President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday said some well-meaning Igbo leaders asked him to disregard southeast leaders’ backing of ex-vice-president Atiku Abubakar for Nigeria’s highest office in 2019.
Buhari, who is vying for a second term in office, made the remark when a group of select leaders from the southeast paid him a visit at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
Southeast leaders, comprising those in the political, traditional and religious domains, were reported to have endorsed the presidential candidate of the main opposition party in Nigeria, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku, for the 2019 elections.
They declared their support for Atiku and his running mate Peter Obi, who hails from the region, after a Summit in Enugu state.
In a communique read by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria Olisa Agbakoba, the leaders said that Atiku and Obi were endorsed because of their restructuring plans for the country.
But another set of leaders from the region has distanced itself from Atiku and Obi’s endorsement.
And in his reaction to what appears to be a lack of cohesion among Igbo leaders as regards the choice of Atiku, Buhari said he was not surprised.
According to a statement by his media aide Garba Shehu, Buhari said that the moment the resolution was announced, he got calls from well-meaning leaders from the region asking him to disregard it as it was without any substance.
He said “From that moment, I knew that the resolution would not stand, and alas, there it was.”
Buhari said that his party, the All Progressives Congress, got it right from the very beginning that the major problems facing Nigeria were mainly on security, corruption and the economy.
“We have done so much. Given the chance, we will do more. Given every chance, we will tell Nigerians where we were in 2015 and what we have achieved up to now,” he added.
“We will not get tired of speaking about the golden opportunity Nigeria lost during 16 years of the PDP. We earned money, which we didn’t use.”