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Sunday, 20 November 2016

In Giving Capital Projects Buhari Seeks South-East Support For 2019

Buhari seeks South-East support for 2019 by giving capital projects
As part of political realignment ahead of the 2019 general elections, President Muhammadu Buhari’s strategists are wooing the South-East with capital projects, PUNCH reports.
It was gathered in Abuja on Saturday that the President had directed that infrastructure gaps in the South-East should be bridged.
It was also learnt that apart from reviving old alliances with associates, the president’s allies were also counting on political bridges built by northern politicians with their eastern counterparts over the years.

In addition to these political moves, Buhari was said to have ordered contractors handling various infrastructural projects in the zone to return to site.
This is aimed at ensuring the speedy completion of the rehabilitation of some federal roads in the region.
Findings showed that emphasis would be placed on the following projects: Port Harcourt-Aba Road, Abriba-Arochukwu-Ohafia Road (Abia State,; Oji-Achi-Obeagu-Mmaku-Awgu-Ndeaboh-Mpu-Okpanku Road (Enugu State), Second Niger Bridge and the Ikot Ekpene Border-Aba-Owerri Road (Akwa Ibom/Abia and Imo States).
Buhari is also said to be eager to erase the impression that he would punish the zone for voting against him during the 2015 election.
This is coming on the heels of subtle threats by some members of the ruling All Progressives Congress, especially from the South-West, to reassess their membership.
A prominent member of the party, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “Of course, a lot of realignment is going on.
“Even the media war between former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, should tell you something.”
He added, “The 2015 elections taught us that no part of this country can be ignored. The PDP took the North-Central for granted and they paid for it. The news from the South-West is giving us concerns but we are addressing the issues. We don’t want to leave anything to chance.
“The president is a better politician than many are willing to give him credit for. He listens, he has instructed that infrastructure, especially roads in the zone, be revisited. He knows such projects have a direct impact on the lives of ordinary people.”
The Director General of the Voice of Nigeria, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, however, said it would be wrong to give political colouration to the president’s desire to give every part of Nigeria a sense of belonging.
He explained that in one of his first acts as president, Buhari approved a bailout for interested state governments, irrespective of political affiliations to access funds to pay their workers, some of whom were owed up to 18 months.
Okechukwu said, “The rehabilitation of roads has started across the land not only in the South-East. Mr. President is looking for the best way to meet up with the promises we made during the campaign.
“On the issue of our south-eastern brothers coming back home to the APC where they belong, you and I know that nobody can poach somebody like Orji Uzor Kalu. He is not a hungry man.”
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media, Garba Shehu, could not be reached for a reaction as calls to his mobile telephone were neither picked nor returned. There was no response to a text message sent to him as of the time of filing this report.
However, a highly placed Presidency source told our correspondent, “I am not aware of any special plan for the South-East but I know a stakeholders’ meeting similar to what was held for the South-South is being planned for the South-East (Zone) this year.”

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