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Sycophantic blackmailing is a bane to good governance

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 Dr. Uzoma Obiyo

In public life especially in party politics, a lot of people desperate to climb the ladder become carnivores. From mudslinging to bootlicking or both. 

This trend, in the ruling APC of Imo State, lately, has taken a more dangerous dimension. Late comers would stop at nothing to occupy, not just centre stage, but the entire auditorium

Dr. Uzoma Obiyo, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Multi-Net Group, an entrepreneur and philanthropist bares his mind when some select media practitioners called in his Maitama Office, Abuja recently.

Excerpts:

Correspondent: There are strong insinuations from some quarters that you are rooting for Owerri Zone Project come 2023/24. How true is this rumour?

Dr. Obiyo: I am a proud son of Ikeduru LGA in Owerri Zone of Imo State.

I am not only a founding member of APC but also, a financial member both in the state and federal levels.

 It is disheartening to note that the people propagating this blackmail against me were with the then governor as his appointees and stooges during the electioneering campaigns of 2019.

 They were the ones who mobilized thugs that attacked us with dangerous weapons, and inflicted physical injury to some of us at the last national convention of APC in Eagles Square, Abuja. 

Senator Hope Uzodinma is my good friend. The blackmail making the rounds says that Dr. Obiyo is moving for Owerri Agenda.

What is Owerri Agenda? It is sad to note that the people peddling the unfounded rumours with the aim to curry favour of the Governor were not with us from the onset.

 How could I be canvassing for a governor from Owerri Zone at this time, when I am one of the key people that formed the government, consequently a stakeholder in APC and when my friend is the governor of the state? And some elements are sitting somewhere touting that Dr. Obiyo is canvassing for Owerri Agenda, what is this Owerri Agenda?

In party politics world over, elected executive office holders like the office of the president or governor of a state upon completion of their first four-year term are given offer of first refusal. More so, how could you change a performing administrator? Since the creation of Imo State, no governor has been involved in construction of quality projects after Dee Sam Mbakwe of the blessed memory. The type of quality erosion control being constructed in all erosion prone areas in the state especially at Lake Nwaebere road and environs, Mcc road, Chukwuma Nwoha road, Dick Tiger road, Otamiri Street, etc is a great pass mark for the present administration.

Before the present administration took over office, over 50 buildings within Ama Wire off Mcc Road, Otamiri Street and mostly Trans Egbu Layout and environs were abandoned due to seasonal floodings. With the deep underground concrete drainages being constructed and channeled down to Otamiri River through old IBC road, residents of these areas have heaved sighs of relief. In football, you don’t change a winning team.

 I believe in Senator Uzodinma. With firm belief that upon the completion of his second term in office, he will handover to a reputable son or daughter of Owerri Zone.

Correspondent: In your thought, what made the people behind the blackmails go this far?

Dr. Obiyo: It is sycophancy. That is all. Sycophantic blackmailing is a bane to good governance especially when the head of the government listens to such gossips and blackmail. Check out the antecedents of the people peddling these lies. Where are they coming from and where do you think they are going?

You will agree with me that no matured mind meaningfully engaged will be gallivanting within the Government House blackmailing another.

To me, it is either that such people are looking for cheap popularity or something to fill their empty purse.

I am not bothered with the present government appointing them into one position or the other, or even awarding contracts to them, my worry is their queer attitude of bringing another down to climb.

Some of them hover around the Government House corrupting the minds of senior aides and commissioners close to the Governor.

They do so to enable their listeners pass same to the Governor. What they fail to note is that leadership is not given; rather, one earns it in trust.

 Ask those who today claim leadership of my LGA, Ikeduru for example, the roles they played during the last governorship election in Imo State.

 It is on record that the votes APC got in Ikeduru LGA at the last general elections were through my efforts and the likes of Rt Hon. Kelechi Nwagwu, Hon Sam Aka amongst others. Like I said before, Senator Hope Uzodinma is my friend.

I was with him throughout the electioneering campaigns and during the period of his election petitions.

Whenever I was around for the campaigns, I normally would ride in the same car with him.

 I wish to use this opportunity to advise him not to listen to gossipers whose means of livelihood are not known, but to be focused.

