Buhari Should Change His Attitude Towards South-East, Says Senator Utazi

 

The lawmaker representing Enugu North senatorial district in the National Assembly, Senator Chukwuka Utazi has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to change the way he addresses the people of the south-east region.

Utazi made the call on Tuesday during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today, adding that the President’s language to the Igbos is not good.

As part of measures to fix the worsening insecurity in the region, the lawmaker advised Buhari to engage the stakeholders to address whatever grievances that may be on.

While noting that a stable Nigeria is best for the Igbos, Utazi noted that the easterners that make Nigeria home like the Igbos.

“I want to tell you that Mr President has the magic wand. His attitude, language to the South-East, he has to change it,” the lawmaker said in reaction to the way forward on the agitations in the region. The temperature is high. The way he talks down on our people is not good.”

When asked if an Igbo presidency in 2023 would fix the problem, the senator neither confirmed nor opposed it.

He added, “I have said it times without number that changing the Hausa-Fulani cap with red cap does not address the issue.

“There are fundamental things you need to address. He has to come out and address the Igbos in the language they understand.”

To the lawmaker, Buhari is a president of every Nigerian, including the Igbo-speaking people, adding that once he devotes time to addressing the easterners, the agitations would come to an end.

The South-East region has witnessed a high rate of criminality including killings and kidnappings in the last few months.

The lawmaker representing Enugu Central in the National Assembly, Senator Chukwuka Utazi speaks during an interview on Channels Television's Politics Today on October 5, 2021.
The lawmaker representing Enugu Central in the National Assembly, Senator Chukwuka Utazi speaks during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on October 5, 2021.

 

Dozens of police officers and other security personnel have been killed since January in targeted attacks in the southeast.

Raids on prisons have seen scores of inmates freed and weapons carted away.

On Sunday, gunmen ambushed a police patrol in the commercial town of Onitsha in Anambra state and killed an inspector.

Also Sunday, an area office of the electoral agency INEC was set ablaze in Enugu state, but vital election materials and equipment were not affected.

IPOB’s leader Nnamdi Kanu has been in custody since he was arrested abroad in June and brought back to Nigeria to face treason charges.

Calls for a separate state of Biafra are a sensitive subject in Nigeria, after a unilateral declaration of independence in 1967 sparked a brutal 30-month civil war.

More than one million people died, most of them Igbos, from the impact of conflict, hunger and disease.

2023 Elections: No Doubt Nigerians Will Vote APC Again – Uzodinma

File photo of Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma

 

Imo State Governor Hope Uzodinma is confident that the All Progressives Congress (APC) will continue to be at the helm of affairs in the country, saying that Nigerians would vote for the ruling party again in the 2023 general elections.

He disclosed this on Wednesday during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

“Giving the activities and achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari as the President of Nigeria, there is no doubt that Nigerians would vote APC again,” he said.

“I don’t agree that after 2023 when President Muhammadu Buhari would no longer be the President of Nigeria that the APC would be weak, no. “

The governor also expressed hope that the party would emerge stronger after President Buhari’s tenure elapses in two years’ time.

He explained that the President being a committed APC member would deploy his resources to the party and his successor to ensure that the dividends of democracy are delivered to Nigerians.

According to the Imo governor, many party faithful and non-APC members have begun trooping in their thousands to join their political fold.

Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma speaks during an interview on Politics Today from Owerri on February 3, 2021.

 

When asked for the political fortunes of the southeast in producing Nigeria’s presidency in 2023, Uzodinma said it is achievable, adding it is the dream of every politician to attain the highest office of the land.

Recalling that the late Head of State, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe called for a political alliance which he said led to the birth of the APC in 2014, the governor called for easterners to work hard to produce an Igbo President.

“Looking and discovering that the only way the southeast would be developed is if they become part and parcel of the national politics. He created the idea of the NPN/NPP alliance, and our great Zik signed on that alliance.

“Through that alliance, Ekwueme not only became the Vice President, that alliance earned Edwin Ume-Ezeoke the Speaker of the House of Representatives and created Mike Okoye the pioneer Minister of the FCT,” he added.

While noting that politics is about the people, Governor Uzodinma explained that the eastern region has realized that it cannot attract the necessary dividend of democracy if the Igbo people continue to alienate themselves from the national stage.

He noted that although the APC is being controlled by the Federal Governor, the people need to identify with the party by joining the moving train.

