Osita Okechukwu, Director General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), has said that the APC leaders of the south-east were more focused on their self- interest than on the growth of south-east.
In an interview with ARISE NEWS on Monday, Okechukwu said that Senator Umahi and Governor Hope Uzodinma, should have been more deliberate in lobbying for the growth of the south-east in the cabinet and not for their personal interest.
He said, “I did not absolve president Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR. My framework of statement or message is that he should not be blamed too much as regards the south-east.
“What is sad is that, if there’s blame game to be played, that it should be laid exactly where it lies- on the door steps, mostly, on the so called APC leaders of the south-east, the so called new APC leaders, who I noticed, while the whole negotiation was going on, were busy trying to knock-off our first 11 in the various five states.
“Their reason is that they might pose a danger to their own political career or their kingdom.”
He added, “Even in the face of the fact that we were happy when our brother, the governor of Imo state, his excellency, Hope Uzodinma, got the APC governors forum chairman, we thought that by presiding over such important caucus, in fact the foremost power bloc, in any political party in Nigeria is the governors forum, and as chairman of the governor’s forum, he had a very intimate access with Mr. president, and throughout that period, I didn’t see him in Imo. He had been in Abuja throughout that period.
“We had expected him to be negotiating for the good of the geo-political zones, the south-east, not for his personal preferences.
“And the results had shown that his preferences and that of distinguished senator Umahi were at play.”
Okechukwu recalled the ‘knock-out” that Senator Umahi had done to his brother and Mrs Agom Eze to get a senate position, instead of speaking on behalf of growth for the south-east to president Tinubu.
He said, “I thought, between Senator Umahi and Governor Hope Uzodinma, as leaders of the south-east, that they could have been more patriotic, more collective in their reasoning, instead of being petty in their negotiation.”
He emphasized that he’s not an apologist for Tinubu, but is rather focused on reducing “lies that make hatred flourish in our communities.”
“If I lead my people to think that it’s only Tinubu that marginalized them, that will not help in building harmony in a plural society like ours.”
He added, “Even those names that president Tinubu had in mind, they knocked most of them off, that they might constitute a problem in the zone. Pettiness cost us where we are now.”
Okechukwu stated that he doesn’t think the president will be ‘hardened’ if these south-east leaders lobbied for the growth of the south-east considering the president listened to the nudges of certain political power zones in Kano.
He also recalled the former chairman of APC, senator Abdullahi Adamu saying, “he headed the reconciliation committee of the party, had all the facts in his hand, he didn’t reconcile it. The outcome is that the south-east produced the poorest presidential result in 2003.”