The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, on Sunday, insisted that supporting reelection of President Muhammadu Buhari remained the best bet for the South-East to produce the Nigerian President in 2023.
Ngige said President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) would have the moral grounds and basis of equity to support a president of the South-East extraction if the zone gives him and the party full support in the 2019 general election.
The minister who spoke to news men in Awka warned the zone against making the mistake he claimed they made in 2015 when according to him they put all their eggs in one basket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against his advice and turned back to cry of marginalisation.
He said, “All I’m saying in effect is that you must do political engineering, that’s the Igbo of the South-East and the step to take forward is to support a Buhari presidency for 2019 and vote for it with all their strengths.
“Because by so doing, number one, they will not be left in the power sharing that will come thereafter like was done at this period.
“The Igbo will now get strategic positions in government. They will also even get into the kitchen cabinet of the presidency. There is no government that doesn’t have a kitchen cabinet.
“Number two, it will be easy, for an outgoing president to find joy in doing an equitable nomination of somebody from the South-East to say, this person or these persons are fit and proper persons to succeed me.
“He can even canvass, based on equity to say that the South-East is the only portion in Nigeria, the only zone in Nigeria that has not tasted this presidency and people will listen, both on moral grounds and basis of equity.
“These are the two reasons. Because any other northerner elected now will go for eight years of the presidency.
“So, 2023 will not be feasible for any other zone. Do not mind what Atiku Abubakar is saying that he will do only one term. It’s not possible. It’s a political talk.”
Reminded of the revelation by the Senate President, that Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, was eying the presidency after Buhari and there was plan to return it to the South in 2023, Ngige said such should even propel the South-East to work harder to come into the ruling party and be push their cause.
He further said, “What Saraki was saying is a non-issue as far as I’m concerned. Asiwaju has the right to aspire. He is a human being. All of us have our ambitions.
“He’s my friend. He has the right to aspire. After all, he aspired to the post of Vice President. You can’t kill people’s ambitions.
“We’re in politics to serve and if you feel you can serve in a very high office, you should aspire to go there. It is left for those who are politicking with you to also square up and do their own spades of work.
“If they feel it’s their turn, they should do their own spade work so that they will be more acceptable than yourself. Power is not served alacart, you must struggle for it. So, on moral grounds, on basis of equity, it will be the turn of the South-East.
“South-East must step out to say it is our turn with enough punch and convincing reasons. Part of the reasons and the arguments will be that we are the only people that have not tasted it before and it will then touch people.
“But if you go into your bedrooms and stay and you are not in the part that makes the masquerade, I don’t know how you can come and say, put the masquerade on me.
“You must be there and that’s why we are saying, South Easterners must join our party in good numbers. South Easterners must vote for our party in good numbers to make Buhari President for a second time.”
Ngige stressed that the zone should stop crying of marginalisation because most of the infrastructures in the area abandoned by the previous governments have been getting attention of the Buhari administration.
Ngige continued, “There’s nothing that is being shared, that is not equitably done. Buhari has flagship presidential intervention fund. Flagship projects, five; Lagos-Ibadan to Ilorin Mambila Power Plants Hydro; Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Highway; Second Niger Bridge and East West roads. Look at how it was shared.
“So, how are you left out, why are you crying marginalisation, why are you crying wolf when there is none and it is this mentality of nwokpuru, nwokpuru mentality that I’m telling you people that you have to come out from.”
Meanwhile, Ngige has disclosed that the Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, would join the APC immediately after his tenure as the Governor of the state.
He said, “When he finishes serving, he will come. I’m sure. He is a pragmatist, he is a realist. I have tried to let him know that APGA is good but it’s a regional party. You can’t use a regional party to go and do election and fight.
“People have abandoned the idea of regional parties. That’s why AD, AC decided that after many years of staying at the periphery of Federal Government, they decided to coalesce with LPP; CPC and rebel faction of APGA led by Okorocha and formed APC.
“So, regional parties are not in vogue and the governor knows. Even his predecessor, Peter Obi when he was using APGA to canvass and do other things, it dawned on him that he cannot be playing in the region with a regional party.
“He can’t come to national with a regional party and that is why he unceremoniously decamped and defected. In fact, they started the defection you are seeing today. Peter Obi is part of the defectors, early defectors.
“So, he joined the PDP but Obiano is a progressive. Any day he will do it, we will sit with him and arrange it in such a way that the Igbo will go into a party that will reckon with them and that party is APC,” Ngige maintained.