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Monday, March 4, 2024

On Igbo Marginalization President Buhari Erred – By Daniel Okolie



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During his first media chat, President Muhammadu Buhari while answering the vexed question on Igbo marginalization asked what NdiIgbo wanted. Suggesting that NdiIgbo were not being marginalised as claimed in several quarters.
It is quite saddening that President Buhari who should be acting as a statesman by virtue of his office which he occupies has rather chosen to act like a northern feudal lord even though he presides over   a country of diverse tribes and ethnic groups.
It is un-statesmanlike for President Buhari as leader of Nigeria to have brazenly denied that NdiIgbo have been marginalised in a country they have given their all. What beats me hollow is the fact that President Buhari spoke as one not having an understanding of gravity of his leadership at this point in time nor the weight of his statements, President Buhari chose to rather heat up the polity and fan the embers that are fostering the calls for the balkanization of Nigeria.
For President Buhari to have said that the Igbo allege marginalisation but have not been able to define the extent of such marginalization is like playing with the sensitivities of the Igbo people. Must Igbo people define the extent before President Buhari agrees with us that the Igbos are marginalised? Perhaps President Buhari isn’t honest or he is trying to be clever by half when he again asks the question on who is marginalising the Igbo? The question is indeed farfetched and portrays our president in bad light.
Is President Buhari unaware that while a child in Anambra    needs to score 137 to gain admission into any of the Federal Government Colleges another child in Yobe just needs to score 2 in the same country that preaches fairness and equality?
Is President Buhari not aware of the injustices meted out to civil servants of Igbo extraction who after giving their best in the service are shown the way out or jumped over by less qualified civil servants, just because they are northerners and Muslims?
Is President Buhari also unaware that the Federal road networks in the southeastern region the poorest anywhere in the country?
Under President Buhari’s watch, the marginalisation he so denies has been greatly perpetuated! We cannot forget his 95% statement in the US, which is why all key positions in the office of the executive and even the National Assembly are held by Northerners. Though many clamored for an Igbo SGF, President Buhari decided to appoint a fellow Northerner as SGF. This is why when the office of Director General of NIMASA fell to an Igbo man, President Buhari revoked it and appointed a fellow Northerner, same happened in the case of the Nigerian Civil Defence and the last reshuffle of permanent secretaries.
Again, let us take a look at another angle of President Buhari’s response. The President pointed to the fact that NdiIgbo had ministers in some portfolios such as Petroleum, Labour and Sceince and Technology. These are merely Greek gifts as we believe that President Buhari only appointed these persons because the constitution says so and not because he wants to be fair or can claim to be fair to Ndi-Igbo. Ndi- Igbo are even slighted that the likes of Ogbonnaya Onu would be reduced to the irrelevant ministry of Science and Technology when he would have landed a more meaningful ministry given his academic background and forthrightness as leader of the opposition. Lastly let me draw attention of the reader to the theatre of the absurd as directed by President Buhari in the Ministry of Education. Here Buhari chose to make a columnist with a newspaper as Minister for Education and a Vice Chancellor of a University as Minister for State, simply because the said Vice Chancellor is Igbo!
Ndi-Igbo did not vote for Buhari and it was our right to do so, in societies practicing democracy all that ends after the elections and it takes a leader with vision to even seek out those who did not vote for him. This is what President has failed to understand and to seek to understand this failure points us to the past when he ruled as Military Head of State. Whereas Shagari who was President was kept under house arrest, his Vice President in Alex Ekueme was detained under shabby conditions in KiriKiri. Also singled out for humiliation was the former Biafran leader Emeka Ojukwu, who had never held any position in the toppled civilian administration, was also detained in Kirikiri.

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Daniel Okolie Writes From Awka

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