President Muhammadu Buhari will visit the South-east zone in March to formally receive some notable Igbo leaders including former Governor of the old Anambra State, Senator Jim Nwobodo, former Governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu and billionaire businessman, Ifeanyi Ubah, among others who recently joined the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Briefing journalists in Enugu yesterday, the Chairman of the local organising committee (LOC) of the Buhari Support Organisation (BSO), who also doubles as BSO Chairman in Enugu State, Chief Anike Nwoga, said although the exact date has not been fixed, there was optimism that the event would take place in Enugu in March.
Since Buhari’s assumption of office in May 2015, notable politicians in the South-east, mostly from the former ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had decamped to the APC in their numbers, a development the APC in the zone had applauded.
Nwoga who was flanked at the briefing by the party’s Publicity Secretary in the state, Mrs. Kate Ofor, Director General of the Voice of Nigeria (VON), Osita Okechukwu and other leaders of the APC in the state disclosed that Enugu State will be hosting the National Committee of BSO in the five South-east states on January 21, 2017 to put finishing touches to the planned mega rally in March.
“Our meeting of January 21 is to strategise on how to give our brothers and sisters
a rousing welcome in the months ahead. For us, it is a celebration that majority of Igbos are acknowledging the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari towards improving the infrastructure base in the South-east, which wallowed in dilapidation during the 16 years rule of the PDP, a party that Ndigbo gave 100 per cent support.
“In just 24 months, the current Buhari-led APC administration will achieve what its predecessors in the PDP-led federal government failed to do on the roads in the South-east region- Aba-Calabar, Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene, Owerri-Port Harcourt Enugu-Onitsha and Enugu-Port Harcourt expressways- in 16 years. In the 2017 budget, the South-east region got an allocation of N26billion for road projects, with Anambra State getting N13.7 billion; Abia State, N1.3 billion; Ebonyi State, N1.4 billion; Enugu State, N7.5 billion, while Imo State got N2.2 billion,” he said
He added that only recently, the Federal Executive Council approved additional N16billion payment for the construction of the Second Niger Bridge.
“As you are equally aware, the federal government recently released N388.304 billion as refunds of over-deductions on London-Paris Club loans, of which Enugu State got N9 billion,” he said. He therefore applauded Enugu State Governor, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, for making the N9.972billion received by Enugu State open and channelling it into payment of arrears of salaries and pensions as well as monies owed to contractors as directed by the president.
“However, we urge the governor to ensure that unelected local government chairmen do not partake in the disbursement of the monies recently received, since they do not hold the mandate of the people. We still use this opportunity to call for local government elections as enshrined in Section 7 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).”
Nwoga therefore used the opportunity to appeal to Ndigbo to have faith in the administration of President Buhari, expressing optimism that in the fullness of time, the administration would fulfill all promises made to the South-east region.