If the South-East is to realise their presidential ambition in 2023, the zone will need to support President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election in 2019, the presidency has told people of that part of the country.
The Presidency also said the South-East people are integral part of the country and would be accorded appropriate place in the scheme of things.
Speaking to newsmen on Wednesday after a meeting between President Buhari and the South-East governors at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said the visit was remarkable and had corrected the impression that the Federal Government was not doing anything for the people of the zone.
According to him, “we received a very high-powered delegation today (yesterday) and I think it is a remarkable visit because they came essentially to thank Mr. President over the major activities that have taken place in the South-East.”
On whether President Buhari solicited the votes of the South-East at the meeting, the SGF said: “This obviously might not be the most appropriate time.
“You remember there was a programme in the South-East where Mr. President asked me to represent him and I threw the kite by telling the south-eastern states that their quickest and easiest means to the presidency is to support President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term.
“Meaning that they can short circuit the period in terms of only having him there for another four years and whatever they do in 2019 will determine what will happen thereafter, because politics is a game of numbers and it is like a cooperative society.”
Meanwhile, speaking to newsmen after the meeting, Chairman of the South-East Governors Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief Dave Umahi, said issues on the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, and the need to increase mobilisation fee to Julius Berger that is handling the second Niger Bridge project to 50 percent were among issues discussed.
His words: “We thanked him for that economic free trade zone. And then we talked about the Enugu international airport, we asked him to deploy the cargo section of the airport, complete the building and extend the runway and also rebuild the runway, because it is very bumpy and the tarmac light is not functioning.
“We also thanked him for the roads and we reminded him that the slow pace of work was attributed to the rains; now that the rains are gone the contractors are complaining of no funding. So we requested that he should do something about the funding.”
He added that they also discussed power supply to Aba and the railway projects.
On whether they were bargaining chips for 2019, Governor Umahi said: “It has no political intentions because these are economic issues and they are not new.”