Senate President Ahmad Lawan on Sunday urged the Southeast to move to the centre of the nation’s politics.
He said Imo State Governor Hope Uzodinma has achieved so much in one year because he took his politics beyond the Southeast.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) urged the Imo governor to stay focused.
They spoke in Owerri, the state capital, during a thanksgiving to commemorate Uzodimma’s first anniversary as governor.
Lawan said: “Let me say the presence of the Vice President, representing the President, and all the governors here is a very clear testimony of his (government’s) relationship with the centre of Nigeria.
“He doesn’t waste time looking for an opportunity like this and the result is what you see.
“He has achieved so much in one year because he does not play his politics only in the Southeast.
“He has taken his politics to the centre as well and I will take this opportunity to appeal to our people in the Southeast: grab the opportunity to be at the centre of Nigerian politics.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is so willing, so liberal and forthcoming to support every part of Nigeria to make sure that Nigeria is evenly developed.
“So, what we are witnessing here in Imo will be replicated in Ebonyi. We hope by the grace of God, Anambra is coming on board.
“We are expecting Abia to be on board. And of course, we are hoping to bring Enugu on board.
“Nigeria should be a united country where the progressives provide the leadership for this country to be great.”
Osinbajo expressed confidence that Nigeria would overcome its challenges.
“By the grace of God, we, the Nigerian people, are more than able to surmount them.
“So, I say to you, people of Imo and the great people of Nigeria; yes, we have work to do, yes we have much to repair, but we are undaunted.
“The problems we see today are the stepping stones to our great future. We are, by the grace of God, mightier than our challenges,” he said.
The Vice President was received at the airport by Uzodimma, and former Governors Orji Kalu (Abia) and Mohammed Bindow of Adamawa.
There were also members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) members, including Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), and Minister of Labour and Employment Dr Chris Ngige.
While he acknowledged some of the strides so far recorded under Uzodinma, the Vice President urged him to stay focused on delivering quality leadership in service to the people of Imo State, while ensuring their well-being remains a cardinal point for the state government.
“There are, at least, three possible forms of opposition to the government. One is political opposition, the second is time, and the third is the leader himself – i.e. when the leader is discouraged or distracted.
“The most critical factor is you, the leader. How you deal with time and political opposition will determine success or failure. Don’t look back. Keep focused. Stay on track,” he said.
Uzodimma recalled the events that led to the recovery of his mandate at the Supreme Court.
“Today (yesterday) reminded us the long way we have travelled to get back our votes. The battle from the forces of darkness fought me to deny me my victory at the poll.
“However, Imo people appreciated the hand of God in the restoration of my mandate. That is why we are starting this anniversary with church service.
“My covenant with God is that I will make this state and our people better than we met them. I am not governor to boast that I am richer than the state and to acquire illegally the properties of Imo people
“When I took over office, I was not given any handover note but I do know that I was not elected to give excuses. I must tell you one year after, we have not failed Imo people.
“We have restored confidence in governance, and in just one year we have dramatically changed the narrative by constructing solid and world-class roads.
“The days of lawlessness are over. We have restored democracy and we are able to clean up the frauds in the civil service went memories system and more things positively will be done.”
Also at the church service were Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, Deputy Speaker Ahmed Idris; Governors Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Dave Umahi (Ebonyi) and Mai Mala Buni (Yobe).
Also present were former Imo governor Ikedi Ohakim, former Abia governor now Senator Theodore Orji, former Borno governor Ali Modu Sheriff, wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Dame Patience, among other dignitaries.