By Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja
Former Minister of State for Education and Presidential aspirant in the ruling All Progressives Congress APC, Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba has advanced reasons for the number of presidential aspirants of Southeast origin who are running on the APC platform.
With seven aspirants from the Southeast, some stakeholders had felt that the zone should have queued behind one aspirant to strengthen her demands for power shift.
Speaking at a media interface Monday in Abuja, Nwajiuba said the Southeast would have been more comfortable having more aspirants from the zone so that Nigerians can have a wide range of options to pick from.
Presidential aspirants of Southeast extraction in APC had on Sunday met in Abuja with a resolution to queue behind any of them who clinches the presidential ticket of the party at its forthcoming primaries.
Demanding that the ticket be ceded to the zone, the aspirants commended Nigerians for their support and commitment to having a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction.
The meeting which was hosted by Senator Rochas Okorocha and chaired by Dr Ogbonnaya Onu had five other aspirants in attendance. They were Chief Ikeobasi Mokelu, Senator Ken Nnamani, Barr. (Mrs) Uju Kennedy Ohanenye, Gov. Dave Umahi and Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba.
However, Nwajiuba said despite the fact that only seven of the aspirants are from the South-east, party delegates have a sufficient range of options to choose from.
He said; “The South East does not want to arrive at a consensus. South-East wants to work with Nigerians. We are very disappointed, we thought about 10 to 20 people from the South-east will buy these forms so that we can make a case. When you are making a case, you can make it one way, let all of us come out; men and women and say yes we believe in Nigeria.
“We have only seven aspirants and that is very small but I am sure out of these seven, we have those in their seventies, we have those in their sixties, we have those in their fifties. We have every type you need. Nigeria must have the full breadth of Igbo diversity. Any type you need, Igbo people have it. So, what we said yesterday was that anyone you choose, we are going to back him or her”.
The former federal lawmaker also cautioned Nigerians against electing moneybags, saying Nigeria needs a leader with a full grasp of the issues that afflict the nation and also armed with solutions.
“I must agree with you that we have a monetized political system but I can assure you that we have a Buhari who was elected and who didn’t have money. I am only presenting myself for you to choose from. I am not saying I can buy. I am not sponsored by the oil industry. So, the only people who can sponsor me are Nigerians. 3, 150 people made contributions and we bought these forms.
“So, I know that if Nigerians are willing, once my party selects me, APC will be speaking to 90% of the demographics of Nigeria, speaking to the 70% who are below 50 and who believe it is possible to vote for somebody who is 55. Right now Nigerians are sure this is where they can get the most efficacious drug (leader) and this is what I am providing. I know that that is what I am up to and that is what APC will be offering Nigerians if they take me as their candidate. They will be speaking to elders who believe that they have gotten somebody who will do the work for them. Almost all my supporters are above my age. I have members of the House of Representatives from 1992 who endorsed me even before they contributed money. Some have paid N1000, one from Nasarawa gave me 150 yams to sell from his farm. People are investing, thinking that there may be a new Nigeria. It is not about monetized or not monetized, it is about Nigerians committing to a future where they want to go”, Nwajiuba added.