By Clifford Ndujihe
CONTRARY to fears being expressed in some quarters that President Muhammadu Buhari will overlook the South-East in appointments and execution of capital projects because the zone did not give him maximum support in the last election, he is out to woo the zone, a source has said.
According to the source, the President wants to carry all parts of the country along in his administration and would execute projects in the South-East that will surprise his ardent critics.
So far, the President appears not to have factored the South-East in his initial appointments of media aides and service chiefs.
Indeed, a private radio on Wednesday accused him of expressing anti-Igbo sentiments in a recent BBC Hausa Service.
The presidency has dismissed the private radio’s claim as unfounded. A statement issued by Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, said the claim was “completely false, malicious and slanderous” because the voice being ascribed to President Buhari in the recording repeatedly played back by the station was definitely not the President’s voice and the last interview the President had with the BBC Hausa Service, lasting not more than five minutes, was on the day he was declared winner and given his certificate of return as President-elect by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
“President Buhari is the President of all Nigerians and will continue to treat all citizens on the basis of fairness, equality and equity,’’ he said and enjoined Nigerians to ignore all propaganda designed to sow seeds of discord among them and promote a separatist agenda against national unity, solidarity and progress.
Speaking on the issue, the source, which is part of the efforts to actualise Buhari’s change agenda, said: ”The president is out to Ndigbo that he does not hate them. Remember, he ran with late Dr Chuba Okadigbo and Chief Edwin Ume-Ezeoke for the presidency in 2003 and 2007. Now, he has agreed to be part of the burial of Owelle Chukwuma Azikiwe, the first son of Nigeria’s first President, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe.
”Besides, he has directed a committee, which has former Senator Chris Ngige and some Igbo leaders as members to assess the Zik’s mausoleum and speed up the reconstruction of the historic site.”
Indeed, a delegation from the Azikiwe family met the president recently to brief him on their preparedness for the Chukwuma Azikiwe’s burial.