Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, has said the only way the South East can realise its age-long desire of occupying the presidency is for people of the zone to massively vote for President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
He said the South East people should not repeat the mistake of 2015 presidential election in which they voted for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), adding that majority of those who have been parading as presidential aspirants cannot win their constituencies in 2019.
The SGF, who represented President Buhari at the APC South East mega rally for Buhari, held in Owerri, the Imo State capital, yesterday, said the support of the people of the region for President Buhari will be the determining factor if the zone will occupy the presidency in 2023.
“2019 will make or mar the chances of the South East zone in occupying the presidency in 2023. I call on South East sons and daughters to have a paradigm shift in 2019 and support Buhari’s re-election.
“The presidency of this nation is always negotiated and you cannot negotiate from the point of weakness. It will be determined by the votes Buhari gets from the South East, and you have to bring the same expertise you have always employed in trade and commerce into politics, to take over in 2023. It is now the choice for the South East to make,” he said.
Mustapha equally noted that President Buhari appointed five ministers from the South East, four of whom are cabinet ministers and a minister of state even when he got the least votes from the area.
“President Buhari does not hate the Igbo and he has included the zone in all the infrastructure projects and gave the zone five ministers, four of who are cabinet ministers and a minister of state. I am assuring you people that the president will do more for the zone in his second term.”
Oshiomhole, who admitted he had doubted the possibility of pulling such a crowd in his first rally as the national chairman of the party, gave kudos to the host, Governor Rochas Okorocha, who he said only hinted him of the rally four days ago.
“I have respect for people with courage, not those who are leaving a party because others are leaving. I must confess when Rochas told me of the rally four days ago, I didn’t believe it would be such a gathering; I am happy to see the crowd, those outside are twice more than those inside, I would have punished him if he had not forced me to come,” Oshiomhole said.
On his part, Okorocha admitted that South East played a bad politics in 2015, but noted that 2019 will be a time to correct the mistake.
He said: “South East love Buhari; we will ensure his victory in 2019. With our new leader, who has delivered as a governor and a union leader, we know he will deliver; we have come to change the story of 2015, we are celebrating excellence, patriotic style of leadership of Buhari.
“In 2015, we played bad politics, but, Igbo have now declare for Buhari; this first leg of the South East rally is to correct the impression that there is no APC in South East. Igbo are not good starters, but they are good finishers.”
Earlier, one of the governorship aspirant of the party in the state, Ugwumba Uche Nwosu, appealed to the leadership of the party on the kind of politics played by the zone but assured that the South East is willing to give a hundred percent of their votes in 2019.