Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo
By Vincent Ujumadu
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday, condemned what he described as Igbophobia, saying Nigerians should conquer evil with good.
Igbo were targeted during the presidential and governorship elections in Lagos, leading to fears of an ethnic uprising.
But Obasanjo, who spoke in Awka during the one-year anniversary of Governor Chukwuma Soludo’s administration, said people should strive to be friendly with those who are afraid of them.
The former President recalled how someone said he made a mistake by appointing two Igbo, Soludo and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, as Central Bank Governor and Minister of Finance respectively.
His words: “On one occasion, soon after I appointed him, somebody came to me and said wow, you have ruined the economy of Nigeria. I said how. He said an Igbo woman, Minister of Finance, an Igbo man, Governor of Central Bank, you have completed the task of ruining the economy of Nigeria.
“I don’t know why he said that, except for what I can call Igbophobia, and I don’t take that lightly. It remains, it persists.
“But when you have that type of thing that was said to me and the type of thing that you know is going on, as I have just called it, what do we do with it?
“I believe we have to go back to the scripture, which says we must conquer evil with good. And whoever you are, wherever people are afraid of you, you must make yourself friendly to those who are afraid of you and earn their friendship by being good to them, and that is what we have to do.
“I have personally experienced that and nothing wins friendship like you being friendly.”
He further said the appointment of Soludo and Iweala was probably the best he made as President.
His words: “Chukwuma was a good economist and he turned out to be a good CBN governor because CBN is not like a commercial bank but a bank for development.
“I made him my Chief Economic Adviser. I was very happy with him and I sent him to the CBN. He was the second CBN governor who did not have a commercial bank background.
“In the course of my experience with Chukwuma, I had mapped out for him something greater in my mind until one day he came to me and said he was going to contest for governor of Anambra State.
“I did not disguise my anger and I said no because I see him as something national or international. However, he went and didn’t make it, but I wanted him to see governorship as an appetizer and then the main menu will come later. So you are on your appetizer stage.
“ From what I have heard and what I have seen, you have not disappointed me and I believe you have not disappointed the people of Anambra State.
“I commend your efforts in economic transformation and road infrastructure and with what you have done in one year, you will do so much in the next three years.”
Also speaking at the forum, an elder statesman, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyawnu, described those promoting anti-Igbo sentiments in Lagos as political rascals.
He said there is no controversy between the Igbo and Yoruba.
His words: “I want to let our people in Lagos know, on Wednesday, I called a meeting of the Ohanaeze Council of Elders worldwide and we x-rayed the events in Lagos.
“I want to tell you that people who attended are from the branches in America, Canada, Europe, London, and Nigeria. We have resolved and I want those from Lagos to go home and tell those in Lagos that we have resolved that never again can we allow anybody to take the life of any innocent Igbo person. All of us are going to fight the person.”
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