By Seun Adeuyi
The Southeast would remain in political isolation if its people continue to distance themselves from the party in power at the centre.
This was made known by Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, in a chat with State House correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, on Friday.
According to him, the recent defection of Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi to the All Progressives Congress (APC) was part of the efforts to get the zone into the federal fold.
He, however said Umahi did not join the APC because of his personal presidential ambition as being speculated in some quarters.
His words, ”What we are doing in the South East as a party is carrying the message of the party.
“Before this time, some of us believed that we should have marketed the ideologies and policies better than the past leadership did.
“What we are trying to do is to explain to our people the need to see that this Nigerian project belongs to all of us, and if you jump out of the train, don’t accuse anybody of pushing you out of the train.
“It is not about whether you want to be president now or not; you don’t get presidential ticket by the market square, it is the decision of the political party. You must be loyal to your political party.
“So I know that my brother Umahi is politically strong in the Southeast and joining APC would add to the value of the party in my region, but he never told me he is coming because he will be president.
“I want these people who want to cause confusion and create bad name for Umahi to run away from that point and then encourage our people who have decided to align with the ruling party.
“Before 1999, in the First Republic, we had NPC going into alliance with NCNC for government to be formed. Zik became president, though ceremonial, and then NPC produced the prime minister.
“Even in the Second Republic, for proper democracy to be marketed, we went into alliance NPN. In that alliance, the Southeast produced the vice president in the person of Chief Alex Ekweume, and Ume-Ezeoke as speaker of the House of Representatives. So we were better.
“The meaning of power is proximity to the source of authority. Every ethnic zone wants to come close to the centre. Even if you are not the head, you can be the neck or shoulder.
“We want to be part of that body called Nigeria, and that way, we will move in a very united manner.
”I told you after I won my election that part of my job is that I will deploy political evangelism and convince my people to join our party because our programmes are very bright.
“So now we are gradually making success. Today it is Ebonyi, who knows who it will be next? My hope and prayer is that before the end of this year, two more governors will join APC. God helps us and it works, I am home and dry.”