My comment to World Bank boss twisted – Buhari
Says South-East well-represented in his cabinet
President Muhammadu Buhari said yesterday that his discussion with the World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim, was twisted. In a statement through his spokesman, Femi Adesina, he said he had a pan-Nigerian mandate and would discharge his duties and responsibilities in like manner.
Buhari said ignorant and mischievous people who twist everything for their vile purposes were making it seem that his discussion with Kim was a calculated attempt to give the North an unfair advantage over other parts of Nigeria. He assured that any part of the country requiring special attention would receive it irrespective of primordial affinities which, according to him, narrow minded people have not been able to live above.
Also, the president yesterday met behind closed doors with leaders from the South-East of Nigeria, at the presidential villa in Abuja where he said the region had a strong representation in his cabinet. Reacting to allegations of marginalisation of the Southeast by his administration, the president in a statement, said: “I gave SouthEast four substantive ministers in the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Investment, Science and Technology and Labour. Seven states in the North got Ministers of State and of the two ministries headed by your sons, I cannot take any decision on foreign policy and investments without their input. I came into government with a clear conscience and I will also leave with a clear conscience,” he said.
Buhari said the South-East region would benefit more from roads and coastal rail projects, which are of critical importance to the economy. The president declared that Second Niger Bridge, the East-West Road and the Coastal rail project were receiving utmost attention of his administration.
Buhari thanked the leaders for the visit and assured them that their demands would be met.
The president also promised the delegation led by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, with governors and ministers from the region, the president of Ohaneze Ndigbo John Nwodo and members of the National Assembly that he would soon visit states in the zone.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo leader, John Nwodo, who spoke with State House correspondents after the meeting, said the discussion with the president concerned neglect of the region by successive administrations. “We dealt with problems of development in the South-east, basic capital projects which have for a very long time been neglected not just from this government but for a very long time.
“Major arteries of federal highways in the South-east have been in complete state of disrepair. Enugu-Onitsha, Enugu-Port Harcourt, Aba-Ikot Ikpene are virtually impassable,” he said.
“We got assurance from the president that he will deal with each of those problems,” he added. He said they were ready to work with President Buhari, adding, “We are determined to work with you. We know you are a decisive leader and we know God will continue to give you the wisdom to govern Nigeria.’’
Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State was said to have expressed satisfaction on the outcome of their discussions with the president on critical issues and topics affecting the region, telling Buhari “You have no hatred for any state. You have treated all states with equality. What one state gets in the North, the other gets in the South.”