Meeting with President Buhari not to campaign for him – Gov Umahi

The Chairman, South-East Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, has said the Tuesday meeting of some governors of the region with President Muhammadu Buhari in Aso Villa was not to campaign for his reelection, but to seek 50 per cent release of the contract sum to the firm handling the Second Niger Bridge.

He explained that the request was to ensure speedy completion of the project.

There had been speculations that Umahi, along with his counterparts in Enugu and Abia states – Ifeanyi Igwuanyi and Okezie Ikpeazu – were scheming to support Buhari’s reelection in order to secure second terms.

But Umahi said the speculation was far from the truth, saying that they also discussed appointment of a service chief from the region.

He spoke to journalists at the project site of the ongoing modern Ecumenical centre on Thursday in Abakaliki, which is costing the state government over a billion naira.

Umahi said, “South-East would not say because the region is predominantly PDP, it will shy away from policies that affect the development of the region.

“To me, that is stupidity; we are not campaigning for anybody but we want to say that the problem of the South-East is beyond partisan politics.

“Any party that wants to take the South-East must be very serious with the South-East.”

He noted that the forum wouldn’t have met with the President if not for the release of N7bn mobilisation fund to the contractor for the project, which was less than 15 per cent of the total cost.

“So we went to say, ‘Look Mr. President, N7bn mobilisation is not enough. We want 50 per cent mobilisation to Julius Berger and another 50 per cent committed to bond.’”

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