There’s a wise saying in Yoruba land, which goes thus: “If you like, feed the entire city with pounded yam, egusi soup and stockfish on a daily basis, there’ll still be people who won’t like you.”
Let’s be honest and frank with ourselves. There are some people with primordial antipathy towards President Muhammadu Buhari, despite the man’s strong commitment towards transforming every part of the country. Some people have simply closed their minds, eyes and ears, and the President can just do no good.
President Buhari, however, equally has very committed loyalists in every part of the country, not minding some people who have chosen to believe the worst things, and addled their minds in the process.
Last weekend, wealthy businessman and philanthropist, Chief Arthur Eze, struck the nail on the head. He looked deeply at his own South East region of the country, and came out with a conclusion: “The President is man of the moment for the Igbo and the entire South East.
“President Buhari has demonstrated uncommon goodwill towards the people of the South East geopolitical zone, and should now rest assured of our unalloyed support and loyalty.”
But what did Chief Eze see, that brought him to such conclusion, though he had been a supporter of the President for some time? Roads. Bridges, Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Owerri Interchange, Zik’s Mausoleum, great infrastructural projects that the region has not seen in a long while, if at any time.
In late 2018, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, unfolded a minimum of 69 different projects being undertaken by the Federal Government in South East alone, all amounting to about N680 billion. Of course, top on the list is the Second River Niger Bridge, which was built with mouth in the 16 years of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in power. The project is about 48% gone, and billed for completion in first quarter of 2022.
You have the Enugu-Port Harcourt road. Enugu-Onitsha road, and at least 67 other projects. The list is in the public domain.
Just recently, President Buhari approved a Zonal Police Headquarters (Zone 13) located at Ukpo Dunukofia, in Anambra State. It was inaugurated during the week, and will go a long way in addressing the security concerns of people of the region.
Now, do you do all these for people you don’t like? Not at all.
It is disingenuous for anyone to claim that President Buhari does not like any part of the country, most especially the South East.
When the former Major General joined the political fray in 2002, and contested for President in 2003, who was his running mate? Former Senate President, Dr Chuba Okadigbo,
a true Igbo son.
In 2007, who ran with Buhari? Another true Igbo son, and former Speaker, House of Representatives, Chief Edwin Ume-Ezeoke.
And when former Vice President, Dr Alex Ekwueme fell deathly ill, President Buhari arranged his evacuation abroad by air ambulance. When he eventually passed on, he was given a most befitting national burial. Do you do that for a people you don’t like? Hardly.
After Ekwueme’s burial, Dr Chris Ngige, another illustrious Igbo son, came to the Federal Executive Council meeting, and gave the appreciation of the region to the President. What did Buhari say?
“I’ve only done what the Constitution prescribes should be done for a former Vice President. In flying him abroad when it became necessary, in giving him national burial, I just did what should be done for a former Number 2 man in the country.”
That is President Buhari for you. He gives every man his due, every region what they deserve. Fairness to all.
Evergreen is the testimony of retired Ambassador Ignatius Olisemeka about the then General Buhari, shortly before the 2015 presidential election.
“Without ever knowing or meeting me, Buhari gave me a chance,” the Ambassador, then 83 years old, wrote.
“As I now write, I have never met him one-on-one. We have never spoken to each other. It is an extraordinary experience of an unusual man.
“I was sitting on my desk in the Ministry of External Affairs, 40 Marina, Lagos, in 1984, when I received a letter appointing me Ambassador to the United States of America. My place of origin did not matter… My religion did not matter. I had no worthwhile contacts with Dodan Barracks…”
That’s the same Buhari that revisionists would want us to believe is nepotistic, myopic, insular, and who would never appoint a non-Fulani into any position of substance. Tufiakwa!
I remember something they twisted against the President in 2015, and which they have stuck stubbornly and irrationally to, despite our many clarifications.
We were in Washington, USA, on an official visit. And the President met with Nigerians based in that country. A question came on how he would fill political positions, since he got less than 5% votes in some parts of the country.
The President said in politics, it made sense to reward those who voted for you, more than those who didn’t. If you got 95% votes in some areas, and 5% votes in others, it stood to reason that those who voted more should get more positions. Then he added: “But the Nigerian Constitution forbids any leader from doing such, and I will do as the Constitution prescribes.”
What did mischief makers do? They took the video recording of the earlier part of the President’s speech, cutting off the part where he balanced it. And they began to share it far and wide, just to portray nepotism. They repeat it till tomorrow, despite many explanations, simply because it suits their heinous purpose.
