The South-east chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Tuesday chided the Governors’ Forum in the zone for its recent claim that Second Republic Vice-President, Alex Ekwueme, had lost touch with realities following his (Ekwueme) outburst that President Goodluck Jonathan and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) might not get block votes from the area.
Briefing journalists in Enugu, the opposition party’s spokesman in the zone, Osita Okechukwu, said the former vice-president was right in his views, stressing that despite the huge support the people of the South-east had given to the ruling party in the past 16 years, it had nothing tangible to show for it.
In a swift reaction however, the PDP said the opposition party’s claims that it would make in-roads to the zone in next month’s presidential election amounted to a wild-goose chase as the zone remains the ruling party’s stronghold.
The party’s National Vice-Chairman, Col. Austin Akobundu (rtd) in a statement reaffirmed the party’s earlier position that it would deliver 100 per cent the block votes its presidential candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan, contrary to the position of Ekwueme.
“One thing is sure. There is no place for the APC in the South-east, so they should not hope to get any vote from the zone. The bitter truth for the party is that the five states of the South-east are solidly in support of the PDP and will deliver a block vote for President Jonathan and all our candidates in the February elections. We therefore wish to advise the APC, its presidential candidate as well as other candidates not to waste energy in the zone,” the party said.
The former vice-president had in a recent interview expressed reservations with the present leadership of the PDP, saying the party had completely derailed from the vision behind the formation of the party and as such might not receive the usual block votes from the South-east zone.
The APC while aligning itself with the elder statesman expressed displeasure with the words both the PDP and chairman of the Governors’ Forum used to dismiss the candid opinions of the former vice-president.
“We are at a loss how on earth our revered elder statesman, former Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, erudite scholar and one of the shinning lights of Ndigbo, Dr. Alex Ekwueme can be out of touch with realities, because of his uncommon concern for the down trodden.
“It is our candid view that no responsible person will go out of his way to castigate Ekwueme for his patriotic concern that the Nigeria state under President Jonathan ‘s watch is sliding dangerously into a failed state.
“Apparently Ekwueme’s historic swipe that South East will not deliver the huge votes to President Goodluck as they did in 2011, cannot be far from the true yearnings of Nigeria for regime change. In fact there is groundswell of national consensus of most patriots on the imperative for regime change.
“We salute Ekwueme’s genuine concern for the down trodden, a virtue he shares in common with GMB, and we warn that he cannot be prosecuted for exposing the culture of impunity of the PDP. It is on record that Ekwueme is not a frivolous person, doesn’t take prisoners and more than any other founding member of the PDP has accommodated the impunity of the party that boasts of ruling Nigeria for 60 years,” Okechukwu noted.
But, on his part, Akobundu said reality was gradually stirring the opposition party in the face hence the resort to name-calling.
He said the fact that the APC was clinging on to Ekwueme’s interview “which was incorrect and did not reflect the realities on the ground” showed how desperate the opposition party and its leaders had become.
“I have serious respect for Ekwueme, but he should realise that the PDP is dynamic and he should not expect the party to still be what he saw in 1998. The South-east is totally behind Jonathan and nothing can change this. Anybody making any prediction to the contrary is out of touch with the realities on ground. The South-east is better off with the PDP than any other party.
“The South-east apart from being an impregnable forte of the PDP, the APC’s ideology of lies, deceit, divisiveness and violence is a vexatious stigma that makes support for it a cardinal sin among the peace loving people of the zone.”