“It is for this reason that the southeast, we now decided to be part of the mainstream politics of Nigeria. We are committed, we have joined the APC the ruling party.

“It is not about being President or not being President. Politics is about ideology, politics is about logic. If you want to be part and parcel of every meeting that we decide how a President would emerge in Nigeria,” he said.

Igbos Will Support Buhari In 2019, Says Okorocha

Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State

Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State says Igbos will support President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-elections bid.

The governor said this on Tuesday during a mega rally organised by the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the President in Owerri, the Imo State capital

“Igbos never believed in Buhari in 2015 but 2019 Igbos have declared for Buhari,” he said while addressing a crowd of APC supporters.

President Buhari has declared his intention to run for re-election in February 2019 and his party, the APC, is working to consolidate its power and ensure his success.

As part of efforts to unite the party ahead of the general elections, former Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, was chosen as the National Chairman of the party.

Governor Okorocha believes the emergence of Oshiomhole as National Chairman of the party and recent developments has re-positioned it for the 2019 general elections.

“This man (Oshiomhole) coming is like a beacon of hope for the APC,” he said.

“Mr Comrade, this party looks up to you. And I am sure that you will deliver. You have delivered as a governor, you have delivered as a union leader, you will deliver as the National Chairman of the APC,” he stated.

Okorocha, who is also the Chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF), argued that the belief that the ruling party is not strong in the eastern part of the country is faulty.

“We also want to correct the impression that there is no APC in the South East which has led to some of our leaders in Abuja negotiating with the governors in the South East to vote for Buhari for President to gain their support in return.

“Ladies and gentlemen, that act can best be described in the Rochas dictionary as an act of Iberiberism. If anybody wants to support APC, it must be total. There is no partial support for APC for President and support the governor differently.”

 

Presidency Denies Marginalising Igbos, Says Buhari Is Not Sectional

Mr Femi Adesina

The Presidency has denied claims that President Muhammadu Buhari has sidelined the South East region, especially concerning major appointments into his cabinet.

This comes amid allegations of neglect levelled against the Buhari administration by some Igbos, leading to agitations of secession by some groups in the region.

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, however, said the Federal Government was committed to carrying every section of the country along in governance.

“One thing we must realise is that the President has a pan-Nigerian mandate,” Adesina said on Friday when he appeared on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

“The way the country is structured, the way our constitution is, no president can emerge without winning a pan-Nigerian mandate; that was what the President wants.

“So, it is not easy for you to then accuse a president and sustain it that he is sectional – no, it is not possible. If he was sectional, he would not be elected in the first place.”

He stressed further that claiming the President is sectional does not automatically means it is true, saying “that could be allegations but it does not necessarily make them right.”

“Making an effort to show may not be the right thing. I think it is better to just continue to do what is proper, and that is what the President is doing. He will continue to do what is fair, what is right and what is equitable.”

Adesina also hinted on the suspension of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Babachir Lawal, and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Mr Ayo Oke.

He said the outcomes of the report submitted by the committee led by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to probe the allegations that led to their suspension would be made public after President Buhari is done studying it.

Quit Notice: El-Rufai Reassures Igbos Of Safety

Quit Notice: El-Rufai Reassures Igbos Of Safety In Kaduna
File photo: Governor Nasir El-Rufai

Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai has reassured Igbos living in the state of their safety.

The governor’s reassurance is coming just three days to the October 1 deadline which a coalition of Arewa Youths gave the Igbos living in the North to vacate the region in the interest of peace.

Although the Arewa youths have withdrawn the ultimatum, the state government says it is not leaving anything to chance in ensuring the safety of all residents irrespective of their tribe or religion.

Governor El-Rufai, who briefed journalists on Thursday through his spokesman, Samuel Aruwan, assured the Igbos that adequate security arrangement has been put in place to ensure their safety.

He also said a State High Court had already issued a warrant for the arrest of members of the Arewa youths who signed the quit order to bring them to justice.

Kaduna, like some states in the country, has suffered several conflicts over the years which have claimed many lives property, especially in the southern part of the state.

The state government is, however, asking all residents to go about their lawful business, reiterating its resolve to put a stop to the crises.

The government asked the people to uphold and respect their neighbours and report any suspicious activity or person to security agencies.

Police Deny Reported Attack On Igbos In Kaduna

Police, Agyole Abeh, Kaduna
File Photo: Agyole Abeh

The Kaduna State Police Command has denied and condemned reports of an attack on the Igbos and their property across the state.