Despite the sparse number of votes in the South East in 2015 and 2019 elections, would we be right to say the entire region is arrayed against the President? Not so. After the 2015 election was won, I remember a piece I wrote in Daily Sun Newspaper, under the headline, ‘Igbo Heroes of Change.’ I mentioned people who contributed significantly to the Buhari victory like Chief Ralph Obiora, Dr Chris Ngige, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, Hon Juventus Ojukwu, Osita Okechukwu, and many others.
Also today, we have great admirers of the President from the South East, and some of them will stand by him through thick and thin. I am talking of people like Joe Igbokwe, Dr Uche Diala , Peter Claver Oparah, Emeka Oparah, Dr Kelechi Nwagwu, Zara Gift Oyinye, Jewel Ifunaya Chika, Dr Emmanuel Nwusulor, Anozie Emeka, Abuchi Anueyiagu, Egondu Okorie,and uncountable others, which space won’t permit me to mention.
For President Buhari, when he does anything in any part of the country, he does it because it’s the right and fair thing to do. Most of the 69 projects going on in the South East had been awarded before 2015. But they were never funded. The President reversed the trend, and most of them are proceeding apace, and will be legacies by the time the man exits from office.
President Buhari has his eyes on history, and he will have his place in the pantheon of honor. At the onset of COVID-19 and its devastation on the economy, I was glad to hear him instruct the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed: “No matter what happens, salaries of workers must not fail, pensions must not fail, and funding of infrastructure must not stop.”
Don’t you like the commitment of this President? I sure do.
I commend Chief Arthur Eze for being forthright and true about the President and the South East. Coming a week after Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State expressed similar sentiments about the fairness of the President, it’s time for those in entrenched positions to open their eyes and see, open their ears and hear, lest they become perpetually blind and deaf. Willfully so.
President Buhari does justice to every part of the country. Those who had imbibed a lie should now wake up, and smell the coffee.
*Adesina is Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Buhari
SANWO-OLU INAUGURATES NEW SECRETARIATS, CAPITAL PROJECTS IN AGBOYI-KETU, APAPA-IGANMU LCDA’S
A new governance experience beckons in Agboyi-Ketu Local Council Development Area (LCDA) and Apapa-Iganmu LCDA in Lagos State, as the two councils completed new administrative secretariats to scale up service delivery.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu inaugurated each of the three-storey buildings on Friday, in separate ceremonies held in the two councils’ headquarters.
Scores of jubilant residents trooped out in both councils to receive the Governor and his entourage, which comprised the Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, members of State Executive Council, and political leaders led by All Progressives Congress (APC) chairman in Lagos, Hon. Tunde Balogun.
Aside commissioning of the 28-room secretariat complex in Agboyi-Ketu LCDA named after the late Senator Adebayo Osinowo, who represented Lagos East Senatorial District in the Senate until his demise last June, the council headquarters in Alapere literally became a campaign ground. Sanwo-Olu canvassed support for the APC candidates in the forthcoming by-elections in the East senatorial district and State Assembly seat in Kosofe II Constituency, Mr. Tokunbo Abiru and Hon. Femi Saheed.
While commissioning the buildings, the Governor hailed the council chairmen, Hon. Dele Osinowo (Agboyi-Ketu) and Dr. Funmilayo Akande-Mohammed (Apapa-Iganmu), describing the initiatives as “symbolic strides” that would bring good governance close to the grassroots and strengthen the capacity of the councils to deliver on their mandates to residents.
Sanwo-Olu said the decision of the council leadership in Agboyi-Ketu to name the edifice after the late Sen. Osinowo testified to the immeasurable contribution made by the late lawmaker to the development of the council. The governor paid glowing tribute in memory of the late Osinowo, whom he described as “grassroots progressive and benevolent politician” in his lifetime.
The Governor said: “The completion of this new 28-room Administrative Block constructed by Agboyi-Ketu LCDA is not only historic, it is unique and symbolic, because it is the first stride to immortalise a great man, a progressive and grassroots politician, Sen. Adebayo Osinowo, who passed away in June. Also, I sincerely congratulate and commend the Apapa-Iganmu LCDA chairman, Hon. Funmilayo Akande Muhammed and her team for the laudable achievement of delivering a modern secretariat complex in the council.
