By Anthony Ogbonna
The Imo state Governor, Rochas Okorocha has lamented that the South-East has nothing to show that it is part of the Nigerian project despite the efforts the region has made towards the growth of Nigeria and especially to the emergence of the Buhari-led administration.
Okorocha made the comment when the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo visited the state yesterday on strategic consultations.
Detailing the account of marginalization of the South-East region, Governor Okorocha said South East has been marginalized and denied federal appointments, adding the Imo state people in particular only has a Minister of state to show for all the supports the state gave to the All Progressives Congress, APC, party in ensuring that Mr. Buhari emerged the President of Nigeria.
“No other group in Nigeria that had invested as much into our nationhood can sing the song of marginalisation as much as Ndigbo has been made to sing it. We have nothing to show that we are part of the Nigerian project; neither do we have any sense of belonging in the present government at the national level.”
“We have been marginalised both in terms of projects and appointments. In Imo State, for instance, all we have is a Minister of State to show for all the efforts and extreme sacrifices we made to ensure that the All Progressive Congress (APC) had a good outing in the last general elections.”
“I know you are the Acting President and has the ears of the President. So, there is no better person to tell our painful story than you. You need to take a second look at what is happening in the South-East. No serious political appointment, no visible federal infrastructure so far, to show the presence of Federal Government in the South- East in general.”
“I beg that as the government gives subsequent appointments, let the qualified sons and daughters of the state and region be considered.”
“Imo State played major role in bringing APC to power because if what had taken place in other states was allowed to happen in Imo State and other states in the South-East, probably we wouldn’t have had the APC government today.
“Given the roles that I personally played as a sacrificial lamb in the South- East during the elections, my state deserves a better deal.”
“There is no Federal Government presence in the oil-producing areas, and none of our youths benefited from the Federal Government’s Amnesty Programme. I also use this opportunity to ask for the quick refund of the money spent by the state on Imo International Cargo Airport and on some federal roads in the state.”
Responding, Osinbajo said that it was not exactly correct that President Buhari had been unfair to Imo people. He said that the Presidency couldn’t deliberately set out to marginalise Ndigbo in view of their contributions to the development of the country.
“You said that the highest appointment given to Imo under Buhari was Minister of State for Education. I will like to equally inform you that Katsina, the home state of Mr. President, and Kaduna State where Buhari resides all have ministers of state.”
“If there is any governor in this country that has the ear of Mr. President, I will say that it is Governor Okorocha. As such, it cannot be said that the state is marginalised by the APC-led Federal Government,”
On the reason for his visit, Osinbajo said, “My visit here is in continuation of consultations with all the states of the Niger Delta as directed by Mr. President, and I can say that the oil producing communities in Imo State have been largely ignored and this will be appropriately redressed.”
“The oil-producing communities in Imo have a lot of vibrant young men and women who must be carried along in the scheme of things. My interaction today with those concerned has given the government the opportunity to discuss with the people directly involved with a view to making sure that there is justice and even development across the Niger Delta communities.”