I have come a long way with the governor and nobody can at this point in time cause a rift between us.

These people trying to bring me to disrepute before the governor are political jobbers and inconsequential beings in the state.

 It will gladden my heart if the governor would organize a mock popularity election between me and them. I am a very busy man with defined means of livelihood.

I don’t have time to perambulate within the Government House for the wrong reasons.

Correspondent: By your own assessment, is Senator Hope Uzodinma delivering the dividends of democracy to the people of Imo State?

Dr. Obiyo: Oh, yes. Senator Hope Uzodinma is wonderfully performing. He is living even above board.

When I introduced the aspiration of Senator Uzodinma to the people of Ikeduru and some parts of the state in 2019, I unequivocally told people that they should see me as a guarantor in his mandate.

I told people that as a technocrat coming from a well organised system that my support for Senator Uzodinma is not for personal benefits but for the good of our people. Severally and in strong terms, I told my people that I am into partnership with Senator Uzodinma with the firm assurance that he shall deliver.

 I will advise you as media men, to go round the state to see things yourself. How long should a well asphalted road last? Here in Abuja, roads built during the military regime are still standing not to talk of the ones built from 1999 to date. With the volume of allocation Imo State receives monthly from the Federation Account over the years, are we supposed to be talking of building roads within the municipality at this time? We are indeed architect of our own misfortune.

 Glory be to God that a man who has the people’s interest at heart is at the helm of affairs.

Pride to mention, the benevolence of my friend, Senator Hope Uzodinma before he became the governor was second to none in the state.

He was a free giver. He would give even the last penny in his pocket. To the greatest dismay of some who thought that, upon becoming the executive governor of the state, the opportunity for them to get unfettered money has broadened. They now say he is tight fisted but it is not so.

It is prudent management of scarce resources. If he continues to be free with public funds, he will not be able to redeem the state’s infrastructure which is in deplorable condition.

If the governor had continued in his natural act of gifting people money with reckless abandon, which funds would he use for construction of the dual carriage from Owerri to Orlu or the single carriage from Owerri to Okigwe? People are saying that the present administration is slow in execution of projects like roads. Yes, road construction is not a sprint.

 For a durable and quality road, reputable contractors must be engaged. It takes good time for a quality earth work to be done before laying of asphalt.

 To the best of my knowledge and in accordance with the project outline I had with the governor before his election, Senator Hope Uzodinma is exceedingly doing well. 

*It might interest you to note that the weeklong activities to mark one year in office as Executive Governor of Imo State which started with an interdenominational thanksgiving church service at Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri was unprecedented.

The array of dignitaries from far and near that attended the epoch making event signified the acceptance of Senator Hope Uzodinma as a performing governor. President Muhammadu Buhari who was represented by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo poured enconiums on our performing governor.

National Assembly members were led by Senator Ahmed Lawan, Senate President of the Nigeria Senate while the governor of Ekiti State and Chairman of Progressives Governors Forum led other governors to the event.

Senator Hope Uzodinma within one year in office has completed and commissioned over 40 quality people oriented projects. The popular Owerri/PH road, an entry route from South South Nigeria (Rivers State axis) to South East Nigeria (Imo State) before the Senator Uzodinma took over mantle of leadership in the state was an eyesore. Today, in line with the 3R Mantra of Senator Hope Uzodinma led administration, the road is wearing a new look.

You will recall that the Federal Secretariat situate in Owerri Capital Territory has been without a befitting access road since it was built during the military regime of Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida. According to the master plan of Owerri, Senator Uzodinma saw it as a priority project and constructed the road linking PH Road to World Bank Housing Estate via Federal Secretariat. It is a thing of joy to note that Mr. President virtually commissioned this new road by himself.

The people and government of Imo State didn’t make any mistake in naming the road after Mr. President. The road now known and called Muhammadu Buhari Road, Owerri.*

May I use this opportunity to once again congratulate His Excellency, Senator Hope Uzodinma on his one year in office.

 I urge him not to relent in providing democratic dividends to all nooks and crannies of Imo State.

