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‘Igbo presidency depends on S-East support for Buhari’s re-election’

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By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
BUJA—THE Presidency, yesterday, told the people of South-East zone of the country that their political investment in the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari in next year’s election will determine their fate in 2023.

The Presidency also said the South-East people are integral part of the country and would be accorded appropriate place in the scheme of things.

From left: Gov Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State; Gov Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State; Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Nkem Okeke, Gov David Umahi of Ebonyi State Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu and President Muhammadu Buhari during the visit of South East Leaders to the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Wednesday (21/11/2018)

Speaking to newsmen after a meeting between President Buhari and the South-East governors at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said the visit was remarkable and had corrected the impression that the Federal Government was not doing anything for the people of the zone.

According to him, “we received a very high-powered delegation today (yesterday) and I think it is a remarkable visit because they came essentially to thank Mr. President over the major activities that have taken place in the South-East.”

On whether President Buhari solicited the votes of the South-East at the meeting, the SGF said: “This obviously might not be the most appropriate time.

“You remember there was a programme in the South-East where Mr. President asked me to represent him and I threw the kite by telling the south-eastern states that their quickest and easiest means to the presidency is to support President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term.

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“Meaning that they can short circuit the period in terms of only having him there for another four years and whatever they do in 2019 will determine what will happen thereafter, because politics is a game of numbers and it is like a cooperative society.”

Meanwhile, Deputy Senate President, Chief Ike Ekweremadu, had led South-East governors to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari behind closed doors at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The delegation was on a thank-you visit to the President for the award of the second Niger Bridge and some other projects in the zone and also to complain about the award of the rail project in the zone while the rail project in the Western corridor had been awarded.

But President Buhari promised that all the projects in the zone will be funded and that the seven months delay in the passage of the budget would not affect the projects.

What we discussed  with President— Umahi

Meanwhile, speaking to newsmen after the meeting, Chairman of the South-East Governors Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief Dave Umahi, said issues on the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, and the need to increase mobilisation fee to Julius Berger that is handling the second Niger Bridge project to 50 percent were among issues discussed.

His words: “We thanked him for that economic free trade zone. And then we talked about the Enugu international airport, we asked him to deploy the cargo section of the airport, complete the building and extend the runway and also rebuild the runway, because it is very bumpy and the tarmac light is not functioning.

“We also thanked him for the roads and we reminded him that the slow pace of work was attributed to the rains; now that the rains are gone the contractors are complaining of no funding. So we requested that he should do something about the funding.”

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He added that they also discussed power supply to Aba and the railway projects.

On whether they were bargaining chips for 2019, Governor Umahi said: “It has no political intentions because these are economic issues and they are not new.”

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