From Chidi Nnadi, Enugu
Former Abia State governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, at the weekend, said Igbo will give President Muhammadu Buhari over 70 per cent votes in the 2019 presidential election.
Buhari had stated that Igbo gave him five per cent votes at the 2015 presidential election and, as such, should not expect him to reciprocate differently.
But, Kalu, who spoke with newsmen at the country home of an All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain and Chief Executive Officer of Peace Mass Transit, Dr. Sam Onyishi, said Igbo will massively support the president in 2019.
The former governor, who was hosted by Onyishi in his Nsukka home, after he received an honorary doctorate degree on Public Administration from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), at the weekend, said it would be after Igbo supports Buhari in 2019, that the people would now boldly approach him to get their due from his government.
Kalu assured that president Buhari will address of marginalisation of Igbo which, he noted, is deep-rooted and would not have been addressed over-night.
“Marginalisation of Igbo did not start today. It is something that has been there immediately after the civil war; so, Buhari will not take only four years to correct it.
“We were not on board in 2015, but, we will be on board in 2019, and we will address the issue. I want to be involved when I have given the votes, because, when you give votes, you can ask questions. If I don’t give votes, I cannot ask questions; I cannot come to paradise with 0.5 per cent votes for the president; I want to give the president over 70 per cent votes, than, I can ask questions and say ‘I was sent by my people.’”
Kalu, who said he is a great supporter of president Buhari, assured the support would translate to votes for the president in 2019 in the region.
Asked if he was sure the president would run in 2019, he answered in the affirmative, and added that the president is eminently qualified to run.
“I joined the APC to encourage president Buhari to run, again, and we are going to use his regime to correct the injustice meted to Ndigbo and also, fight for the oneness of the country.
“I didn’t join the APC to go and look at the rock in Abuja; I joined the APC to use it for the benefit of Igbo and Nigeria at large,” he said.
He also thanked the UNN for finding him worthy for the doctorate degree, and disclosed that he was told that of 70 members who voted for recipients of the degrees, over 60 voted for him.
“I am excited that Igbo intellectuals recognised me on their own.
“As I was told, there were 70 Senate members of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and over 60 voted for me to be given this honorary doctorate degree, so, I am excited,” he said.