The aspiration of President Muhammadu Buhari received a major boost yesterday as Ebonyi council of traditional rulers endorsed him for a second term and assures him of their votes in the February 16 presidential poll.
His Royal Majesty Eze Charles Mkpuma, chairman of council of traditional rulers in the state, who announced this on Wednesday, said the endorsement was born of the “robust relationship” the president has with David Umahi, governor of the state.
The Monarch spoke during an audience with the president at the Ebonyi state government House in Abakaliki, the state capital.
Eze Mkpuma, who spoke on behalf of the other 140 traditional rulers in the state, said “We appreciate your dogged determination to maintain utmost security of the country especially your effort in eliminating Boko Haram and fight against corruption which has brought respect and integrity to the country among committee of nations.
“We believe that your robust relationship with our son the governor and your loved for him and the state will surely earn you and only you, votes in Ebonyi state irrespective of party differences.”
Mkpuma said the traditional rulers were happy with the leadership of the governor “who has virtually touched every facets of human and infrastructural development of the state”.
The monarchs later presented 1,000 yams for Buhari’s breakfast and lunch respectively.
Responding, Buhari commended the governor for infrastructural development in the state, promising that the money spent on the completion of federal projects will be refunded.
He said Umahi told him during the short trip to the government house that the state had not received up to 40 percent of the funds spent on federal projects in the state.
He also told the traditional rulers that his administration’s plans to invest in agriculture was deliberate, recalling that the First Republic was good in agriculture because the land was abundant and grazing routes developed.
“But subsequently we got drunk with oil money and abandoned what kept us intact. But we are going back to that (agriculture),” he said.
He assured the monarchs that the south-east will benefit from second Niger Bridge when completed and it will affect you positively in moving goods and services.
The governor said irrespective of some perceptions, the south east has benefited from federal government projects.
He added that the federal government’s agricultural programme had benefited the state immensely.
He said the state has comparative advantage in agriculture and solid minerals.
Umahi thanked the president for approving the commencement of Ebonyi salt production.