Chief Daniel Okeke, the Ceo of Express Concern limited and a chieftain of the All Progress Congress writes on the need to support the candidacy of OUK for Deputy Senate president by the party leadership in a statement signed and made available to us.
Chief Daniel Okeke said and i quote him that Dr Orji Uzor Kalu is a core party man who understands politics and loyalty to party and is a symbol of integration and has be adjoined a political jagaban in the East where he is prominent and as one who is in pursuit of peace or a peace ambassador, he can’t go contrary to rules and regulations guiding the APC as a party and as an influencer cum philanthropist, the people of the nation stands to benefit more because he is a man who understands the plight of our nation and in this manner, will pursue people oriented bills and as a businessman, he will use his office to attract investors to Nigeria. OUK has performed more than any other person in abia state since 2015 till date (both political office holders and non political office holders ) in so many areas like attraction of road contractions spread across the state, human capacity building and youth empowerment. Orji during his tenure as governor gave Abians free education to secondary level and was very punctual in payment of salaries as governor.
Chief Daniel said, Today I bring to you the valid concerns of a people; and give voice to the utter trepidation of more than 20 million Nigerians of South-East extraction spread across the country. Many of these people love this country so dearly and have invested in this country with their blood and sweat. They are eager to integrate into the mainstream as development partners of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), but we always ﬁnd ways to throw up walls of barrier on their faces.
We hardly ever give them a fair deal! Such harsh scenarios saw our forefathers opposed Nigeria out of the union with such ﬁrm resolve that they were willing to go to war to challenge injustice, even at the cost of a million lives. Many did not desire war, but the injustice melted on them gave them little or no choice than to take up arms against our dear country which is regrettably not the desires of the Igbos but cohabitation with other ethic nationalities in Nigeria. When the dust of that war settled and the white ﬂags were up, there were assurances and reassurances. The words went out – No victor, no vanquished – and for whatever it was worth, we were asked to remain in the union for we were better as one nation. Not a few of our people believed that. Most told their children who passed it on through many generations that we are stronger together.
But many years down the line, the South-East and indeed the former eastern region comprising the Igbo, Itsekiri, Ibibio, Tiv, Idoma, Junkun and many others are still faced with rejection, denials, deprivations and exclusion, of political and socio-economic ramiﬁcations. Regrettably, this scenario continues to fuel and amplify the voice of few of our agitating brothers who purport to seek the end of the union, in the absence of fairness and justice. For this same reason, many of us from across the old Eastern Region dumped our traditional platforms and joined the APC in the hope that we would be absorbed into the mainstream, with substantial dividend from the centre streaming down to our people as testimony that we are better and stronger as one united country.
Leaders of our great party, the APC always wonder why the people of the South-East pander to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) always, but the answer stares us in the face. Imagine the multiplier effect across the South-East! And it becomes just natural that they will pander to the party that embraced and included them in the scheme of things. It also makes it easier for these top functionaries of the PDP to convince and steer their people to supporting the party in every electioneering period. But in our case we are left to swim against the tide. Our assurances to our people that the APC mean well for our people and are willing to integrate us into the mainstream always fall ﬂat on its face because of the atittude of our party to the region. In 2015, the APC denied the South-East principal-oﬃce positions in the National Assembly on the ground that we did not have a ranking member under the APC. Four years after, we have produced two ranking members and now our party seems set to shift the goal post again.
From established political norms and antecedents, in the spirit of natural justice and equity, what we thought our party would have naturally bequeathed us – the Senate Presidency or the Speakership of the House of Representatives – are now subjects of political contention and controversy.
However, now that the party, in its wisdom, has decided to zone the Senate President position to the North-East, we strongly believe that the just and equitable thing for our party to do, is to zone the deputy Senate president to the South-East. Instead, what we see rankles our sense of justice and distorts the pattern of fair sharing as intended by the Federal Character clause in our constitution. A situation where the same geopolitical zone which produced the Vice President of the country and the National leader of our party, is seen scheming and demanding, with a bloated sense of entitlement.
