Upon assertions of marginalisation against the South and the Southeast in particular, Chief Chyna Iwuanyanwu, a chieftain of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) cautions the President against those who may be encouraging him to ignore the South East on the argument that they did not vote for him in the 2015 general elections.
He spoke in an interview in Abuja. Excerpts:
What is your stance on the recent appointments made by the president?
Well my position has been very clear; there is one Nigeria and the South East is part of that Nigeria. Secondly, there is only one president for the Federal Republic of Nigeria, there is no president for the PDP or the APC, there is no president for the North or the South.
When somebody contests an election under a political party, but the moment he wins, he is for everybody, so the concept of ‘they did not do anything’ does not even arise, it is totally a negation and violation of the basic tenets of democracy.
Tenets of democracy
Everybody has the right to vote based on conviction and interest, the voting pattern was clearly based on conviction and interest and to shut the South East or any section of Nigeria out on the basis of what they voted for is against democracy.
Having said that, let me also contend with the issue that we didn’t do anything; Imo State is an APC state and Buhari received votes from every part of the South East, so if he shuts out the South East on the basis of what we voted and what we didn’t vote it will also include those who voted for him, where then is the justice?
But is this the first time a zone or group will vote in the manner the South East was said to have voted in 2015?
Historically in 1999 when the whole Nigeria voted for Obasanjo, the South West, his brothers voted for the Alliance for Democracy (AD).
When he won the election he ran an all inclusive government and brought in people like Bola Ige into the government, the North was predominantly All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) then and Obasanjo brought them into government.
So to single the South East now on the basis of what we voted is a gross injustice.
Now, voting is an exercise of fundamental right as enshrined in the Constitution and we have the right and entitled to that.
South East cannot be singled out for exclusion or punishment on the basis of decision we took collectively or individually in the 2015 election; it is an invitation to instability and most importantly, it is illegal for anybody to shut out a whole zone punitively on the basis of where they voted and where they didn’t’ vote.
The South East has always supported every government in this country, we supported Obasanjo, we supported Yar’Adua, we supported Jonathan; none of them is an Igbo man, none of them is from the South East, in the same way we are going to support President Buhari.
One northern politician has dared the South East to attempt another secession if they don’t like what they are getting from the present government. Are you worried by such comments?
You see we will not attempt any suicidal move like the secession they are trying to provoke us into. I have said that we will remain steadfast in our convictions about Nigeria it is better to vote out of conviction than to vote just for conformity.
We are having problems in the North East now, some say it is religion, say it is injustice, some say it is poverty, no matter what it is, it is taking a whole global attention and the nation’s resources to be able to solve; we must not create another situation like that.
That is why I think that the President should ignore people like Junaidu and Duro Onabule who have called us rebels.
The Igbos will not secede and I can assure you that we have remained in Nigeria in the past 50 to 60 years without producing the president and we survived, we shall overcome even this present situation.
Apart from the appointments, how would you rate the Buhari administration so far?
Well for me this is just two months of the Buhari administration so we may not begin to judge him. In education, the government has not done anything and has not said anything, in infrastructure we have not seen anything, electricity, no policy, no project, and health is no different.
He is still battling with insecurity in the North East and corruption so he said. We welcome the fight against insurgency wholeheartedly like other Nigerians; we also support the fight against political kleptomaniacs who squandered the resources of this country and looted her treasury.
It is in this area of appointment that we advise him for caution; he has obviously not done well.
We have been at the receiving end, the Jonathan’s administration, no single project was commissioned in Imo, Abia or Ebonyi, none. In Anambra, it is the unending story of the Second Niger Bridge, it is a perpetual story and yet it is not yet done and of course in Enugu it is the so called international airport that looks like an advanced level airstrip so we have nothing more to show.
The subject of marginalization in the South East is real and we are saying that it is impossible and I repeat impossible for this country to aspire to be a first class nation in Africa or the world while creating second class citizens in the South East, it is impossible.
BY JUDE OPARA, VANGUARD