 I have no doubt in my mind that after his first four years in office, the electorates in Imo State will have reason to vote him in for another four year mandate to govern the state for continuation of developmental strides.*

Correspondent: There is a public outcry in the state about the nonpayment of civil servant and pensioners. We will like to know your reaction to this? 

Dr. Obiyo: Imo State is a public sector driven economy. The state ranks amongst states with highest public sector work force.

Almost 80% of funds recieved from federation account monthly goes to payment of pensions, workers salaries and wages. Since the present government took over, many ghost workers and dead pensioners have been discovered.

 And I ask, who was taking home these amounts meant for ghost workers and dead pensioners all these years?

No responsive government would allow such to continue unabated. The present government is setting up strong institutions to curb this menace.

Yes, a worker, not a thief, deserves his or her wages. Senator Hope Uzodinma is prudent in managing our scarce resources and humane. He is putting a formidable ICT unit in place to ensure that few privileged civil servants do not continue to milk the state dry.

 Glad to inform you that as we speak, junior workers up to level 07 have started receiving salary alerts to what is being owed them. Afterwards, senior categories will be paid in full. This is in line with the agreement the organised labour had with state government.

I support the re-engineering of the modalities in workers payment to avert diversion of public funds into private pockets. 

Correspondent: What is your advice to those fighting the governor within and outside APC?

Dr. Obiyo: In party politics, infighting is as old as politics itself. But the question should be, how far will you go with such fight? From the way Senator Uzodinma emerged as APC candidate to becoming duly elected governor through the affirmative ruling of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, the fights were forseen. There are many big heads in Imo State Chapter of APC. In a big family as you know, divergent and conflicting opinions should not be ruled out.

 More still, the intrigues of 2023/24 elections is hugely the cause of the divisions you are seeing in the party.

 I have no doubt in my mind that the governor with his ingenuity in party administration, in no distant time will bring all warring factions in the party together for a more united party as forthcoming election will not be a tea-party.

On the part of those opposing him from other political parties like the PDP, their reasons are not farfetched.

They are expected to be angry.

 The election of their candidate and its nullification by the Supreme Court is still a concern to them. As humans, they are expected not to be happy with Senator Uzodinma, though, after one year, in the spirit of sportsmanship, they ought to have taken their defeat in good fate. After elections comes governance.

The elections are over until the next one which comes up in 2023/24. It is expected of the PDP to give a healthy opposition for the overall interest of the state than being pedestrian. They should learn how to criticize constructively and applaud when necessary.

Politics is not a do or die affair. Anyone who does not support the progress of his state is directly against his/her own progress.

Correspondent: Your party the APC is having a National Membership Revalidation and Registration Exercise, what is your take on this?

Dr. Obiyo: APC is a party governed by rules with experienced leaders at its helm of affairs. The National Working Committee of the party saddled with day to day running of the party made this proposal and submitted same to the Party’s National Executive Committee.

NEC under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari met and ratified the submissions of NWC. The exercise officially started on the 9th of February across all the States, 774 LGA’s, Wards and Poling Units of the country.

Before then, Mr. President in his Ward and Polling Unit was seen Live on national televisions revalidating his membership. Other leaders like Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu did there own later in their respective Wards. In South East, the exercise was kicked off by His Excellency, Senator Hope Uzodinma as the leader of the zone. The registration has been going on in the state successfully.

It is incumbent on any interested party faithful to revalidate his or her membership. Anyone who fails to do so is deemed to have willingly left the party. I have mobilized the people of Ikeduru LGA for this exercise.

I have equally revalidated my membership of the party. May I use this medium to call on all Imolites within the adult suffrage to get registered in APC. The party has come to stay in the state after wining the governorship elections back to back. The APC led federal government has a lot for the people of the South East especially for Ndi Imo.

I enjoin my people to embrace the party and disabuse their minds of the ill-conceived notion of marginalization and the so-called Fulani party.

No party has marginalised us more than PDP after our contribution in the making of that party. Even the most vocal critics of APC and President Buhari from other regions are now joining the party.

I advise my brethren from South East especially Imolites not to be deceived any longer by the PDP. With Senator Hope Uzodinma as the governor and leader, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Correspondent: What is your advice to those blackmailing you and others?