According to the reports, the purported attack followed the recent clash between soldiers and members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in Abia and Rivers states.

The Commissioner of Police in Kaduna State, Mr Agyole Abeh, however, dismissed the reports during a joint meeting with Igbo and Yoruba leaders at his office in Kaduna.

Abeh also debunked inciting pictures and audio messages circulating in the social media on how several Igbos were allegedly massacred in the state and their shops destroyed.

After the meeting, the Police Commissioner in company of the community leaders took a tour of the metropolis and markets.

He assured the Igbos living in the state of adequate protection, but urged them to be law abiding and go about their normal duties without fear.

President of the Igbo community in Kaduna, Chris Nnoli, also asked his people to disregard the rumour, stating that no Igbo man or woman was attacked in the state.

Quit Notice: Igbos, Northern Youths Form Committee

Leaders of the northern coalition groups and that of the Igbos in the 19 northern states have formed a 10-man committee to provide concrete solution on the lingering quit notice given by northern youths to the Igbos.

Moderating a special meeting between the northern youths and northern Igbo leaders, former NLC presidential candidate Isah Tijjani, gave the committee 72 hours within which to report back to the groups with a solution regarding the issue.

On his part, President of the AYCF, Yerima Shettima, blamed the quit notice on the activities of Nnamdi Kanu and his supporters.

Read Also: Northern Youths, Igbos Meet In Kano Over Quit Notice

Meanwhile, the opinion of the Igbo leaders is that both group of youths have the right to be angry due to lack of employment in Nigeria.

They, however, warned that they should avoid trying to fix the country through violence, adding that they will continue to remain in Kano until the crisis is over.

Northern Youths, Igbos Meet In Kano Over Quit Notice

Northern youths and Igbos are currently holding a peace meeting in Kano.

Both parties at the meeting are working to form a committee to bring to an end the lingering agitation between the Igbos and the northern groups.

The meeting follows the quit notice giving to Igbos in the North by Arewa youths in reactions to the agitation for secession in the South East.

Representatives of Igbos in all northern states are at the meeting along with leaders of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF).

President of the AYCF, Yerima Shettima, blamed the quit notice on the activities of Nnamdi Kanu and his supporters.

He said, “It is on record that we have been at peace with Igbos for decades until when this young man (Kanu) came, demanding war, demanding arms. In the struggle, he is a small boy, but we want peace.”

According to the Igbo leaders, both youths have the right to be angry due to the lack of employment in Nigeria.

They, however, warned that both Igbo and Northern youth should avoid trying to fix the country through violence.

“Anyone championing the division of Nigeria will never go anywhere,” the Eze Ndi Igbo, Kano, Boniface Ibekwe, said.

“We cannot allow someone to divide us, even if you are angry, we must find a way to end this, and the sooner we end it the better it becomes for both of us.”

The meeting had started in a tensed atmosphere but after arguments and counter-arguments, the talks have taken a positive turn.

There are strong indications that the Northern coalition groups may suspend quit notice given to Igbos during the Kaduna declaration.

Arewa Youths Hold Meeting Over Quit Notice

kano

A coalition of northern groups has declared a town hall meeting in Kano State North West Nigeria to finalise on the quit notice issued to the Igbos residing in the region.

One of the leaders of the group and President of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Shettima Yarima said the initial quit notice issued in the Kaduna declaration still stands pending the outcome of the town hall meetings that will take place in all sub regions of the north.

However, Channels TV’s correspondent reported that the group said there is no course for alarm as it does not intend to use force in driving Igbos out of the region.

“As far as I’m concerned we have not withdrawn it officially, but we are still on review, we will review the situation god willing and what we said is very clear, if you believed in Nigeria stay in Nigeria but if you believed in Biafra please go back to your region where you are building your Biafra and do your Biafra. To us we don’t intend to use any force, we don’t intend to use any violence and we don’t intend to use any means to chase anybody out but we are saying also if you believe in Biafra please go to your Biafra area but if you believe in Nigeria please let us build a better society,” Yarima stated.

On the issue of restructuring Nigeria, Yarima said: “We need to have a country before we think of restructuring, so let us see how we can put Nigeria together then when the country is put in place properly, we can now begin to think of who gives what and who takes what, then we go into restructuring issue which I have been advocating for 15 years.”