For so many of us across the old Eastern Region who have already bought into the President Muhammadu Buhari’s core political ideals, no level of gerrymandering or political shenanigans can shake us off now! And we can state without a jot of equivocation that we believe in this nation, its unity and oneness. And there is no region of this country that is more Nigerian than the people of the South-East. And this is evidenced by our spread and investment in every state of the federation. Nevertheless, our belief in this country, its unity and growth should not come at the cost of the exclusion of a vital section of this country – the South-East. It is lamentable that a few elements in the party who are yet to fully align with Mr. President’s reassurances after his re-election, that he will run an all-inclusive government, continue to put up actions that tends to lend credence to the activities of a few agitators in the South-East. They have readily supplied fodders for their cannons. In spite of the odds stacked against us, members of the APC in the South-East have shown immense capacity and leadership in the region and should be encouraged with such strategic position as the Speakership of the House of Representatives.It is on record that the APC, South-East massively mobilized their people for President Buhari and ensured that the opposition did not, as usual, fraudulently return the scandalous ﬁgures of 2015. A review of the vote haul of the APC in the 2015 presidential election and 2019 presidential elections in the South-East clearly indicates a more than 100 percent improvement on the presidential election outcome in the region.
In 2015 presidential election, the APC polled a total of 198,248 votes from across the ﬁve states of the South-East while in 2019, it bagged a total of 403,958 votes from the same region.
This eloquently speaks of loyalty and commitment. We so passionately wish to change the narrative that APC is unpopular in the South-East. But we need encouragement; we need to be able to show our people that this party really means well for our region.In this regard, the deputy Senate president office will indeed suﬃce. I believe our great party would have taken home some lessons from the 2019 general elections; to make amends and build a stronger party for the 2023 polls. One of such lessons is our perception that the voter strength of the South-East is comparatively inconsequential.The 2019 elections suﬃciently proved this to be a thoroughly ﬂawed perception. It was evident that the people of the South-East across the country voted as one block and they were strongly inﬂuencing outcome of elections wherever they reside. Several episodes across the country aﬃrmed this during the 2019 elections. And this should be instructional to our party. It is common knowledge that if the APC government had taken the South-East into conﬁdence and integrated them into the centre through strategic positioning of members of the party from the South-East, the 2019 election would have been a walk in the park for our party.
Our party has another opportunity to begin the process of redressing the political errors of the last election. After 2015 presidential election, Mr. President hinted that the region that did not vote him, may not get his full attention. At the 2019 polls, that policy did not compel the people of the South-East to vote for us. It didn’t work! Now in 2019, in his wisdom, Mr. President, during his acceptance speech, said his victory was for all Nigerians and his government would be all inclusive. The politics of exclusion did not yield much political dividends for our party in the South-East in the last election. Wisdom would advise that our party embrace the politics of inclusion.The politics of exclusion did not work, why don’t we try the politics of inclusion! And under the circumstance, the best way to start, is to zone the Deputy Senate President to the South-East.We therefore call on our party members from other geopolitical zones, jostling for the Deputy Senate President to withdraw from the race and support the South-East in the spirit of fairness, justice and equity.
My demand here is simple, every wishers of the South-East should support the candidacy of OUK, If we don’t the Igbo nationally will lose more because he remains the only person competent enough to fight for us because he is experienced, influencial , Pragmatic and outspoken and better in all ramiﬁcations
The conspiracy from certain interest groups in southwest against OUK is because it’s known to them that OUK is like all SS/SE elected Law makers put together. They said OUK even without any office allocated to him in the Senate, that he wields so much political power to usurp the power of the Senate president and make himself the center of attraction and decision maker in the Senate and and house of Rep
OUK with his political influence in APC especially among the northern politicians will scatter the gang up against ndigbo. Politics is about partnership. OUK will partner with the north to get igbos in the rightful positions in the National ASsembly as concluded by chief Daniel Okeke