A former Governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, on Thursday said that President Muhammadu Buhari would win over 75 per cent of votes in the South-East in 2019 general elections, as a reward for the landmark projects he had executed in the zone.
Mr Kalu said this at an expanded meeting of the executive members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the ward, local government and state levels in Igbere, Bende Local Government Area of the state.
He said that Buhari had done for the zone what previous leaders, including former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan, could not do, especially on roads.
Mr Kalu cited the ongoing rehabilitation of the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway, Enugu-Onitsha Expressway and the construction of the second Niger Bridge as some of Buhari’s major projects in the South-East.
The former governor, however, said the major challenge facing the zone include the deplorable state of roads and the issue of the second Niger Bridge.
He recalled as the governor then, he had to dismantle all the toll gates in the state to protest federal government’s neglect of the roads in the state, but expressed joy that Mr Buhari had been able to address the problem.
He, however, decried the poor state of the Abia economy, citing the irregular payment of workers’ salaries and infrastructural deficit.
He said most of the ongoing road projects in the state were being done by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Mr Kalu expressed optimism that APC would record landslide victory in Abia during the 2019 general elections.
“The party has the antidote against rigging and what it takes to win the polls at all levels in 2019.
“We will never allow anybody to rig us out of elections in Abia again. We shall match them force by force and money for money,” he said.
He urged APC leadership not to be weighed down by the gale of defections from the party, saying that “defection is a personal decision.”
“It is their decision to defect to other parties, but it is also our choice to remain in APC.”
Mr Kalu stressed the need for APC to nominate credible candidates that would dislodge any opponent of its governorship candidates, in State and National Assemblies.
“The power to elect the party flag bearers is in your hands.
“Give us good candidates and we will match the powers-that-be in the state, any how they want it.
“You should not vote for aspirants on sentiments. Vote for aspirants based on their track record and proven competence.”
In their separate speeches at the meeting, other stakeholders of the party commended Mr Kalu for convening the meeting, saying it had boosted unity and love within the party.
They underscored the need for everybody member to be courageous and committed to deliver the party during the general elections.
The participants stressed the need for the party to remain resolute and committed to achieve a landslide in 2019.
No fewer than 3,000 party members and supporters attended the meeting from across the state.
They include: a former senator, Chris Adighije, a former banker, Mack Wabara, a former governorship aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2015, Sampson Ogah and Donatus Nwamkpa.