By UCHE CHRIS
President Buhari’s last week visit to the south east on APC campaign for Anambra governorship poll and his promise to give more appointments to the region is a clear and abundant proof that he is either a bad politician or he takes the Igbo for a fool. It is sad and insulting to the people for Buhari to think that after what he had said and done to the region since assuming power in May 2015 he could just turn around to woo them because PDP is back and election is coming.
Buhari made no qualms about his position regarding where he stood with the Igbo as far as government benefit was concerned. He made no pretense about it; and to now assume that he didn’t know about the skewed appointments and the near ethnic cleansing of the Igbo in his government apart from the basic and statutory is evidence of his hypocrisy and insincerity. As a politician he knew what he was doing and therefore should accept the responsibility and face the consequences.
Buhari came to power for a purpose and that purpose has been served; yet he wants to run away from its expected backlash – talk of appropriating and reprobating. Buhari and his northern constituency were angry with the south and 16 years of PDP, which had opened up the economy and empowered the private sector by privatizing some state owned firms and boosting entrepreneurship, which arguably encouraged growth in the south and shrunk northern economy because of its dependence on government.
So, his immediate mandate for power was to empower his people who had been denied access to power by southern leaders since 1999 by redressing the economic imbalance. Secondly he wanted to ensure that power was firmly entrenched in the north for as long as they deem fit by seizing all the key security and strategic positions in the country with minimal southern presence.
Buhari’s policies manifested very early in the day that he was insecure and angry with certain parts of the country especially the Igbo who have become the scape goat for the nation’s ills for supporting Jonathan. Former Adamawa state governor Muritala Nyako had warned the Igbo against their support for former president Jonathan because it would cost them a pound of flesh. Buhari was only acting the script already written.
In an early interview with a foreign media, he had no apology about how to favour those who voted 90 percent for him and punish those who rejected him at the polls. He never refuted the assertion but followed it up with his strategic appointments, which excluded the Igbo. His first 28 appointments, which were the most important positions in the government, both security and economic, had no Igbo presence.
To worsen matters he even suspended work on the Second Niger Bridge – the only legacy project the last administration left for them. However, what the Igbo got for protesting was a jack-boot measure which put the entire region on complete locked down and a proscription of an organisation with an avowed pacifist objectives and strategy.
Meanwhile his kinsmen marauding as herdsmen have been raiding different parts of the country leaving in their trails tales of deaths and destruction. Yet no major policy position has been taken on them as terrorists. Buhari should tell the Igbo his position on restructuring, because anyone opposed to it cannot be their friend.
A Buhari confident lamented the efforts put into making him understand the absurdity and political foolhardiness of denying a major group presence in his kitchen cabinet by conceding secretary to the government to the Igbo to no avail. When Babachir Lawal was removed many people thought such open sore would be healed; again Buhari disappointed them by appointing Boss Mustapha as replacement – which makes sense as it runs according to tradition of replacing officials with people from their geopolitical zones.
But in the case of Mrs Chinelo Amazu –Anuhu, former DG of the PenCom, who transformed the institution and secured its multi trillion assets, this tested tradition was jettisoned. Buhari not only removed her mid term but replaced her with a northern, who was later removed by then acting president and brought his own person. Fifteen top management appointments were made in the NNPC – 10 from north, three south west, and two south south – and none from south east; yet it did not come to the president as odd and discriminatory.
Official propaganda justifies Buhari’s anti Igbo policies on the basis of Igbo population now put at 16 million. Nothing could be more obnoxious and vindictive against the Igbo than such blatant distortion of facts and history. We may be entitled to our opinions but nobody has the liberty to be entitled to his own set of facts.
Now election is coming and he wants to make promises to us; I think he should be ignored. People like Okorocha and Umahi, governors of Imo and Ebonyi states respectively should hide their faces in shame for betraying their people. Buhari cannot become an Igbo lover suddenly and want us to forget all the injustice and insult of his government. Let him complete his term and he can make amend if he wins again. His first term is already over.
Appointments means little to the Igbo; they have achieved their envious development without much of government assistance and giving one or two of their people appointments cannot obviate the total absence of federal establishments in the region and the structural marginalization of having the least number of states in the country. Buhari should keep his appointments to know whether he needs the Igbo more than they need him.
It is better for him to win again without Igbo support than otherwise; it is pay- back time.