Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, on Friday, said the current insecurity and crude oil theft were more pressing issues than the All Progressives Congress’ Muslim-Muslim ticket.
He also condemned the spate of crude oil theft in the country, describing those involved as “anti-national interest thieves” who deserved punishment.
Uzodimma made the observation at the State House shortly after meeting with the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to seek approval for the upgrade of some institutions.
They include the Federal Medical Center, Owerri, which will be converted to Federal University of Technology Teaching Hospital, and the Alvan Ikoku College of Education which will be converted to the Federal University of Education, Owerri.
Fielding a question about the APC’s choice of presidential ticket for next year’s elections, the governor said, “I want to use this opportunity to invite you people (the media) to prioritise our area of interest. First, the mood of the country today is not about who the candidates are. The mood of the country is that two or three years ago, we were producing 2.1 million barrels of crude oil every day.
“For over 12 years, that has been our main source of foreign exchange. Suddenly, because of the activities of those who are of anti-national interests, we’ve lost over a million barrels and barely managed to produce one million.
“I think we should rise in unison to condemn the activities of crude oil theft by anti-Nigerian interest groups and bring back the economy of the country, because, you have to have a country first before you have a President.
“So, let us allow political parties who have chosen their candidates, no matter the religion where they come from, to go out and do their campaign. It is left for the electorate to reject the ticket by not voting for them, or accept the ticket by voting for them. But, if we continue to make these things headlines, you are hitting up our polity unnecessarily. I want to beg you in the name of God, let us save our country.”
On the purpose of his visit, the elated governor said President Buhari had promised to approve his request for the conversion of both institutions.
Uzodimma also urged the Federal Government to identify the brains behind crude oil theft in Nigeria and make them face justice.
He warned against treating perpetrators as ‘sacred cows’, arguing that whoever is involved in the practice must be punished, their status regardless.
The Imo Governor also faulted the World Bank’s recent projection that Nigeria faced an existential threat over its precarious financial standing.
He said “Even, 25 years ago, before 1999, the World Bank has always said Nigeria will break into pieces and today, Nigeria has not been broken into a half-piece. This country is loved by God and our faith in God has been keeping this country.”
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