Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, the former governor of the Old Anambra state has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of trying to push the Igbos out of Nigeria and threatening the peace that existed in the country.
In an interview with The Punch, the former governor claimed President Buhari’s appointments were a testimony of how he was marginalising the people of the south east. He said that prior to appointing ministers, Buhari made 39 appointments and none of the appointees were Igbos. He said this, coupled with the arrests of Nnamdi Kanu, the director of Radio Biafra led to some Igbos taking to the streets in protest.
He said: “Everybody in government knows that the people of the South-East are aggrieved but the flashpoint is the detention of Kanu. Let me go over the issues the people of the South-East are complaining about: One, those who killed our people in the North in the name of Boko Haram or who have been imprisoned in the North after the election of (President Muhammadu) Buhari. People were speculating whether the attacks were the first action for Islamisation or not. People reacted so autonomously in every state of the country, yet the government did not act. Following that, 39 appointments were made by the new president – Out of these, there was none for the South-East. What does that say?
In a country that has six geopolitical zones and six principal offices, of which the SGF (Secretary to the Government of the Federation) is the least of them, the South-East was not able to get the SGF position. This is what made me to say that Buhari appears to be pushing the South-East out of Nigeria or making them (Igbo) think they are not welcome. We have made all efforts on these issues; we had cried and expressed our feelings. But on top of these, we saw his list of ministers and saw where we belonged in his calculation.”
Ezeife also said the ministerial appointments did not favour the Igbos as they got positions like the minister of labour and productivity and minister of science and technology while Babatunde Fashola – whom he referred to as a friend – was made the minster of “power housing and works; three heavy ministries that are too big for one person.”
He claimed that the Boko Haram insurgency was created to so as to make the administration of Goodluck Jonathan ungovernable and subsequently return power to the north.
“When an eastern person was president, some people concocted insecurity by way of Boko Haram to get power back to the North. All northern people, including the Muslims, decided they must have it. Whether the northerners were in the Peoples Democratic Party or the other party, they voted for Buhari. When we discovered that, we clapped for them. We are not against anybody. God loves us and we will survive; we will succeed, whatever happens.”
He advised the president to do things that will make south eastern people feel inclusive in his administration as the perception is that they were being marginalized.
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“The actions of the president make us feel he shouldn’t have been president. If he says something, he doesn’t mean it. He said ‘I belong to everybody, I belong to nobody.’ It later turned out that he gave more to the South-West, and more to the North than to the South.”
On the issue of what the Igbos plan to do, he said: “Nigeria is better off with Igbo people remaining there (in the country); if there are more Igbo people, it will be the best. Igbo, having voted for one Nigeria and in consonance with their belief that where you live you mend, are not keen to leave Nigeria now. But as we say, it is not by force that we will make Nigerians have us with them. If they say no, we will accept no.”
You may read the rest of the interview here