“I have no doubt that these new complexes will provide the much-needed conducive work environment for public servants working in the councils and enhance their productivity and better service delivery. While projects such as these are really a commendable initiative, as they will have a great impact on the workforce at large; it is important to emphasise the need for all of us to understand that public infrastructure are part of our commonwealth being provided with public funds. We must safeguard them against vandalism, as witnessed in the State in the past couple of weeks ago.”
Sanwo-Olu used the occasion to reel out his administration’s programmes targeted at driving development at the grassroots, pointing out that his Government had supported the physically-challenged and provided low-interest loans to support thousands of women across the State.
He cautioned youths against willful destruction of Government’s assets and infrastructure built with public funds, saying the recent EndSARS protests brought out the need for Governments at all levels to double their efforts and prioritise youth development and empowerment.
The Governor disclosed that the State Government was about to commence a Graduate Internship Programme, under which 4,000 young graduates would be engaged training and paid N40,000 monthly stipend for six months. He urged local councils, as the independent tier of Government closest to the people, to embark on welfare projects in their communities and give people a new feeling of governance.
p style=”font-weight: 400;”>He said: “As we prepare for a new fiscal year, let us ensure that adequate plans are put in place to, more than the current year, ensure that the welfare of our young people, women, elderly and the physically- challenged are well catered for. At the State level, we have made special provision for youth capacity development in the 2021 budget.
“This is in addition to the ongoing youth empowerment programmes, including the Graduate Internship Programme under which 4,000 thousand young graduates would be engaged and paid a monthly stipend of N40,000 for 6 months.”
Agboyi-Ketu LCDA chairman, Osinowo, said the inauguration of the new secretariat would enhance the capacity of the council to bring dividends of democracy to people at the grassroots. He said the council took the decision to immortalise the late lawmaker, given his legacy and impact in the locality.
He said: “The edifice is massive to herald a new beginning in our administration’s quest not only to improve the landscape and aesthetics of community, but also boost our drive to deliver governance at the grassroots. The building is constructed to provide a conducive and enabling environment for our public servants and the residents to interface.
“The decision to name the edifice after the late Senator Adebayo Osinowo was taken by the distinguished members of the Agboyi-Ketu legislative council during a special plenary session in honour of the late Senator.”
Osinowo hailed Sanwo-Olu for listening to the residents’ request to rehabilitate Demurin/Agidi Road and construct concrete lining in Ogunsombo-Igbonla Channel, among other State Government-led projects in the council.
In addition to inaugurating the new Apapa-Iganmu secretariat complex named after the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Gov. Sanwo-Olu also commissioned 13 newly constructed and rehabilitated roads, a library complex and Primary Health Centre delivered by the council chairman, Dr. Funmilayo Akande-Mohammed.
The Governor urged residents to take ownership of the projects, asking them to protect the infrastructure initiated for their use.
Akande-Mohammed said the projects were part of the deliberate efforts of the Apapa-Iganmu council leadership to drive up socio-economic growth and enhance wellbeing in line with the needs of the residents.
In order to make his administration’s grassroots engagement more robust, Sanwo-Olu, during project commissioning at Apapa-Iganmu LCDA, announced the immediate appointment of Hon. Babatunde Adewale as Special Adviser (non-cabinet) on Community Development. This announcement was greeted by spontaneous jubilation, with Ijora Badia residents thanking the Governor for the pick.
IT’S A SAD DAY IN ONDO
ASUU agrees to call off strike, to receive N70bn
NEWS4 weeks ago
#EndSARS: We Will Compensate Families Of Slain Policemen – Seyi Makinde
NEWS4 weeks ago
RESIDENTS EXPRESS RELIEF, AS SANWO-OLU FLAGS OFF RECONSTRUCTION OF IBEJU LEKKI-EPE HIGHWAY
NEWS4 weeks ago
RIVERS SECURITY COUNCIL TO REVIEW SITUATION IN OYIGBO
NEWS4 weeks ago
Sanwo-Olu: Lagos’ll have world-class road network
NEWS4 weeks ago
CIRCLE MALL LOOTING: SANWO-OLU PROMISES TAX BREAK, FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR BUSINESS OWNERS
POLITICS3 weeks ago
Eze commends Buhari for the approval for new projects in Rivers, S’South
NEWS4 weeks ago
WEMA BANK TO COMMENCE BOOTCAMP FOR HACKAHOLICS 2.0 FINALISTS
BUSINESS2 weeks ago
FIRSTBANK’S WINS GLOBAL FINANCE 2020 BEST MOBILE BANK APP AWARD