By ISMAILA CHAFE
ABUJA- President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday in Abuja met behind closed door with Gov. Dave Umahi of Ebonyi.
Speaking to State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, Umahi said he was in the State House to invite the president to inaugurate new Ebonyi State Governor’s Lodge, recently completed by his administration.
According to him, the president has accepted the invitation and the project will be inaugurated in October.
Speaking about the relevance of the new governor’s lodge recently built by his administration, the governor said:
“I build mind-blowing projects to let, first and foremost, our brothers and sisters in the Southeast know Ebonyi State has come of age.
”So, if I have achieved nothing, it’s to instill confidence in our people because even when we talk about marginalization of Southeast, you come to Southeast, we talk about the marginalization of Ebonyi people.
“So, I built that project for people like you, to assure you that we went to the same school, that we have the same brain and that we’ve come of age and that nobody should neglect Ebonyi State again.
”And to some people, we use it to punish them, those who neglect us are being punished by this gigantic project and my projects are projects you can’t find anywhere in Southeast.
“You can crosscheck that. So, it’s for punishment.
”The benefit is to instill confidence in our people, to make our people number one in everything we do.
”That’s why when you are going to marry, you don’t wear tattered dress, and you ask yourself, what is the economic benefit of the beautiful dress you are putting on? It’s to instill confidence and make your bride to accept,” he said.
On politics, Umahi predicted victory for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2023 Presidential election.
He, however, picked the candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi as his second favourite.
The governor also said the current political movement projecting Peter Obi would go a long way to prepare the ground for the realization of an Igbo president in the future.
According to him, the presidential contest in 2023 should be an all-South affair, saying he has been fascinated by the momentum created by the Obi movement.
He believed that the movement was awakening an awareness about the people of the Southeast and their political relevance.
“What happened during the primaries of PDP and APC were a kind of miscalculation by our people, but to say whether they’re ready for the presidency of the country anytime, I think that the movement of Peter Obi is an eye opener and that’s why I said I love what he’s doing.
”I’m encouraged by what he’s doing because if he’s not doing what he’s doing, it means that Southeast would have been forgotten.
”So, while my party takes the victory, he would have prepared a very good ground for the Southeast presidency, so that nobody is going to write us off and you can see the level of his acceptability, which does not translate to victory over APC. I’m sure of that,” he said.
The governor described Obi’s movement as ”a good movement” for the realization of Igbo presidency in future.
He said: ”It reassures the Southeast people and the entire country that we’re accepted and that we’ll one become the President of this country. It’s very important.
”Peter Obi’s movement, and all the movements, are anchored on God’s will, it’s only God who knows who will win, but there must be a wish.
”As a party man, I would wish that our party wins and if God says no, the next person I’ll wish that should win is Peter Obi because I believe strongly, and I will say it anywhere, in this north/south presidency.
“After the North has taken eight years, there is no moral justification to be seeking to take another eight years, it should go to the South.
”So, I’m not wishing Peter Obi away. God has the final say and He has the power and gives to whomever He wishes.” (NAN)