President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday pledged his readiness to continue to showcase Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the presidential flag bearer of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Speaking in Owerri at a meeting with members of the Imo State Traditional Council, the President
said he had already followed Tinubu to some states, including Nasarawa, Katsina and Sokoto and was prepared to showcase the candidate in more places.
He noted that he came to present Tinubu to the traditional council and indigenes of the state.
The Council at the meeting honoured President Buhari with a traditional title, “Nwanne D’namba”, A Brother in Diaspora.
The President thanked Eze Imo, His Royal Majesty, Eze Dr Emmanuel Chukwuagina Okeke, for the recognition, assuring that he will continue to demonstrate his love for the South East and citizens.
He said: “I thank you so much for this honour that I will continue to remember for the rest of my life. Thank you for getting all the senior citizens to receive us.
“We have experienced difficult times as a country and discovered that it is better to carry on together”.
President Buhari noted the value of shared national vision that enhances cohesion, urging more harmony across state and national levels as “good neighbours”.
The President urged Nigerians to remain good neighbours and show themselves as good neighbours.
“God has brought us here, and the party also brought us to you”.
Also speaking, Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State, said the honour was well deserved considering the historical impact of President Buhari’s administration on infrastructure in the state, with upgrade of higher institutions, road constructions and appointments in key positions.
According to him, the inauguration of the MCC road in the central city by the President further revealed the penchant for approving projects that will improve the livelihood of the people.
“Words are not enough to show our appreciation to the President,” he said.
The Governor noted that crude oil theft in the state had been halted by creation of a naval base by President Buhari, and more security structures had been put in place for wellbeing of the people.
“To further show love by our people on Valentine’s Day, our people have agreed to support our presidential candidate and other APC candidates in the polls.
“Traditional rulers are not partisan, and they have told me in confidence that they will support our party because of love for President Buhari,” the Governor added.
In his remarks, the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Tinubu thanked the Imo Traditional Council for the recognition on Valentine’s Day.
“I pay respect to all the traditional rulers that have received us at the palace. I present myself as the most capable and competent person to step into the shoes of the man you have just honoured.
“I want to be, and deserve to be the President and I will follow the footsteps of President Buhari when elected, not if elected.
”I will consolidate on our unity, development and camaraderie. It is only in peace that we can develop.
“You mentioned upgrading of educational institutions. Education is the greatest weapon we can deploy against poverty. We are here today because of the benefit of education,” the presidential candidate said.
On his part, Chairman of the Imo State Traditional Council, Eze Imo, His Royal Majesty, Eze Dr Emmanuel Chukwuagina Okeke, appreciated the Nigerian leader for love shown to the South East, and sustained legacy of promoting peace and harmony in the country.
He said giving the President the friendship title on Valentine’s Day reflects a new level of relationship inspired by President Buhari’s integrity, magnanimity and charity.
He thanked the President for elevating educational and health infrastructure in the state, like upgrading Alvan Ikoku College of Education to a university and the Federal Medical Centre in Owerri to a teaching hospital.
“Coincidentally today is Valentine’s Day and it is a day to show love all over the world. The President is not only here to commission a project and attend a campaign rally, but to share his love with us,” Eze Imo said.
Deji Elumoye in Abuja