Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, National Publicity Secretary of the APC justifies to Nseobong Okon-Ekong the party’s strategy to woo the South-south states
What is the place of the South-south in the APC presidential campaign strategy that informed the choice of the zone for the flag off of the Buhari reflection campaign?
The South-south is as important as any other geo-political zone. Beyond that, the zone bears one of the most visible scars of the years of misrule in this country.
For us in APC, the last three and half years have seen the South-south zone growing to become our latest frontier in terms of support to President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC administration. We are not surprised as the zone has witnessed first time concrete achievements in terms of infrastructure and commitment to resolving the age long issues of environment.
Is true to think that the APC is suddenly interested in the South-south zone because the president is perceived to have lost ground and goodwill in the North-east, North-west and North-central, therefore the push to grab the South-south states to make up for the perceived lost ground in Northern Nigeria?
Far from it. The three geo-political zones of the North are APC’s safe bet. South-south happens to be our new frontier as we are breaking new grounds of support.
Why was the South-south zone APC presidential campaign flag off not held in Edo, the only South-south state ruled by the party or even Cross River State where the National Vice Chairman hails from?
We would be speaking to the converted in the areas you have mentioned. It is wise to take our messages to new areas where we are just gaining grounds.
Is it true that the Uyo presidential rally has created more cleavages in the APC on account of those who think Senator Akpabio has been unjustly promoted above those he met in the party?
We do not have any division. Every stakeholder is committed to the need to rescue the South-south zone from the claws of those who have been using the zone to serve personal interests while pretending to be fighting for the people of the zone. Now that the APC government has demonstrated commitment to issues that matter to the people of the South-south, our stakeholders in the zone cannot afford to work at cross purpose.
The opposition questioned the source of the APC funding for the rally. It particularly said funds were diverted from the NDDC, how true is this?
The opposition is PDP. It is one of their ridiculous and very disgraceful false allegations they’ve been making since it became obvious they stand no chance in the 2019 elections.