April 11 elections: South-East must vote APC – Nwagwu

Kelechi Nwagwu is a medical doc­tor-turned-politician. He is the national coordinator, South-East Professionals for Buhari. He had a personal encounter with Buhari in Abuja 2011 during the CPC national stakeholders meeting. He was then a member of the nation­al consultative forum of the party. Since then, he has always admired him and supported his political ambition. He did a lot of articles in the media in that regard to support him in 2011. His words: “After the emergence of APC and Buhari’s desire to run again for president, I reached out to other like-minded professionals and together we activated the group and started canvassing support for him.

We saw him then and now as the type of leader Nigeria deserves, a strong leader that will tackle corruption head-on. We resolved to pass this message across the zone and be­yond. Now that he has won the battle to be­come the next president on May 29, 2015, we resolved again to congratulate him on emerg­ing victorious in the hard fought battle. It is a well deserved victory.” Dr. Nwagwu and his group believe that the zone got its politi­cal calculations wrong by not voting Buhari and APC in the last week’s Presidential and National Assembly elections. They want the zone to re-strategize and join the government at the centre by voting for APC in April 11, 2015 elections especially returning Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha. This, according to him, is to make sure that the zone is not left out in the political and economic leadership of the country now and beyond 2019. Nwag­wu spoke to OBIDIKE JERRY.


So, how do you see his performance in the South-East in the just concluded presidential election where he did not score up to 25 per cent in any of the South-East states?

We tried our best to make sure he got a better performance but we saw the way and manner the election was conducted in the zone, the sup­posed failure of the card readers and the resort to manual accreditation and the expected shortfalls, and the not too professional activities of men in uniform. Remember that at a point the governor raised alarm that almost all his commissioners were kept under house arrest. All these contrib­uted to the poor performance of APC in the last elections. However, the election is over and the candidate we supported has won. But let me put on record that the figures that came out or em­anated from the region were not true reflection of the situation on ground. I wouldn’t want us to begin to flog a dead horse, we should rather concentrate on the governorship and house of assembly elections coming up on Saturday, April 11, 2015. This time we want the region to get its political calculation and permutation right. Igbo should re-strategized and join the government at the centre by ensuring that they vote for APC candidates in the elections especially Governor Rochas Okorocha. We have made the mistake of not voting for APC candidates in the last elec­tions. Effectively, we don’t have any senator or house of representative member although we still have unconcluded elections in that regard.

Talking about returning Gov. Rochas Okoro­cha, it is in our strategic political interest to have an APC governor for future political calculations. When Gen. Buhari completes his tenure in 2019 or thereabout, the Igbo might stand a chance of winning the APC ticket for the presidential race.

On Nigerians expectations of Buhari now that he has won?

I have always believed he would do the much he said he was going to do. If you followed his campaign across the country, he concentrated on three issues mainly. He spoke about security especially in the north eastern part of the coun­try, that is, Boko Haram. After he received his certificate of return recently from INEC, he still emphasized that Boko Haram will be decimated very soon. He spoke about the economy espe­cially with regard to infrastructure and job cre­ation. He also spoke about waging war against corruption. We believe him because in his first coming, he showed the way in tackling indis­cipline and corruption. And want to emphasize what I have said severally in other fora that lead­ers should lead by example. And when you do that, you will discover that followers will take a cue from that. If the problem of corruption is tackled, a lot of money will be freed to deploy to other areas of need in the country including agriculture, health care, education, etc. Regard­ing the South-East, I had alreadytweeted to him. The second Niger Bridge is very dear to us. In the tweet, I urge him to cancel any project based on public private partnership where there’s going to be tolling. Such a contract is not acceptable to South-East people. That project has to be 100 per cent funded by the Federal Government. I also spoke about the state of roads in the South-East. We deserve to have an east-west rail line and gas pipeline. This will revive a lot of industries in the southeast and help create employment.

Do you think he will do all that consid­ering the fact that he did not get much of Igbo votes? He did not get 25 per cent in SouthEast?

I think he is intelligent enough to figure out what happened. I did not expect him to easily win South-East but certainly he would have done better especially in Imo State. Don’t tell me he would not have got 25 per cent if we had credible election there. So, I am sure he knows what the clear picture is. And he had already made his mission statement clear that nobody will be victimized on the basis of region, reli­gion, gender and the rest. So, it will be un-pres­idential if he begins to treat regions according to how they voted. He has been elected as the president of the federal republic of Nigeria and he has to govern as the president of the federal republic of Nigeria.

Going forward, what is your advice in terms of the composition of his govern­ment?

We have the law called federal character, which makes it compulsory that every state must be represented in the cabinet. Beyond that I am sure that every part of the country will be car­ried along. I expect him to equally carry party people who worked for him along. Even if he wants to use technocrats, he can still find them among his party members. That is not to say he should not go beyond the party in constituting his cabinet. He should have a blend of politicians, professionals, and technocrats in his cabinet. His government should be an inclusive one. Well, it is prerogative but I am just talking as a leader of one the groups that supported him.

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