The distraction called President Muhammadu Buhari visit to Imo State was scheduled to suffer several thunderstorms.
Coincidentally, IPOB directed a sit – at – home, same Tuesday, September 13, 2022, in honour, sympathy and solidarity for its leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, who is facing trial in an Abuja federal high court for alleged felony. Kanu appeared in court yesterday, and the entire South East observed the lockdown order.
Taking a concerned and unbiased analysis on the three projects Governor Hope Uzodimma presented to President Muhammadu Buhari for commissioning, the senator who represented Orlu zone for eight years deserves commendation, given his own standard and guage for measuring achievements and democracy dividends.
One major flaw noticed in the entire drama of the absurd, was the mindful and willful blunder of the Imo State Government in deliberately but callously deleting the imprimatur of former Governor Emeka Ihedioha from the commissioned projects.
The eternal truth of the trend, and Imolites of all walks of life bear this glorious testimony, is that it was Ihedioha who laid the proper foundation stone of the reconstruction of the Owerri – Orlu Road, Owerri – Okigwe Road, and the Imo State House of Assembly Complex. Although, following the tragic circumstances that followed the supreme court of January 14, 2020, Governor Uzodimma who benefited from the unfortunate fiasco, continued the roads construction and other people oriented programmes initiated by the ruthlessly ousted administration of Ihedioha.
Of course, government is a continuum, and so, Uzodimma, certainly, deserves an applause for continuing the projects and programs like the road reconstruction, judicial panel of inquiries, reconstruction of the state assembly complex, and few others. In Rivers State, Chief Rotimi Amaechi cried to heavens that Governor Nyesom Wike had been commissioning (completing) his projects without giving him credit. Also, Buhari continued the landmark agricultural strides then President Goodluck Jonathan initiated as well the (Jonathan’s) regime’s signature project of railway construction . On this, also, Buhari must be commended despite that he now excluded the South East region from benefitting the rail tracks.
However, both Buhari and Uzodimma must answer some apparently searching as well as relevant questions emanating from the president’s visit to Imo State which oppositions have labelled, rightly or wrongly, a jamboree jam.
Imo people in particular, and Ndigbo in general, are asking both Buhari and Uzodimma to point at any meaningful federal project in the state or South East that the Federal Government of Nigeria under the APC – led regime had brought to Igbo country in the last seven years.
Since Uzodimma can exploit and explore his huge contact in Abuja to bring Buhari to Imo State, twice in a year – by all standards, a no mean feat – why can’t he, at the same time, use the same compass in dragging the president to recognize Imo State in locating federal projects to Igbo territory?
Uzodimma who emerged Imo State governor through what has become a derogatory slogan in the country: “one who finished fourth but through the ill conceived supreme court process ultimately became first and emerged as governor” – should have equally played around the presidency the same way he hypnotized the apex court and has ever since established a conciliatory partnership with the powers that be at the centre; should have, for the sake of growth and development of Imo State, attracted the Federal Government’s presence to the Heartland state.
It has been said over and again that what may actually be recorded as Buhari’s biggest hallmark project is in suffocating seven years rule which has brought about unparalleled insecurity, economic stagnation, horrendous division, political indignity and general disturbances in the country, is the rail construction which his administration inherited from Jonathan.
This purpose has brought a spiraling foreign debt that runs into trillions of naira on the Nugeria. Yet, not one rail crisscrossed the South East zone. Based on the purported closeness of Uzodimma and Buhari why is it an iron cast for the Imo governor to call the attention of his Man Friday Buhari to direct a railroad from Port Harcourt via Aba or Egbema to Imo and then passing through Onitsha to Lagos? Are Igbo’s, their children and children to be excluded from the China multi dollars loan repayment?
Most Igbo people don’t consider again that in July 2021, Buhari approved the establishment of four new federal universities that were located in Jigawa, Akwa Ibom, Osun and Bauchi states. None was recommended for any South East state.
In addition, Buhari had also established the Nigerian Army University, Biu, in Borno State. It is the first Nigerian army university and Africa’s first green university. The university which is managed by the Nigerian Army was designed to have 75 % civilian and 25% military and paramilitary representation. The aim of the university, according to the Federal Government of Nigeria, is to, among other things, “To be a centre of innovation and technological development for the Nigerian defence sector and the nation to meet the ever changing and rapid development in the dynamics of modern warfare. It focusses on research and technological innovations”. Yet, South East was excluded. Yet, Uzodimma never used his famed closeness to Buhari to attract such a highly rated federal facility to Imo. Something is essentially wrong somewhere.
Also, it must be recorded for posterity that President Buhari, within the last seven years, had put in place, the first Federal Transportation University and it located right in his locale in Daura, Katsina State. As it was in the case of railway and army university, Uzodimma could not leverage on his well oiled friendliness with the current Nigerian oligarch and their feudal lords to cause for the siting of this monumental institution. Surely, this is curious and it calls for explanations!!!
In all, Buhari has built seven specialized federal universities and none is in the South East. He has developed railroads all over the country, not one lane is in the Igbo country. Buhari is training 150 young Nigerian students in railway engineering in China and South East is missing from the number. Buhari is ruling Nigeria with 16 security chiefs and none is of South East extraction. For the first time in democratic Nigeria, an Igbo is not the president, not the vice president, not the senate president and not the deputy senate president, not the speaker and not the deputy speaker of the house of representatives., an Igbo is not even the national chairman of the ruling party. It has never been this terrible, politically, for the South East.
The question begging for answer is, why has Buhari continued his Igbo marginalization agendum commenced since his days as a military leader and why has Uzodimma continued to bring him to Imo State in the event of this list of agonizing marginalization?
Do not forget that Buhari was the first minister of petroleum in Nigeria. His ministry supervised the construction of the four refineries in the country. He advised head of state then retired General Olusegun Obasanjo to site two in Rivers, one in Warri and the other in Kaduna. None in South East. Buhari had hand in the composition of the NNPC now NNPCL and he ensured that South East lacked representation. All other successive federal governments have toed his line of action. Again, Buhari was an influential member of the all powerful Supreme Military Council, SMC, that created the 19 states in 1976 with Obasanjo as head of state where only two states of Anambra and Imo were allotted to Ndigbo while four went to the Yoruba! Buhari never made any objections to that malady.
As the head of state, Buhari carried out a punitive machine gun against Ndigbo. In his 19 man SMC members, only one was Igbo. It was here that Buhari supported a Fulani Nigerien against his fellow compatriot, Dr Peter Onu, for the position of the substantive secretary of the then Organization of African Union, OAU, now AU.
Both President Buhari and Governor Uzodimma must stop this insult on Igbo’s sensibilities. We don’t need his presence. What we need is federal presence. The former is brute force. The later is beautiful projects!!!
By Ori Martins