President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election campaign kicked off on a low note in the Southeast on Thursday as Owelle Rochas Okorocha, the only South East Governor of All Progressives Congress (APC), failed to attend the first strategy meeting of the zonal campaign council in Enugu.
Others, who were noticeably absent include former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, former Anambra State Governor, Chief Jim Nwobodo, four Ministers from the South East, Chris Ngige (Labour), Geofrey Onyeama (Foreign Affairs), Anthony Anwuka (Education/State Minister) and Okechukwu Enelama (Trade and Investment).
Ogbonnaya Onu, the Minister of Science and Technology was the only Minister from the South East that attended the closed door strategy meeting, convened by Miss Sharon Ikeazor, the Director of Buhari Campaign Council, South East.
The meeting was earlier scheduled to start by 10.am but it was delayed for several hours, following the absence of some key stakeholders.
It eventually commenced by 1.pm when it was obvious that Okorocha and other key stakeholders were not coming.
Some inside sources who confided in journalists, blamed the absence of notable South East APC leaders on their dissatisfaction with the appointment of Miss Ikeazor, a political rookie without any electoral antecedents as the Director of the Buhari Campaign in the South East.
Most of the APC leaders were said to have seen her appointment as an attempt by President Buhari to add salt to the injury already inflicted on Ndigbo by his administration.
The meeting, however, went ahead without an array of South East APC bigwigs.
Answering questions from journalists after the first session, Miss Ikeazor played down the absence of Okorocha and others from the meeting, saying that workings of government cannot ground to a halt because of politics.
She said Okorocha had his representative at the meeting, who would report back to him.
“You noticed that not all Ministers are here. Governance cannot ground to a halt because of politics,” she said.
On the resolutions at the meeting, Ikeazor said since there was no longer time, they resolved to adopt a targeted approach to see that Buhari wins South East.
She said, “We have less than 40 days to the presidential election. There has to be a targeted approach. That is why I have called the meeting today. It’s a strategy meeting. So, we strategised and harmonised our strategies in the five Eastern States for us to be able to deliver Minister President and make a significant change from past elections we have always done
“And that targeted aproach is door to door campaign, group to group campaign. Going into motor parks, markets, talking to our people one on one. This is no time for rallies.
“We need to engage the populace, come down to theitr level and talk to them. And we can achieve that. That is why you saw the large turnout. Everyone from each of the five South Eastern states-candidates, party members, National Working Committee members, zonal leaders, our elders in the party , down to the National Assembly, stakeholders-are strategising for Buhari to win,” Ikeazor said.
Others at the meeting were Senators, Benjamin Uwajumogu and Andy Uba, the National Vice Chairman, South East, Emma Eneukwu, National Auditor George Muoghalu, Osita Okechukwu, Hope Uzodimma, Uche Ogar and Emeka Wogu.