Chukwuemeka Ezeife, former governor of Anambra state, says the Igbo are not begging President Muhammadu Buhari to give them appointments because, on merit, “we have the best people in Nigeria”.
In an interview with Sunday Punch on the perceived lopsidedness of Buhari’s appointments so far, Ezeife said the appointment of Ibe Kachikwu as the group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) will not atone for “many neglects and insults”.
Kachikwu is an Igbo from Delta state in the south-south and his appointment was thought to have calmed fears about a perceived agenda against the Igbo.
But Ezeife said: “It is not atonement for the many neglects and insults that have happened with the National Security and Civil Defence Corps, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and other agencies. How would a President appoint people into key positions in Nigeria, yet none of them is Igbo?
What kind of thing is that? “On merit, we have the best people in Nigeria and that is not boasting. On motivation, it is the same thing. If Buhari wants to ignore federal character, we are not begging him for any appointment. “And it is good for us to know where we belong and make appropriate adjustments.
It is not a matter of whether Nigeria appreciates us or not. If they think we have done enough and we should go, there is more where what we brought to Nigeria came from. It came from God and we are not going to throw it away.
If we go away, we leave with it. We like Nigeria, but one cannot insult and treat a group as if they don’t exist.” There are fears in the south-east that their failure to vote for Buhari in the March 28 election may lead to the marginalisation of the Igbo in his administration.
Buhari recently said those who gave him only 5% of their votes should not expect the same benefits as those who gave him 95%, although he added that by the constitution, no part of Nigeria can be left out in his administration. In the 2003 and 2007 presidential elections, Buhari picked his running mates from the south-east.