The Director-General of the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Organisation, Rotimi Amaechi, on Tuesday called on Nigerians to vote out President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 elections.
He said only a “strong leader” like Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) could tackle insurgency and corruption in the country.
Amaechi said prayers alone could not rescue the nation from the brink of collapse and underdevelopment.
Amaechi, who is also the Rivers State governor, addressed journalists in Lagos at a maiden press briefing on his plans to drive the party’s efforts to win the 2015 presidential election.
Also at the briefing was the Chairman of the APC in Rivers State, Davies Ibiamu-Ikanya.
The APC had, last week, announced Amaechi as the Director-General of the Buhari Presidential Campaign Organisation.
Amaechi also promised to drive an issue-based campaign that would ensure victory for the APC.
He said the APC presidential campaign would commence a nationwide campaign in the early part of next year.
Amaechi said President Jonathan’s administration was too weak to tackle insurgency.
He recalled that when Chadian rebels invaded Borno State in the past, it was Buhari that deployed troops to chase them away.
He said, “You need a strong leader to chase away Boko Haram or Boko Haram will chase us away. There are reports that 32 persons have been killed in Bauchi and Gombe; so you need a Buhari to actually fight the insurgents.
“Insurgency continues not because we have a bad military; our soldiers are well trained. It is because they are not well funded. The period when the money gets to the military and before it is released, somewhere, some amount of money disappears.
“So, we have to deal with the issue of corruption and that is where the military is having problem. If they are not properly equipped, they cannot fight insurgency. So, we have to deal with the issue of corruption.
“You want to kill 50 military officers who are saying, ‘please equip us properly, I can’t go to the battlefront without the right weapon. Now you are sending him to fight a man with RPG and you gave him an old AK47. He says you are risking his life. They have a right to protest that. You don’t kill them for that.”
When our correspondent asked him how Buhari would tackle post-election violence in the North if he did not win the presidential election as witnessed in 2011, Amaechi said the game had changed, insisting that Buhari would win.
He said the issue of violence would not arise because Nigerians would massively vote for Buhari, because they are tired of the Jonathan administration.
Amaechi, who berated President Goodluck Jonathan for condoning corruption, urged Nigerians to take action and not believe that only prayers could solve their problems.
He added, “The former Central Bank of Nigeria’s governor said $20bn was missing, he (Jonathan) sacked the CBN governor for saying that but the Minister of Finance said they could not account for $10.8bn. Whether it was $10.8bn or $20bn, the fact is that something was missing…somebody should be resigning. But in Nigeria, nobody cares about that.
“The Presidency did not bother but was asking Nigerians to pray as if God created prayers for only Nigerians. ‘Don’t worry we are praying, God will settle 2015 for us’. God has created us with brains and hands, just like he did for the British. They have legs, just like we have our own legs. Why do we go back to God all the time. We don’t take time to find solutions to our problems after praying. But here we pray and after praying, we do nothing. We will be waiting for God to cause miracles to happen.”
Speaking on how he would combine the office of the governor and the campaign group, Amaechi said he would rely on the help of his deputy who he described as “very efficient.”
Amaechi also advised President Jonathan to caution his spokespersons against falsifying facts.
He added, “After my appointment, people tried to tarnish my image that I have not paid eight months salary. Anybody who said I have not paid him salary should come forward. I have paid up to December. You can call Rivers State.
“I was surprised that a presidential spokesman said I funded the election of Gen. Buhari, and that I owe teachers in Rivers State eight months’ salaries.
“And I asked the question, for you to be a presidential spokesman; facts and statistics must be on your palm. You shouldn’t joke with facts.”