My com­ment to World Bank boss twisted – Buhari

Says South-East well-rep­re­sented in his cabi­net

Weekly Trust - - Front Page - Isi­aka Wak­ili

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.”

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