Boss Mustapha, secretary to the government of the federation, has asked the south-east to endorse President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election bid in order to secure the presidency in 2023.
Mustapha said this after the meeting between Buhari and the south-east governors at the presidential villa on Wednesday.
On whether Buhari used the opportunity to solicit the votes of the south-east, Mustapha said: “This obviously might not be most appropriate time. You remember there was a programme in the south-east where Mr. President asked me to represent him and I flew the kite by telling the south-eastern states that their quickest and easiest means to 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.
“Whatever you bring as an investment when dividends are going to be shared, you will get proportionate with your investment and your investment in politics is what you bring to the table and I urge the Southeast to look at this matter seriously that every time we have a presidency in Nigeria, it is negotiated in several ways. Either negotiated by votes or what you bring to the table and you must negotiate from the position of strength.
“You can’t negotiate from the point of weakness and I believe that that message resonated with the people and their response now is attributable to the fact that even before the flag-off of the campaigns, we have laid it bare on the table for Southeastern states to consider the prospect of working with us to ensure that at least by the time President Buhari finishes his second tenure, they can make a shot at the presidency depending on what they bring to the table.”
Mr Mustapha added that the visit afforded government the opportunity to highlight its projects in the region.
“It has corrected the impression that the federal government was not doing anything for the people of the zone,” he said.
“We received very high powered delegation today led by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and three of their governors and a deputy governor with the DG of the Forum of the Southeast Governors. 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 Southeast.
“They appreciate the fact that the second Niger Bridge was a paper issue in the last five, six decades. They are convinced that the decision to complete the Niger Bridge is real, contract has been awarded by this government for N206 billion of investment and the road networks and other things we are doing in the southeast, it is a mark of appreciation for the leadership that President Muhammadu Buhari is providing for this country
“The south-east is an integral part of this country. It must be accorded its appropriate place in the scheme of things and we believe strongly that this particular government has extended its hands of friendship to the south-eastern states and by the efforts that have been put in place to ensure infrastructural development and integration.”