Ahead of the 2023 Presidential elections, Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State yesterday said that no one will get ticket at the market square, rather it is the decision of the political party.
Governor Uzodinma also warned politicians particularly those from South East that they will go hungry if they choose to remain in the opposition.
The Governor stated this while speaking with State House correspondents, after meeting behind closed doors with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He told journalists that the Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, who recently left the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, after he accused the party of not zoning the 2023 presidential ticket to South East, did not tell him of any plans to vie for Presidential ticket in the All Progressives Congress, APC.
He said the ruling party’s ambition was to get into its fold as many Nigerians as possible, hence the current drive for opposition politicians.
On the South East presidency, he said, “What we are doing in the south East as a party is carrying the message of the party. Before this time some of us believed that we should have marketed the ideologies and policies better than the past leadership did.
“What we are trying to do is to explain to our people the need to see that this Nigerian project belong to all of us and if you jump out of the train don’t accuse anybody of pushing you out of the train.
“It is not about whether you want to be president now or not. You don’t get Presidential ticket by the market square, it is the decision of the political party, you must be loyal to your political party.
“So I know that my brother Umahi is politically strong in the south East and joining APC would add to the value of the party in my region but he never told me he is coming because he will be President.
“So, I want this people who want to cause confusion and create bad name for Umahi to run run away from that point and then encourage our people who have decided to align with the ruling party so that if you check very well.
“Before 1999, in the first republic we had NPC going into alliance with NCNC for government to be formed. Zik became president though ceremonial and then NPC produced the prime minister.
“Even in the second republic, for proper democracy to be marketed, we went into an alliance NPN, in that alliance the south East produced the Vice President in the person of Chief Alex Ekwueme and Ume – Ezeoke as speaker of the House of Representatives so we were better.
“The meaning of power is proximity to the source of authority, once you have access. Every ethnic zone wants to come close to the Centre, even if you are not the head you can be the neck or shoulder.
“We want to be part of that body called Nigeria and that way we will move in a very United manner. If Umahi did not come I told you after I won my election that part of my job is that I will deploy political evangelism and convince my people to join our party because our programmes are very bright.
“So now we are gradually making a success, today it is Ebonyi , who knows who it will be next , my hope and prayer is that before the end of this year two more governors will join APC. God helps us and it works, I am home and dry.”
On the allegation that the APC led government was heading to make Nigeria a one party state, he said,”I don’t think so, if you recall our history from 1999 till date you will agreee with me that at a time PDP had 28 states and they were still looking to remove the very few states of the other parties.
“Now how many states do we have as APC? And the whole thing about politics is, it is like evangelism. Every serious political party must have an expansionist mentality to expand their membership.
“I think we will continue to encourage our people because the whole idea is that once the idealogy is right, the system is working, nobody wants to go to a war that he will lose, so you join those who are winning.
“I think Nigerians overtime have bought into the ideals of the founders of APC, manifesto of the party and given the achievements of the party, despite the crisis globally, despite the security issues, you can see that Nigeria is still surviving.
” I was watching on the TV, go to India and see the quantum of protests going on, all over the world protests. But the EndSars protest that was like the end of Nigeria, you can see how God has helped us to come out of it.
“We have a beautiful country and the government in power, we have a president who is very humble and who has a target and he is going to his target irrespective of what people are saying.
“He doesn’t belive we should waste our resources over frivolous matters and issues and never in the history of this country and I can bet on it that any president or government created the number of social interventions programs that this government has done.
“As I speak to you, little kids are being fed in school, social programs of empowerment,1000 jobs per local government in 774 LGAs
“The anchor borrowers programme and we should celebrate our success. People have not seen that this government has almost achieved food security, where everything we eat now are produced in Nigeria.
“Unlike before when we had to queue and wait for rice imported from Europe and Asia, now the borders are closed, a bag of rice would have reached 100 thousand but the price has been between 22 thousand. So I think what we need to do as a country is change of attitude and where we have done well acknowledge we have done well.
“I think if it’s possible for all of us to belong to the APC since the APC as I speak to you now has the best political manifesto, programmes and government in power, I see nothing wrong in all of us joining APC based on conviction not that you are coerced into joining APC, but if you volnetary come into APC, our dream is to have every citizens of Nigeria become a member of our party because we have to be ambitious.”