RESCUING THE SOUTH EAST FROM PDP INFESTATION: AN OPEN MEMO TO PRESIDENT BUHARI, APC
The emergence of Senator Ike Ekweremamdu as Deputy Senate President is indeed a challenge staring on the face of the All Progressive Congress, APC.
While it is not in the overall interest of the APC led Federal Government to allow the PDP produce the Deputy Senate President, this development further reinforce the need for the APC leadership to consider making stronger incursions in the South East with the overall intention of taming the PDP's sinous tentacles in the region.
Apart from the fact that the APC in the South East failed to deliver enough votes for President Muhammadu Buhari during the presidential election, it is pertinent to note that it took the concerted efforts of one or two credible leaders in the APC in the South East to make it difficult for the PDP to generate over 7 million votes for Goodluck Jonathan during the 2015 Presidential election.
Buhari defeated the PDP presidential candidate, Goodluck Jonathan and won the presidential contest with a difference of 2.3 million votes. In the 2011 election, the PDP in the South East “manufactured” over 11 million votes for Jonathan.
The PDP enjoys a tap root in the South East and it is only a holistic and frontal political approach by the APC that can tame the PDP in the area before the election come in 2019.
However, the emergence of Senator Ike Ekweremadu as Deputy Senate President does not imply the South East has been accommodated in the new political dispensation led by Buhari. Ekweremadu is of the PDP which is an opposition party and the people of the South East have not hidden their desire not to be part of the PDP anymore- a political party that led Igbos to nowhere in the last 16 years.
Also, Ekeremadu's latest political status which was achieved through the highest form of political gimmick and treachery which influenced the election of principal officers of the National Assembly cannot be interpreted to mean that the South East has secured one of the top key positions in the federation under Buhari.
Those who bandy this argument are either mischievous or deliberately stoking this sentiment to deceive the APC leadership and President Buhari that the South East is not receptive to the change message that has been accepted by well meaning Nigerians.
The South East remain willing partners in the determination by President Buhari to bring the desired change that will lead to much sought dividends of democracy to despondent Nigerians.
It is important to note that the South East is favourably disposed to President Buhari's government only if he can give them a sense of belonging in his administration. This why it is important Buhari appoints only credible, respectable sons and daughters of Igboland into top positions of government .
This will help the APC to make in- roads into the area and more importantly, erase misguided reservations those in the South East held about the APC and the President before the elections. And to further to checkmate the tentacles and grip of the PDP in Igboland, President Buhari ought to see the importance of appointing only dependable, credible and reliable APC members from the South East into key positions of his government.
This will give the party some leverage in the region and contribute significantly to diminish the PDP in the zone whose 16 years of maladministration in Igboland has brought nothing but misery, pain and hopelessness. It is a fact that PDP's dominance in the South East only enriched a clique of politicians and not the generality of the people who lament strongly over infrastructural decay and high rate of joblessness plaguing the youths in the region.
Ahead of the 2019 elections, the APC should see the South East as a zone that must be recovered from the grip of political shylocks in the PDP in Igboland. Igbos are pragmatic and whatever negative sentiments infused on them by the PDP about the APC and President Buhari before the elections will quickly fizzle away when the South East is fully integrated in the present government.
In a zone begging for massive infrastructural renewal and yearning to break away from the grip of PDP godfathers, only the full integration of Igbos in the present government will douse the growing but sinous tentacles of the PDP in the South East.
Written by Udochi Evelyn Nwosu.