Dr. Obiyo: There is no gain saying that anyone who destroys another to climb must meet destruction on his way down.

 In life, I have never seen sycophants’ succeed. What goes up wrongly must surely come down. I advise these detractors to turn a new leaf. They should drop their wicked ways.

Their wickedness and barbaric dispositions will lead them to nowhere. In the same way, I advise commissioners and close aides of our governor to stop listening to such gossips, but to engage themselves meaningfully in line with the 3R Shared Prosperity Mantra. With people oriented policies outlined by the present government in the state, Imo State will get better.

The era of infrastructural decay in the state shall soon be over. With Senator Hope Uzodinma, Imo is on the right track. Let me unequivocally state for the umpteenth time that I believe in equity and justice that I equally believe in fairness and equality.

 I have no doubt that the dream of having a state where positions meant for the three senatorial districts are equitably shared at any given time shall come to pass.  I urge Ndi-Imo to support Senator Uzodinma led administration for a prosperous Imo. 

Also Read; Adamawa Police Bust Criminal Hideouts On Border With Cameroon

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Opinion

Traffic Congestion: Lawyer drums support for Ihezuo’s remedy, appeals with Govt to consider proposal

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Dr.Ihezuo‘s letter to Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma appears to have attracted reactions across board.

Barr Ihezuo, a chieftain of the APC in Imo had on Friday 14th may written to the Imo State Government on the difficulties which both Drivers and pedestrians go through in the state following abuse of Road signs by those he termed recalcitrant Drivers and other motorists.

Ihezuo in the said letter published in the Lead Express of the said date used the medium to pinpoint some measures which if considered by the state Government would not only solve the problems of traffic jam in the state but would also generate revenue to the state.

Supporting the said report by Ihezuo, one of the constitutional lawyers in Imo, Barr C.D Odumeh Omekagu, appealed with Imo state Governor senator Hope Uzodinma to give a trial the postulation of the said Ihezuo.

Omekagu who made this disclosure to the press in Owerri yesterday after attending the APC meeting expressed optimism that the difficulties which people go through at various junctions in Owerri would certainly become things of the past.

One of the chieftains of the APC in Imo and Orlu in particular, Dr. Ikenna Ihezuo had marshalled out ways to curb traffic jam in Imo.

This is even as he commended the efforts of the Government in the area of Road construction which according to him has given the State a new look.

In an open letter to the Imo State Governor signed by Ihezuo himself and made available to weekend Lead, Ihezuo who contested keenly for Orlu, Orsu and Oru-east House of Representatives seat in the 2019 elections urged the State Government to introduce what he termed Imo State Traffic Control Agency (ISTCA) and saddle the body with the sole responsibility of controlling the movement of human and vehicles in the State.

Ihezuo an American trained conditional lawyer further pointed out that the said Agency will see to re training of all the personnel for traffic control as well as the orientation of Drivers and motorists.

Describing a well controlled Traffic as a booster to the states IGR, Ihezuo revealed in states like Lagos, Rivers amongst others, the body saddled with the responsibility of traffic Control arrest and prosecute traffic offenders which after taken offender to psychiatric hospitals to ascertain the mental status of the offender charges him or her certain amounts as fine which goes to the State coffers.

Ihezuo who further called on the State Government to make an executive law,providing a particular time by which  Big Lorries will enter the cities in Owerri made it clear that their unregulated entrance to the cities of Owerri has led to series of accidents in the State and also results in traffic jam.

Describing a traffic free state as a booster to investments, Ihezuo disclosed that both foreign investors and local ones, invest where both human and material resources would not be stocked on hold up or traffic .

Ihezuo who finally appealed with Imo people, particularly the Drivers to always take cognizance of the Road signs and traffic and not the other way round.

Imo state Government has in the recent times removed some of the roundabouts in the Owerri Cities .

Read Also: Ihezuo condemns attacks on Imo

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Leadership

Do not renounce your citizenship, Perm. Sec. to Nigerians

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Do not renounce your citizenship, Perm. Sec. tells Nigerians

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, Dr Shuaib Belgore, has advised Nigerians to desist from illegal movement out of the country including renouncing of their citizenship owing to some present challenges.

