, also wanted a national asset named after former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, who died on November 19, 2017, in London.
In a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, yesterday, the team was quoted as saying: “We implore Mr. President, as a just and fair-minded leader, to make history by supporting the zoning of the Office of the President in our great party to the South East at the end of your second tenure in office as President in 2023.”
President gave the assurance when he received leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the South East at the Presidential Villa.
Buhari commended the leaders who were in the Presidential Villa for acknowledging the consistent efforts of his administration to restore Nigeria to the position of eminence:
“I am very pleased for your patriotism and consistency in supporting our administration. You are always going around explaining things even at the risk of abuse.
“I want you to know that I have not forgotten the efforts and sacrifices you have made in the successes I have achieved in my position and I appreciate what you are doing for the stability of our country and the future of our children and our grandchildren,”he said.
Emma Eneukwu, National Vice Chairman, South East APC, thanked the President for projects receiving attention of the Federal Government in the South East including, 2nd Niger Bridge, Enugu-Port Harcourt Road and the Enugu-Onitsha-Owerri Road.
“It is our conviction that four years are not enough for you to complete this worthy journey hence the need for another four years to enable you make Nigeria truly great,” he said.
Onu said they als “thanked the president for the role the Federal Government is playing on the burial of one of our very great sons, former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme.
“We told him (Buhari) that the people of the South East will be happy if a national asset is named after him as a way to show that the nation is also appreciative of his important contributions to nation building.”
The delegation also included the Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, represented by his deputy, Eze Madumere, members of the National Assembly, former governors, all the ministers from the South East, members of the National Working Committee and National Executive Committee of the APC.
The minister disclosed that Buhari was happy with the caliber of people in the delegation: “We have former leaders of the National Assembly at the highest level, Senate President, Speaker, House of Representatives, former heads of government at the state level, one government or represented by the deputy governor because the governor is out of the country, all the ministers from the south east, serving members in the National Assembly both in the Senate and House of Representatives, former members of the National Assembly and very important members in the party.”
Asked if the meeting, which was less than 10 minutes was all about politics, Onu said, “we first commended the president on the efforts he is making to make sure that there is development in the South East.
“For example, the major roads that run through the five states, if you take the Enugu-Port Harcourt Road, Enugu-Onitsha-Owerri Road, this administration has worked very hard.
“I travelled by road to Port Harcourt on the 12th of this month and I can tell you that very significant improvements have taken place.
“We also thanked him because the people of the South East are very enterprising people.
“When you are building a railway network, it is important that all major commercial towns are linked up by rail and also gas distribution.
“The president gave direct instructions that this should be done and we are very happy. Is not just good for the south east is good for the nation.”
Others in attendance included former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, former Ebonyi, Martins Elechi, Senator Andy Uba, Senator Ben Uwajimogu, former governor of old Anambra State, Jim Nwobodo, Senator Nkechi Nworgu, Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, and Senator Uche Ekwunife.