Leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the South-east on Thursday said the party hopes to win at least three governorship elections in the region.
The party also said it was targeting at least three speakership positions in the state assemblies in the zone and also hopes to have its members win a majority of the National Assembly seats for the zone.
The APC last year lost Imo State, the only state it controlled in the region, to the opposition People Democratic Party (PDP) during the general elections.
Four out of the five states in the region – Abịa, Ebonyi, Imo and Enugu – are controlled by the PDP while Anambra is controlled by the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA).
The Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, revealed the party’s target at his country home Uburu, Ohaozara Local government area of Ebonyi State, during a stakeholders’ meeting.
According to him, for the target to be achieved, the party leaders in the zone must come together to strategically reposition the party in the region, ahead of 2023 general elections.
He urged aggrieved party faithful to forgive whatever wrongs may have been done to them so as to forge a common front ahead of the next general elections.
“I will like to appeal to all our members in the South-east, please no matter how the party offended you, no matter what any person may have done against you, please try and forgive because all of us are Christians. We believe very strongly when offended if we forgive that we are lifting even a great burden from ourselves.
“We no longer want to have factions, we have seen that in Nigeria, the APC is the governing party and this party is very strong and will keep governing Nigeria for a long time to come.
“But in the southeast geo-political zone, we are the only zone without a governor elected on the platform of APC.
So we want a change. We have our best people representing us at the National Working Committee of our great party, they have been giving us good leadership and we believe very strongly that if we keep supporting them, with what I have seen, by 2023 we should be aiming at a minimum of three governors elected on the platform of the APC.
“We will have majority of the seats in the National Assembly from the southeast. We will also have majority of the seats at the state assemblies in our various states so that we will be producing a minimum of three speakers. Once we do this, it will help us, nobody will ever say that the southeast does not make contributions to the party,” Mr Onu said
The leaders alleged that the PDP governors in the zone are taking the glory for achievements of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government.
The party also said there was low publicity in the media for programmes, projects and policies carried out in the zone by the APC-led federal government.
They expressed worry that most of the achievements recorded by the president in the zone were not known by people of the South-east, adding that the Southeastners believed that the PDP leaders were the ones executing the projects.
According to Mr Onu, most of Mr Buhari’s achievements in the region were being downplayed in the minds of the people, owing to lack of adequate and right communication strategies.
The minister noted that if nothing had happened under the administration of Mr Buhari in the zone, the honour it accorded to two of its illustrious sons and leaders. the late Nnamdi Azikiwe and the late Alex Ekwueme, in recognition of their contribution to the growth of Nigeria, should not be forgotten in a hurry.
He urged leaders of the party in the region to rise up and defend the party for it to take its rightful place in 2023.
“Our achievements are not known by the people. There are so many things the Buhari regime has achieved, but our people know little or nothing about them. This is why it is appears the current federal government under Buhari has done nothing in Igbo land. This must not continue.
“Think of the Enugu International Airport, that the President released N10 billion for its repair. We may not know the importance of this project until it is fully completed. The Minister of Aviation has given us his words that by Easter this year, the airport will be up and running. This will boost the economy of the South-east region, among other benefits.
“Think about the Second Niger Bridge. The president said he is not going to play politics with that project like the PDP government did in 16 years. So, let’s continue to sing our praises and let our people know what the government is doing for us in this zone. This is important so that the opposition party (the PDP) will not take our glory,” the minister added.
A former governor of Enugu State, Sullivan Chime, in his address, blamed leaders of the party in the zone for not adequately trumpeting the numerous developmental strides of the party across the region.
“A lot is happening under this federal government, but our people don’t know about them . There was a surprise in this festive period. As a matter of fact, one can drive from Enugu to Aba, hitch-free without some traffic hurdles. Although there are some portions of the road that are still bad, but it’s better than what we had before.
“The PDP is taking glory for the achievements of the APC government. Something they could not do in 16 years, now those things are being done and they are now posing as if they are the ones doing them. We need to create a lot of awareness to let our people know what is going on,” Mr Chime said.