The United Progressive Party (UPP), on Friday said the party has formally adopted President Muhammadu Buhari as its Presidential candidate, ahead of the 2019 general election.
The National Chairman of the Party, Chekwas Okorie stated while briefing State House Correspondents after a closed-door meeting with the President in Aso Rock Villa on Friday.
The move is coming on the heels of recent support for the Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi Presidency in 2019 by Igbo elders in Enugu, Enugu state.
Okorie said the decision to support Buhari’s candidature was to position Igbo nation properly ahead for the 2023 Presidential elections, adding that “Igbo had put all their eggs in one basket for too long”
According to him, “ supporting Buhari now will ensure Igbo presidency in 2023”
“It is not good that Igbo nation has put all their eggs in one basket for 16 years. In spite of this, Buhari has not stopped development in the region. This is time to get them to earn Igbo presidency by voting for him in 2019″, Okorie said.
On the Enugu declaration of Southeast elders for Atiku Abubakar’s presidential ambition, the UPP boss said that “only four founding members of Ohaneze Ndigbo are alive today and we have never met to endorse Atiku.
Okorie, who is also the coordinator of ‘Igbo Ezue’ socio-cultural group, added that “ We are poised to change the narrative. Just as Zik and Igbo leaders led Igbo people into coalition in the First and Second Republics, that is what ‘Igbo Ezue’ is determined to now”
In a related development, President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday, assured that his determination will lay a foundation for free, fair and credible elections in the country.
He stated this while responding to a speech by a delegation of Imams and senior Islamic scholars from the 36 states of the federation at the State House on Friday,
President Buhari said that a number of measures put in place have seen the gradual improvement of elections, as in Edo, Anambra, Ekiti and Osun States from what he described as “dismal and unacceptable levels witnessed in Rivers and Kogi States.”
According to the President, “What I want to assure Nigerians is that I will continue to pressure the Police and other agencies to do their best to ensure a conducive atmosphere for free and fair elections.”
On the issue of security raised by the religious group, President Buhari said he will continue to nudge security agencies to find lasting solutions, stressing however, the need for community and religious leaders to play a part in identifying criminals in their midst.
The President thanked the Muslim religious leaders for recognizing the various achievements of the administration especially, in dealing with security, fighting corruption and progress in agriculture.
“I am not satisfied with the reporting of agriculture. Millions of our citizens have returned to the farms with many leaving white collar jobs for opportunities in agriculture,” he noted.
The leader of the delegation, Dr. Khalid Aliyu, who is the Secretary General of the Jama’atul Nasril Islam, had lavishly praised the President’s achievements in key areas of his campaign in 2015 namely, security, corruption and the economy.
According to him, “So far, so good, government has gone a long way in meeting its promises.”