Raphael Ede, Enugu
The Igbo will be the major beneficiaries of President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term bid if elected, the Director General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr. Osita Okechukwu has assured.
Okechukwu gave this assurance, at the weekend, while entertaining questions bordering on President Buhari’s second term vis-a-vis restructuring of the country from journalists at his hometown, Eke, in Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State.
He urged Ndigbo to support restructuring and at the same time vote for Buhari for a second term in office by 2019 to pave way for presidency of Igbo extraction, come 2023.
“Restructuring is not a one day event, but the golden opportunity of Buhari being the only northerner, going by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the zoning convention, with only four years that ends in 2023 is a matter of fact. Voting for any other northerner, means postponement of the golden opportunity which Mr President reelection offers Ndigbo.
“Restructuring is already in the cards of our great party, the APC. Definitely some items will be restructured before 2019 general elections, going by Malam Nasir Elrufai’s committee recommendations.”
“Secondly, Ndigbo stand to benefit immensely from the Buhari’s massive critical infrastructure – Roads, Rails, Agriculture and Power (RRAP) projects, first of its Kind in Nigeria.
“As sone of the hard working and entrepreneurial people in Nigeria, we stand no doubt to gain from the RRAP – 5,000 kilometers of federal roads, 5,000 kilometers of standard gauge rail lines, agrarian revolution and additional 5,000 megawatts of electricity, with completion cycle of 3-5 years.”
Asked how he is sure that Buhari would support an Igbo candidate to succeed him, Okechukwu said that, “it is not only about Buhari’s backing; albeit more about paradigm shift of voting pattern of Ndigbo, in 2019, which signposts realignment of political forces. Let’s the truth be told, my people since 1999 had religiously been voting for PDP, without commensurate result, common sense dictates paradigm shift in our voting pattern.”
“Buhari in 2003, and 2007 had Igbo sons as running mates – Rt.Hons. Chuba Okadigbo and Edwin Umezoke of blessed memory. Yet we failed to vote for him. To align with the mainstream, we should vote for him now. He subscribes to equity and justice and cannot jeopardise the chances of credible Igbo candidate who has the common sense to appeal to our brothers and sisters in other regions, especially the South West and South-South”, VON DG said.
Although, President Buhari recently asked All Progressives Congress (APC) Governors to give him more time to decide whether to seek re-election, Okechukwu said it is imperative that President Muhammadu should seek for second tenure, so as to complete the ongoing critical infrastructure foundation that he initiated in the country.
Justifying his call for Ndigbo to support the 2nd term bid of Buhari, Okechukwu said cited the accelerated reconstruction of work on federal roads across the federation, especially the 2nd Niger Bridge, Enugu-Onitsha expressway, Enugu-Port-Harcourt road, stressing that Buhari has plan to lay gas pipeline which will connect commercial towns in the east and the Eastern Corridor Railway; as carrots in the kitty.
He said noted that considering this, it would be suicidal if the people of the South-East will vote for those who share money and miss the infrastructure revolution.
Okechukwu warned Ndigbo to use their teeth to count their tongue and decide whether to support Buhari who will take them to the next level or go back to Egypt, where they suffered for 16 years under the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which not only neglected infrastructure in the South-East but never considered an Igbo man worthy to become president or vice president.