Spokesperson of the group Abdul-Aziz Suleiman told Channels Television that from day one, it was the igbos themselves that had been seeking to quit and they, the northern groups were not ready to accept any threat to the unity of Nigeria and what it stood for.

Speaking further, he stressed that the town hall meeting is a follow up to the Kaduna declaration.

“The main issue is Kaduna declaration, we wanted people to understand that the essence of Kaduna declaration is not only about quit notice and for the last 50 years it was the Igbos who were agitating to quit Nigeria.”

it is, however, expected that in the coming days, the northern groups would continue to make consultations with far reaching consequences on whether or not to withdraw the quick notice on the Igbos leaving in northern Nigeria.

Arewa Youths To Review Quit Notice Ultimatum

A coalition of northern youth groups says it is set to review its position on the October 1 quit notice ultimatum given to Igbos.

In an interview with Channels Television in Kaduna, President of the Arewa Youths Consultative Forum, Yerima Shettima said the decision to review the ultimatum is for the interest of peace and unity of the country.

He added that the intervention of some notable Igbo leaders showed that the indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) does not speak for the entire Igbos.

Read Also: Arewa Youths Insist North Will Not Be In Same Country With Igbos

“After the June Kaduna declaration, a lot had happened. The silence on the part of the south east governors actually prompted a lot of things that gave birth to the June declaration. Having seen a lot of things going on as regards to governors having meetings to dissociate themselves from that IPOB, believing in Nigeria and also organisations such as the Ohanezes and the Ohaneze Youth Council and other prominent Nigerians from that same axis, gave us reasons to begin to think of reviewing our positions.

“But then, officially, we have not sat down to conclude plans on reviewing the position of things. I hope very soon, we will sit down and also review the situation that will make our position very clear on our position on what we felt about the whole thing.

“To those who believe in Nigeria, they should remain calm, there is no problem but to those who felt they want a republic of their own please they should not drag the north into that mess because we strongly believe in Nigeria. They should go back to their area since they believe they want to go out of Nigeria and they want to form a republic of their own. They cannot build another nation, in the midst of a nation that exists,” he stressed.

We Are Going To Arrest Arewa Youths, El-Rufai Vows

Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has said the Arewa youths that issued a “quit notice” to Igbos in the North will be prosecuted no matter how long it takes.

The governor said this on Tuesday when the Igbo Delegate Assembly and Igbo chiefs in the Northern states visited him at the Kaduna Government House.

“We have arrested so many people for hate speeches and we are trying them. We are going to arrest the Arewa Youths and bring them to justice no matter how long it takes; since the press conference was done in Kaduna,” he said.

“If they had done it in any other place we would have just condemned them, but since it is in Kaduna, we are going to arrest them no matter how long it takes.”

Governor El-Rufai, who said Kaduna had experienced so many crises in the past, said the state government cannot take chances and risk another crisis, hence the order for the arrest and prosecution of those that signed the quit notice.

He reassured the Igbos of their safety in the and urged Igbo leaders to prevail on their youths to avoid making statements and embracing agitations capable of dividing Nigeria.

He added, “Kaduna State Government is grateful to the Igbos for coming. Kaduna has suffered so much crisis, so we are very sensitive to comments that incite and cause disaffection among the people.

“Kaduna used to be a home for all, but so much crisis has divided the state and the metropolis across religious lines.

“As a government, that is why we abolished indigeneship. Once you live in Kaduna you are an indigene. “

On his part, President General of the Igbo Delegate Assembly, Chikezie Nwogu, commended the Federal Government and Governor El-Rufai for their swift reaction to the quit notice issued by the Northern youths.

Nwogu, who led the Igbo traditional rulers from the 19 Northern States to Kaduna, said Igbos are ready to remain in the North.

He said, “We are here in Kaduna to hold a meeting based on what has been happening in the North, especially with the Arewa Youths and the ultimatum given to Igbos and the agitations by IPOB.

“We are not here to condemn anybody. We thank the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, and other Northern governors, traditional rulers and the Federal government for their interventions.”

Nwogu, however, called on the government to tackle the root cause of agitations and subsequent quit notice by Northern youths.

“Let us look at the problem of the Youths when there are complaints. Also, it is good to restructure in a way that will benefit everyone,” he said.

“We are not happy with the call for division. We want Nigeria as one so that all of us can benefit. Northern youths have been our brothers. The Igbos are not going anywhere; we will remain with our Arewa brothers in the North.”