Saturday 2 May 2015

Why Igbo Leaders Visited Buhari – Ikedife

Some Igbo leaders including retired Army Generals and the former President General of Ohane­ze Ndigbo, Dr Dozie Ikedife have paid a private visit to the President-elect, Gen­eral Muhammadu Buhari to make a case for the Igbo in the incoming APC-led feder­al government so that the re­gion will not be abandoned for not giving massive sup­port to the victorious party like the South West during the just concluded presiden­tial election.

Dr Ikedife who disclosed this at his Nnewi residence, yesterday, said the purpose of the visit was to appeal to General Buhari not to leave the Igbo in the cold in his ap­pointments and infrastructural development because of the low support he received from the South East geo-political zone during the presidential election.

“You know people of the South East voted heavily for the PDP and not very much for the APC. And I had always warned during the campaigns that the Igbo should not put all their eggs in one basket. And the impression will be that the President-elect was not sup­ported by the people of the South East. Our visit is to let the President-elect know that he is the President for all and that he has to accommodate people from the South East in his administration.

“We have people who are capable, qualified, hardwork­ing and technocrats who can work with him in Igbo land. We have people like the former Governor of Abia State, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, very brilliant and very respectful. We have Oscar Udoji and other people of high integrity and dedi­cated politicians like Dr Chris Nwabueze Ngige. And there are people who worked tire­lessly for the APC to win in the South East, people who did not vie for any elective position, no matter the low number of votes they attracted because of the overwhelming South East sup­port for the PDP. It is important that these people should be ac­commodated,” Dr Ikedife said.

He noted that it was a fact that the National Executive Council (NEC) of the APC had done its zoning as to who got what, the Igbo, he insisted, should be well accommodated and not to be left to pick the crumbs.

Dr Ikedife explained that he was too old to be given any se­rious appointment, adding that his agitation was to protect the interest of his race as an Igbo leader.

He said their discussion with General Buhari did not centre on infrastructure in Igbo land, “but during the President-elect’s campaign in the South East at the last presidential campaign, I chaired one of the occasions when he visited the entrepreneurs and leaders of the economy in the South East where we presented our prima­ry needs including electricity, water, roads and the construc­tion of the 2nd Niger Bridge, and so on. We documented these things.”

On General Buhari’s reac­tion to their request, he said the President-elect was friendly and appreciated the visit but did not say outright that he was going to grant the request or not “since we did not sign any contract with him.”

He said General Buhari listened to them carefully and that the team was of the hope that in fullness of time he would react positively so that the Igbo would be carried along in the scheme of things.

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