The Director – General of Voice of Nigeria , Mr . Osita Okechukwu, has said Ndigbo will be the major beneficiaries of President Muhammadu Buhari ’ s second term in office.
The apex socio – political body of the Igbo , Ohanaeze Ndigbo , had, in a recent statement , said it was only interested in restructuring, and had not taken any decision on the 2019 elections.
Speaking in Enugu on Sunday , Okechukwu , a member of the All Progressives Congress , advised the Igbo to back Buhari for a second term , as , according to him , restructuring was already on the agenda of the Buhari – led Federal Government .
The VON boss added that the Igbo should support Buhari ’ s second term bid in order to have a chance of producing his (Buhari ’ s) successor in 2023.
Although the President had yet to declare his intention to go for another term , Okechukwu explained that Buhari would seek re – election.
Apparently reacting to Ohanaeze ’ s declaration that it was only concerned with restructuring, and was not thinking of the 2019 polls , Okechukwu said , “Restructuring is not a one- day event , but the golden opportunity of Buhari being the only northerner, going by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria , and the zoning convention , with only four years that ends in 2023 is a matter of fact.
“Voting for any other northerner means postponement of the golden opportunity which Mr . President’ s re -election offers Ndigbo.
“Restructuring is already on the cards of our party , the APC . Definitely some items will be restructured before the 2019 general elections, going by the Mallam Nasir el – Rufai committee ’ s recommendations . ”
Okechukwu noted that in addition to the chance of an Igbo succeeding Buhari , the region would also benefit from the President’ s infrastructural projects.
“Secondly , Ndigbo stand to benefit immensely from Buhari ’ s massive critical infrastructure – roads, rails , agriculture and power projects.
“ As one of the most hard- working and entrepreneurial people in Nigeria, we stand no doubt to gain from the 5 , 000 kilometres of federal roads , 5 , 000 kilometres of standard gauge rail lines , agrarian revolution and additional 5 , 000 megawatts of electricity , with a completion cycle of three to five years , ” he said .
Asked if he was sure that Buhari would actually back an Igbo candidate to succeed him , Okechukwu said , “It is not only about Buhari ’ s backing, it is more about paradigm shift in the voting pattern of Ndigbo in 2019 , which signposts realignment of political forces .
“The Igbo, since 1999 , have religiously been voting for the Peoples Democratic Party, without commensurate results . Common sense dictates a paradigm shift in our voting pattern in 2019 .
“Buhari in 2003 and 2007 had Igbo sons as running mates – Chuba Okadigbo and Edwin Umezoke of the blessed memory . Yet, we failed to vote for him.
“To align with the mainstream , we should vote for him now . He subscribes to equity and justice and cannot jeopardise the chances of a credible Igbo candidate who can appeal to our brothers and sisters in other regions , especially the South- West and South -South. ”
Okechukwu added that Buhari would definitely seek a second term in order to complete ongoing and planned Hinfrastructural projects.
He observed that it “would be suicidal ” if the people of the South- East opted to vote for the PDP once again , and therefore , miss the “infrastructure revolution ” .