Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
Key leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the South-East on Saturday met in Owerri, the Imo State capital, and unanimously maintained that the region is now more united than ever, insisting that the zone is not marginalised contrary to utterances by some politicians and groups across the zone.
The APC South-East leaders also said that the claim of marginalisation of Igbo people is mere speculation and the figment of the imagination of those who are not well informed.
The delegation was led by former President of the Senate, Chief Ken Nnamani, and included Minister of Science and Technology Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of Labour and Productivity Dr Chris Ngige, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Geoffrey Onyema, Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development, Dr Uche Ogah, Minister of State, Education, Dr Emeka Nwajiuba, and Sir Frank Ibezim.
Addressing newsmen at the end of their brief closed-door meeting, Nnamani, who is currently representing the South-East in the National Caretaker Committee of the APC, said they came on a solidarity visit to the Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma, who is the only APC governor in the South-East.
Nnamani said they did not only come to wish Governor Uzodinma well but to tell him they are impressed with what they have seen on the ground, ‘believing strongly that there is a lot of hope in the person Hope as the Governor of Imo State.’
The former President of the Senate enjoined the media to do well to report positively, reassuring the people of Imo State, South-East and the APC that ‘the South East is witnessing a new dawn with the high performance of her leaders.’
Corroborating the reason for the visit, Governor Uzodinma added that the APC government in Imo State is the gateway to integrating Igbos into the National political and socio-economic grid as well as the policy framework of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Governor Uzodinma said that the APC Igbo leaders in the South-East are properly equipped to direct and guide the Igbo to ensure that whatsoever is due to them from the Federal Government will get to them.
The governor said the leaders from the South-East are on a wider consultation to ensure that the South-East embraces and integrates into what is coming from the Federal Government through proper alignment with its policies and programmes for the greater benefit of the people.
Responding to questions on the chances of the Igbo occupying the office of the Nigerian President in 2023, Governor Uzodinma emphasised that what should bother the Igbo is ‘Nigerian President of Igbo extraction’ and not Igbo President of Nigeria.
He said: ‘The South-East is part of Nigeria, South-East leaders exhibit all qualities and capabilities for good governance and as such believe that the APC as the ruling party in Nigeria will make the right decision at the appropriate time.’
Speaking on behalf of the South-East ministers who attended the meeting, Dr Ngige said they are at the Federal Executive Council on effective representation, ‘getting what is the due share for the South-East.’
He enumerated projects, both completed and ongoing, which the South-East has benefitted from the APC-led government at the centre to include: the credit empowerment Scheme, the N-power project, Home School Feeding programme, East Coast Rail project running from Lagos-Benin-Onitsha-Nnewi to Owerri.
Dr Ngige also said that South-East is equally benefitting from the Sukuk Project which has resulted in the reconstruction of Enugu-Port Harcourt and Enugu-Onitsha express road.
He assured that ‘as long as we are there, the South-East and the Igbos, in general, will never lose any of their rights.’