Igbos in the South-East prefer political appointments to infrastructural development in their region, but President Muhammadu Buhari does not understand that, says Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige.
“My people love appointments. That’s where this president (Mr Buhari) didn’t get them well,” Mr Ngige said. He (Mr Buhari) felt that by giving infrastructure: if I empower you through your fertilizer plant in Ebonyi state, give loans, credits and grants to farmers in Abakaliki, Ebonyi, Imo, that our people will be happy. But these people love appointments.”
Mr Ngige disclosed this in an interview with Channels TV on Tuesday.
He asserted that though former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan gave more Igbos political appointments during their tenures, the South-East remained underdeveloped.
“We had plenty of appointments during Obasanjo and Jonathan. For example, the Enugu airport has been dilapidated over the years. We have had four aviation ministers: Kema Chikwe, Fidelia Nnjeze, Osita Chidoka, and Stella Oduah. How come your airport is dilapidated?” Mr Ngige reasoned.
He added, “But Hadi Sirika from Katsina discussed with president and some of us in council, and the president brought N10 billion special fund and renovated our airport. But I don’t know; my people love appointments. As far as I am concerned, I don’t have to behave like any other person. I say it to them: for me, appointment is ephemeral. It is immaterial. It is a four-term.”
Agitation for the secession of the South-East by IPOB has heightened since Mr Buhari assumed office in 2015, leading to violent attacks on the federal government facilities in the region and the killing of security officers.
The rearrest and detention of IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu has worsened the situation, making Mr Buhari more unpopular in the region.