What Buhari must do after Southeast trip
After a successful Southeast trip, President Buhari now has his work cut out for him. Here it is.
It was a trip that was long overdue. Buhari hasn’t visited the Southeast region of Nigeria since he was elected president in 2015. It was an inexplicable oversight.
In that time, the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) led by an eccentric Nnamdi Kanu was allowed to run amok and brainwash thousands, the Igbos were allowed to feel marginalized by the federal government, the ruling APC was derided and scoffed at in Igboland as a ‘Hausa party’ and secessionist agitations caught fire and took up residence in the hearts of millions.
All of which could have been avoided if Aso Rock had listened and acted accordingly by dispatching the President to the Southeast soon after the misguided and flippant “97 percent Vs 5 percent” comments from the nation’s Commander-in-Chief.
In any event, the president’s trip to the Southeast this week should be regarded as better late than never. The man was all smiles, was received by mammoth crowds in Ebonyi and Anambra, said all the right things, ordered that a Governor’s security details be restored and got bestowed with two traditional titles for his troubles.
Wherever Buhari turned, he was feted and adored. Exactly the kind of treatment befitting a president who should unite a fractured nation but who has failed to do exactly that.
Well, Buhari must now govern all parts of Nigeria equally and bequeath appointments to all geopolitical zones equitably. The president has been labelled with clannish and ethnic tags and most of these labels are his making.
Buhari should also get on a plane for the South South in the next couple of days. His job as president must now include healing age-long wounds of aggrieved regions, implementing policies that reflect his nation’s diversity and refrain from issuing comments that would further aggravate the concerns of minorities and majorities alike.
Above all else, to counter the Biafra narrative in Igboland, Aso Rock must get to work by gifting the people durable infrastructure and investing in the lives of the poor through social security schemes and empowerment initiatives. On a visit to Abia last week, folks told this writer that they now look up to a quixotic and utopian Biafra for succor because Nigeria has made them poorer and despondent.
In other words, poor socio-economic factors in the Southeast and South South make recruitment into IPOB and Niger Delta Avengers that much easier.
There’s an election in the horizon. If the APC and Buhari intend to garner votes and become a truly national political party, they’ve got to factor aggrieved regions of the polity into the overall manifesto.
There’s no other way around this.
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