PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has said it is not true that his government has been marginalising Igbo people.
He also assured the Igbo of a seaport in Onitsha if re-elected.
He announced that the River Niger portion in Onitsha would be among the rivers that would be dredged for seaports in his second term
Others, he said, included Warri and Lokoja, which he said when done, would decongest the Lagos seaport and open economic activities in Anambra and the South-East in general.
Buhari made this pledge at an interactive session with traditional rulers and presidents-general of Anambra communities at the palace of the Obi of Onitsha on Thursday during his campaign visit to the state.
He said, “My government is determined to complete the ongoing federal projects in the state, especially the Second Niger Bridge and the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway.
“It’s not true that my government is marginalising the Igbo. The five eastern states are represented in my cabinet. Every appointment was based on fairness to accommodate every state.
“The Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonaya Onu, Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, Minister of State for Education, Anthony Anwuka, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah are from the South-East.”
The President added that his appointment of security chiefs was based on merit not sentiments.
He stated, “Those of you who were in the military, even in the Biafran Army, know that the entry point is the same and you go for basic training, until you go to your formations or institutions, whether it is Army, Navy, Air Force or the police. The most competent or senior person is the one that gets there.
“If there are half a million soldiers, only one man can be the Chief of Army Staff at a time. This is so for the rest of the troop. In recruitment, we make sure that by states, people are recruited. At least, this is what I do, people are recruited from each state. For those who manage to get recruited, it’s up to them to get to the top if they are professional and work for it.
“The present Chief of Army Staff, the Chief of Air Staff, the Chief of Naval Staff even the previous Inspector-General of Police that just left, I didn’t know them personally before I appointed them. I follow the records,” the President said.
He said even the current acting Inspector-General of Police, Abubakar Adamu, was appointed based on merit.
“The same thing with the IG that was appointed last week. I don’t think I have ever seen him, I follow the records. So, appointments in the Armed Forces and other law enforcement agencies depend on individual performance after recruitment, not where you think you come from. At least between me and God, this is what I do.
“I assure the people of the South-East of the completion of the ongoing roads and rail projects in the geopolitical zone in my second term.
“We regret that most of the roads are in deplorable conditions as a result of serial abandonment by previous governments.
“The Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway was done last during Abacha’s time, but its being done now. The Minister of Transport had told you about the ongoing rail projects across the country. We are determined to complete all of them in our second term in office.”
Buhari said his party had kept faith with its campaign promises on security, economy, and anti-corruption fight.
“I stand here to thank you for coming out in your numbers to receive us despite the scorching sun.
“We urge you to vote for the APC from top to bottom, and we promise not to disappoint you. Our second term will be full of roses for the people of the South-East,” Buhari said.
On his part, the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, said the people of the zone should not allow themselves to be deceived again by the opposition.
He said,”You have been deceived for the past 16 years by people who don’t mean well for you. You can’t afford to allow yourself to be deceived again this time.”
Earlier at the inauguration of the Zik Mausoleum and Conference Centre in Onitsha, Buhari extolled the virtues of the first President of the country, the late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, saying the late sage would continue to be alive in the minds of Nigerians, including those yet unborn.
Speaking in Enugu, the President pointed out that the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, had promised the people that the Federal Government would construct a railway to link the South-East zone.
He, however, said as Amaechi made the promise without the approval of the Federal Executive Council, noting that it might be hard to convince FEC to approve the project he would do his best to convince FEC for the approval.
Source: Real News Magazine