Buhari to Imo state: I will be careful with your future invitations – Buhari told Gov Uzodinma
President Buhari’s concluding remarks at the meeting with South East Leaders during his one day visit to Imo State is being deliberately contorted and twisted out of context.
Shortly after his plane landed at the Sam Mbakwe Airport in Owerri, the state capital, President Buhari was received by Governor Hope Uzodinma, along with some state officials and other dignitaries.
At a ceremony to commission one of the projects, the President praised the governor for his development strides which he described as visible.
The purveyors of disinformation want Nigerians to believe that the President bluntly told Governor Uzodinma, ‘‘I’ll be careful with your future invitations.’’
They have adduced different meanings to the phrase, contrary to the context wherein the President spoke during his successful dialogue with leaders of thought from Igbo land.
When he arrived at the banquet hall of Imo State Government House for his last assignment in Owerri, the president was welcomed by over 50 leaders from the South East who had waited patiently for him for a Town Hall engagement, after commissioning strategic projects in the State.
“I have seen enough that justifies his (Uzodinma’s) integrity in making sure that he is working very hard to make sure that you get the structures necessary,” President Buhari said.
“I am very impressed by what he has done because I have gone through the same problems at the centre.”
Stressing that infrastructure is what will enable the people to mind their own businesses, he said, “If there are no roads; if there is no security, what can the people do? Absolutely nothing.
“I am very pleased that by some fabulous coincidence, my idea and that of your governor coincided. I am very pleased with what I have seen and I assure you that, at the centre, I will try to encourage Imo State within the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
The president began his extempore speech by acknowledging the caliber of personalities present at the dialogue including the President-General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, George Obiozor, former Chief of General Staff, Ebitu Ukiwe, former Senate President Ken Nnamani, former Military Governor in old Imo State, Ike Nwachukwu, the Obi of Onitsha, Alfred Achebe, Chairman of the South East Governors Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, Deputy Governors of Abia, Anambra and the SSG of Enugu State, who represented the Governor, the Anglican Archbishop of Owerri Province, David Onouha and his brother Bishop of Enugu, Emmanuel Chukwuma, Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Ahaejiagamba Ndigbo, just to mention but a few.
An elated President Buhari made it clear that he was expressly overwhelmed by the reception and galaxy of personalities that travelled from the five South Eastern States to have a heart-to-heart discussion with him in Owerri, the Imo State capital.
‘I am overwhelmed by this reception, overwhelmed in the sense that when I accepted the invitation by the Imo State Governor, who wants to justify investments the government has done to the people of Imo State, I thought I would see the bridges, the roads and a few renovations.
‘‘He didn’t tell me he was going to get the whole Igbo leadership here. So in the future when he invites me, I’ll know what to do. But I think he has done what the military didn’t like. He has achieved surprise. He has surprised me beyond description.’’
Later, in his concluding statement at the same event, the president made reference to his earlier remarks on the ‘‘surprise’’ action pulled by the governor. On a lighter note, he quipped:
The president’s historic visit to Imo State was very successful and the Igbo leaders who met him shared the same enthusiasm that his coming to the Eastern heartland would bring peace, foster unity, encourage good and better understanding among the citizenry.