Belgore gave the advice on Tuesday when the national coordinator of SERVICOM, Mrs Nnena Akajameli, visited him in his office to make formal presentation of SERVICOM Compliance Evaluation Reports (SCER) of Federal Marriage Registries in Nigeria.

Speaking further, he expressed concern over the rate at which some Nigerians were moving out of the country illegally, to the extent of renouncing their citizenship.

Belgore noted that such act could also lead to avoidable death and missing of some citizens as noted across the nation.

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“Protecting citizens’ right is part of what we are saddled with to carry out, we handle marriages, and we handle citizenship issues, people trying to get citizenship into Nigeria, people who want special immigrant status.

“People who want to work in Nigeria, they need permission from us in areas such as expatriate quota, residents permit, and work permit, all that is within our power in the ministry.

“Unfortunately, once in the while some Nigerians want to renounce their citizenship and we don’t want them to do that, except through constitutional rights of such movement,” he said.

The Permanent Secretary, therefore, admonished Nigerians not to use the present circumstance being faced by the country as an excuse to move out illegally but through proper channels.

However, receiving the SERVICOM SCER reports, Belgore reiterated the ministry’s determination to collaborate with SERVICOM for quality service delivery to Nigerians, ensuring that Nigerians are well served across all the Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

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Earleir, in her presentation, Mrs Akajemeli explained that the overall objectives of SERVICOM SCER was to ensure citizen-focused service delivery in MDAs, to identify gaps, making recommendation to the ministry to improve on those gaps.

According to Akajemeli, interaction with customers revealed Federal Marriage Registry is not established in all states of the Federation and this has caused a lot of inconveniences for the intending couples and those who stand as their witnesses.

“The Ministry of Interior should intensify its efforts to create at least one marriage registry in all the states to ease the problems of intending couple having to travel far to submit printout of their applications.

“This will create a relief and reduce service delivery gaps especially in the area of cost of transportation,” the SERVICOM national coordinator added.

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Opinion

The ungodly APC National Caretaker Committee gamble with All Progressives Congress – APC Southeast/Southsouth Youth Assembly

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 Love or hate His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, there’s no denying his rightful place as a nationalist per excellence especially on the political firmament of our beloved country Nigeria.

This is the man who led the dismantling of the second republic democratic regime of President Shehu Shagari at the point it became clear that the regime was drifting while Nigerians wallowed helplessly as the lessons and values of the civil war collapsed like a pack of cards under the watch of civilian players of that administration.

With his second in command, Brigadier General Tunde Idiagbon,he strove tirelessly to instill discipline, due process, accountability and uprightness as the culture in governance and general way of life in Nigeria.

 It was such that a few years after his regime was ousted in a bloodless coup in 1985, the world proclaimed that Nigeria had lost a golden opportunity of becoming great again as the nation wallowed ruderlessly in the hands of a self acclaimed “Evil Genius” for eight unbridled years (1985 – 1993)
According to Abraham Lincoln, the US leader of all time, what matters is not the number of times one lost elections, what rather matters, is the ability to rise again after failing an election. General Buhari suffered incarceration after being ousted from power in 1985, but he became a leading light to illuminate the political space from 2003. Three times, Muhammadu Buhari, the democrat contested presidential election and failed on different platforms with the concomitant bitter experiences and lessons arising thereof. In 2014, his party the CPC struck alliance with ACN to become the All Progressives Congress which delivered him in the 2015 presidential election.

PMB has fondly and jealously guided the All Progressives Congress, APC since formation in 2014. He curdles the party like a baby and has always intervened at critical points to save the life of APC. He stood in the gap to ease out Chief John Oyegun when it became necessary to pave the way for Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to galvanize the party for the 2019 general elections.

 He was also instrumental to the birth of the present APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) constituted in 2020 to avert a major rift in the party. In addition to the normal day to day running of the party, the Governor Mai Mala Buni led National Caretaker Committee was charged with the major assignment of bringing up to date and standard the party membership list as well as deliver a national convention within six months of its span.

