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Minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has revealed that the people of south-east don’t have anything to demand for presidency in 2023, saying: ‘For people like us in the APC, if the Igbo had come and voted Buhari, they would boldly tell Mr. President and the National Chairman of the party that presidency should go the Southeast since the South-south; South-west and North-west have produced president.
What argument would the Southeast come up with now to convince anybody that they deserve the slot for 2023 president?”
Amaechi in an interview with The Sun newspaper said Igbo has nothing to bring in negotiating for 2023 presidency. “I don’t know what they will do now for voting against the APC,”
“For refusing to support the APC, they cannot come to the table to demand the presidency slot.
“For people like us in the APC, if the Igbo had come and voted Buhari, they would boldly tell Mr. President and the National Chairman of the party that presidency should go the Southeast since the South-south; South-west and North-west have produced president. What argument would the Southeast come up with now to convince anybody that they deserve the slot for 2023 president?”
“They need to bring caucus together, set up structures at the states and local government levels that will be meeting regularly,” he said.
“They also need to fund those structures. If these things happen, APC will continue to rule the country but I have a problem with the fact that everybody is not completely involved.
When I say that everybody is not completely involved, it is not that because people are holding meetings, there are not anywhere people are holding meetings more than the other, but just that we need to play more party politics.”
Speaking on money borrowed for railway project he said: ‘There is no iota of truth in that impression. That is not correct. Don’t forget that former President Goodluck Jonathan borrowed the loan for the Abuja-Kaduna project. He borrowed $500 million. For Lagos-Ibadan rail project, it was $1.6 billion out of which we were given $1.4 billion while the federal government paid $200 million. That is all we borrowed.
‘What they hear that make them reach the conclusion that I have borrowed so much is because we said that Lagos-Kano will cost $1.8 billion but nobody has given us that money. Lagos-Calabar rail project will cost $11 billion, yet nobody has given us that money. We said that Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail line would cost $12 billion, yet nobody has given us this money.
‘I have said that the total requirement for the completion of these three or four rail lines, including Abuja-Itakpe comprising a seaport in Warri, will amount to about $36 billion. We will transform the country if we have $36 billion.
On the way forward for APC Amaechi said: I don’t really know how to answer that question because the National Chairman of the party and Mr President are in the best position to answer it because they lead the party. I will, however, say that the APC needs to do a lot of reengineering and put the party together.
There are lots of meetings that are supposed to be going on in APC like we used to hold those meetings when we were in the PDP. They need to bring caucus together, set up structures at the states and local government levels that will be meeting regularly. They also need to fund those structures.
Amaechi further said that those saying things are difficult for Nigerians are lying he said ‘… It is not true and people are not being fair to the President to say that things are getting more and more difficult. The story of Nigeria is the story of the pyramid. Nigeria had like 10,000 rich men and 10 million poor people before Buhari came in. Starting from the former military Heads of State to the civilian presidents, big men were created here and there.
‘They used instrument of authorities to create those wealthy men but as they created those rich men, people were getting poorer. Creating poverty cannot be under one year, it is over the years. They allowed the rich to acquire wealth to the detriment of the poor. Public institutions were not strengthened, schools were not built, and not much was done about primary health centres.
‘Don’t forget that when we came in, the dollar was already bouncing and running, forcing many to take the position to devalue the currency and remove oil subsidy as a way of securing the economy. And when the president tried it, and saw dollar ran to N500 per dollar, he got frightened and said no more devaluation.
‘That is why it now came down to N300 per dollar. If we had continued with that, we would have been in trouble. That was why I said that the intervention of Buhari stopped the Nigeria revolution. If we had continued, people would have started eating themselves. ‘
What we are doing now is to manage what would have happened earlier. What the president is doing now is to get the economy trickle down to the base. If it successfully gets to the base, there will be no revolution. But it will not be easy.’