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Those saying the Igbo hate Buhari are enemies of progress – Ezike

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By Emma Nnadozie

He was the National Coordinator of ‘I believe in President Buhari’, a group that sprang up during Buhari’s first campaign for the presidency and he waxed so strong that he was able to garner huge followers from almost all the states of the federation.

Frank Ramsey Ezike, who also prides himself as an activist, in this interview, says he remains undaunted in his belief in Buhari, stating that his anger is that enemies are casting the Igbo in bad light before the President.

Buhari’s 5th anniversary

During the campaign of President Buhari in 2019, it was very tough being on his side, because I am Igbo; and most Igbo were made to see him as very harsh. We knew that we will have a herculean task and we went to a great extent to correct that erroneous impression of Buhari.

We chose the slogan, ‘I believe in Buhari 2019’, with a view to correcting that impression and we are happy to say that, at the end of the day, we were vindicated. I know that he is working hard, only that those who surround him blocked a lot of things for us the citizens to see the benefits of his regime.

Achievements

He has achieved a lot. Let me start from the South-East because what President Buhari has achieved in the region, no President has ever done that. His achievements are glaring and unquantifiable to discerning Nigerians.

For the 16 years that PDP ruled Nigeria, the South-East did not benefit anything in spite of the fact that they dominated almost all the key positions under Goodluck Jonathan. For instance, Obasanjo promised to repair the Second Niger Bridge, but we did not see anything. Under Jonathan, the situation was the same.

But, behold, it is a reality today, almost 80 per cent completed, courtesy of Buhari. Talk about all South-East roads or are we going to talk about the agricultural aspect? Buhari developed the attitude of investing in agriculture, because, if not for it, during the outbreak of Covid-19, Nigerians would have perished.

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Had it been that we depended on importation of rice and some other things in Nigeria, it would have been disastrous, but the reason the masses are eating today is because many people are investing in local production in agriculture. We have been able to patronize our local farmers; without that, a bag of rice would have been sold for N100, 000 during this Covid-19 era.

So, what I am saying is that the Igbo love Buhari, and I know that he loves us. But, the problem is that the communication link we are supposed to have is not there. It is so yawning that it has created doubts. They should make him accessible to most of us who worked for him. I started the campaign in 2018 before electioneering campaigns even started.

I inaugurated my state and zonal coordinators for all the 36 states of Nigeria. The event took place in a hotel at Anthony village, Lagos, where I brought all the 36 states coordinators and took care of their flight tickets, hotel accommodation and their welfare. We had all coordinators, down to the grassroots across all the 774 local governments and powered by ‘Savers Empowerment Ambassadors Initiative’, which I happened to be the coordinator. I still believe in President Muhammadu Buhari, knowing full well that Nigeria will not be good overnight. They say that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a bold step.

Allegations of marginalization

What I am saying is that all the six geo-political zones should be given a clear sense of belonging and nobody should feel marginalized. We the Igbo love him, there were lots of people that voted President Buhari in the South-East. So, the erroneous impression being created that easterners hate Buhari is not true. There is something I want to tell you, during the presidential election, one political party offered me one billion naira to sell my structure through one of my zonal coordinators from the North, and I rejected it, without even getting a dime from Buhari or APC as a government, but, because I love Buhari, I refused to sell that structure to them, and I thank God he won after everything, and I know he will do a lot.

The structure

‘I believe in Buhari’ structure is still there and intact. Any time our services are needed by Buhari, we are ready to provide it.

Advice on how to carry everybody along

I believe that Mr. President will carry everyone along, at least this outbreak of Covid-19 has taught everyone a lesson that we are one. He has been doing so, but he should put more efforts. He should put more effort into security. The police, the DSS and our soldiers are working, but more should be done on security. In terms of corruption, he deserves accolades for his steadfastness and tenacity of purpose in spite of the odds.

On Boko Haram

Boko Haram has been there before Mr. President came, and he has been doing everything he could to stop the threat. So, we believe that in due time, everything will return to normalcy.

Convincing the Igbo on Buhari

I keep talking to my people, like during the campaign time in my LGA in Nnewi South, I made sure that I explained the objectives of Buhari to our people who had not been opportune to listen to news, and many of them believed and voted for him.

On northern groups fleeing to the South

What I know is that some people are trying to create panic in our people, it is cheap politics. I believe that our governors are not sleeping. Do you think they will fold their arms and watch the people they are governing to just perish? We have security agencies over there, we have Commissioners of Police, we have army barracks, so I don’t think what they are saying is true.

On compensation for Buhari supporters

They should believe what Buhari told us, that people should vote for him based on his credibility, which was what he told us when we visited him. He doesn’t believe in giving out money to campaign for him. We should not look at the material things we would benefit from him, what we should be talking about is the infrastructures and good things we would benefit from the government.

Advice to Nigerians

Nigerians should be patient, Nigeria will also be good. US and other countries they are rushing to today did not start the same day that Nigeria government started, so, they should be patient and love one another.

Vanguard

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