But this was not to be, as the committee requested additional six months from December 2020 to conclude with the membership registration as well as conduct bottom – top congresses leading to national convention to elect substantive party leadership as stipulated by the constitution and electoral act as amended.
CHANGING PARADIGMS OF THE COMMITTEE
we of the All Progressives Congress Southeast/Southsouth Youth Assembly have maintained a studied silence, though with consternation as the uncharitable drama in the apex leadership of the party unfolds.
It can be said here without contradiction that the National Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee has continued to operate in isolation of the state arms of the committee. Decisions are made without consensus as if in a command regime.

The national convention which is supposed to be the highest organ of the party and indeed the primary assignment of the committee is now relegated to the background completely as it is not in any contemplation of the committee.

The committee has rather continued to change paradigms and request extension of stay through the advancement of flimsy excuses intended for nothing but a sit tight. In a recent meeting about a week ago, the committee under the watch of HE Mai Mala Buni sought for the approval of extension of the party registration exercise by a whooping eight weeks in total silence over urgent need for preparation for a national convention for which it was set up in the first place. Over two third of the state caretaker committees were outraged for not being carried along on major decisions to the embarrassment of the party as a whole.

The question begging for answer at various quarters is why so much time should be set aside for membership registration and validation against a continuous process as in other parties and indeed other climes?

Thus, it becomes clear that major cracks are appearing on the erstwhile cohesive matrix of the party.
We are pained that the major opposition parties, the PDP and others have consequently capitalized on the lack luster disposition and indiscretion of the CECPC to barrette the All Progressives Congress at any given opportunity especially on the mainstream national television networks and it is truly logical to assume that a party lacking in capacity, will and cohesion to organize itself as in national convention is apparently unfit to seek mandate to lead the nation.

THE 2023 NATIONAL ELECTION
The year 2022 is almost here with us whereas our great party the APC is yet in a rudderless sail through self contrived troubled waters.

Should it continue in the present indefinite motion ostensibly on the mission to reinvent itself, we of the APC Southeast/Southsouth Youth Assembly take the lead to bid it farewell over a great but messed vision at the behest of unserious party administrators and political quacks.

HE Mai Mala Buni should see himself as the luckiest politician in the entire universe. This is a man who from nowhere became secretary to a winning national party and in a straight wave contested and won the governorship of a state as important as Yobe.

This is the same man considered good enough to lead the National Caretaker Committee of the same winning party.

Like the proverbial Blackman’s leadership syndrome of ‘sit tight and never vacate office’ Buni is now cut in the web of high profile fog and trappings of high offices at national and state levels and he has forgotten his modest beginnings.

 I wonder why he should forget that an incoming Exco of the party would require time to get acquainted with the workings and flow of the party from bottom-top. What does it take for him to understand that a stitch in time saves nine. Are the challenges at Yobe not enough for him to contend with ?

Wouldn’t he have preferred a more robust APC delivered by his committee than a party in tatters and too disorganized and weak to run elections in 2023 should his committee insist on using the space of time between now and 2023 for a rollercoaster jamboree??

We use this medium to urge those in the  true spirit to lead the party beyond Buni to begin on their own to undertake familiarization tours of the States’ APC formations with a view to grasping the inherent challenges than wait for the vacation of the slow pacing Buni & Co.  

WELCOME MR PRESIDENT
Welcome Mr President, you are welcome our own PMB. In spite of ill-health for which the Almighty Allah has decisively intervened, you are an elixir.

You have always been the catalyst that quickens chemical reactions but in the human sphere of life, not in the labs.

As party faithfuls, we look up to you to step in and arrest the budding drift in our great party.

 Moses played a similar role in the Holy Bible when it became necessary to deliver Israel from the house of bondage.

We beckon on you to once again step into the shoes lest our party, the APC sink like the great titanic.

Read Also; Presidency 2023: We Can’t Zone Presidency, Others Without Buhari, Governors – APC

Hon Stanley Chuks Nwachukwu
PRESIDENT APC SOUTH YOUTH ASSEMBLY

Hon McDonald Ita Ekpenyong
SECRETARY APC SOUTH YOUTH ASSEMBLY

Hon Godspower Bennett Briggs
PUBLICITY SECRETARY

Hon Felicia Nene Akoma
WOMAN LEADER

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