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South-East support for Buhari in 2019 key to Igbo presidency 2023—Senator

A new political equation on how the South East can secure presidency seamlessly come 2023 has been laid on the table by the Senator representing Imo West (Orlu Zone) Senatorial zone who was election under the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), but has recently decamped to the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), Chief Hope Uzodinma.

In a recent interview, the new decampee, who has been having issues with the state governor, Owelle ROchas Okorocha over clashes of political interest in 2019, said for the region to get the position, “It is about doing the right thing first. Here the first right thing to do is to mobilise support for President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 and ensure that we massively support his victory thereof. As you mobilise this support and it is crystal clear that a huge difference is noticeable, you can also negotiate or make your interest in 2023 known”.

“Even without guarantees, you can still get what you want if you truly bring a huge difference to bear in the outcome of the 2019 elections.

“Now another election is around the corner and if you look carefully you will discover that the alliances of 2015 are still intact. The election of a Nigerian president has always been a product of alliances, not sentiment. So can we really afford another miscalculation and be the complainant again in 2019.

“I think the South-east should put on her thinking cap and take the right political steps for 2019. This is what I am working on right now with like minds.

While denying the trending poser that he joined APC to actualize his governorship ambition, the chairman, Senate Committee on Customs relied that “If being governor of Imo State is my only worry, I can actually achieve that from any party platform. I could have joined APGA or any other party. I can assure you that my support base in Imo State is quite formidable and I can use that to pursue a governorship ambition. But there is more at stake than just being Imo governor”. “I will not want to be a governor of Imo State while the South-east is not adequately accommodated at the Federal level. So I think the immediate task now is to reverse the relative exclusion of the South-east from the Federal Government. An assurance of that is my priority and that is what I am working on right now.

Continuing, Senator Uzodinma argued that “When you achieve this, you will be in a position of strength to participate in all the post-election talks about the next election. Again, when you have demonstrated your strength in 2019, you have positioned yourself so strongly that nobody can afford to ignore you. So automatically you are in a position to be taken seriously at negotiations and once you achieve that you can negotiate your way through the presidency for 2023.

On why the lawmaker was so sure that Buhari will win in 2019, answered saying, “First of all, take a good look at the groups on in the other political parties. We don’t even know who their aspirants are. How many people have declared interest to run for the presidency in PDP, SDP and the other political parties? By now, we should have known a good number of aspirants who want to challenge Buhari”.

“That has not happened. So I ask when will it happen and how much time will they have to market themselves as the alternative to Buhari? So Nigerians as of today don’t even know who the alternative or alternatives to Buhari is or are. What do you make of that? So as it were, APC has an incumbent President who has declared interest for re-election. The opposition parties are short in coming up with alternatives to Buhari. So, you can reach your own conclusions,” Senator Uzodinma averred.

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