Wants national character policy reflected in appointments
Extols Abia’s 3rd position in FDI in Nigeria
Geoffrey Ekenna and Biyi Adegoroye
Against the backdrop of secessionist agitations, general insecurity, disenchantment and calls for restructuring of the country, Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, has expressed the need for President Muhammadu Buhari to constructively engage with Nigerian, listen to and talk more to them to rebuild their confidence in the country.
In an exclusive interview with Sunday Telegraph, Ikpeazu, who described Nigeria as a rainbow country in view of its multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multicultural composition, added that widespread disenchantment across the nation and numerous issues raised by the agitators were too grave to be ignored.
“Nigeria is a country of smoldering fires, (if fire can be pluralized). The reason is that we are sweeping charcoal under the carpet, and until we see smoke, we will continue to ignore it.
Then the fire begins to emerge,” he warned. Apparently referring to the agitations by the arrested IPOB leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, Sunday Adeyemo (Sunday Igboho) as well as well-meaning Nigerians, Ikpeazu said that failure to listen to them would be tantamount to postponing the evil day.
The governor said: “Our youths here are not wrong by saying there is injustice, that people are not fairly treated. Appointments are not done fairly as they are supposed to be. And we are not connecting. We seem to be abandoned; nothing is happening. And some people, herdsmen and cattle rustlers have invaded our forests and are killing people and raping women.
People can’t go to the farm and we can’t cope with this and all of that. “Another group becomes disenchanted and it starts to complain but you sweep it under the carpet, and then we don’t talk.
If you ask me tomorrow, my greatest and honest recommendation to our national leader, (Mr. President) with regard to the problems of Nigeria is ‘Daddy, talk. You need to find the energy to visit all the senatorial districts in Nigeria, and take note of what our people are saying. Listen to them.’”
The governor stated that complaints about inequitable distribution of appointment were a grave concern, amounting to treating other groups as slaves. “You don’t govern the way you want to govern. Whoever says that the federal character principle is not important in Nigeria is joking.”
The governor, who said he is usually challenged by difficulties, extolled the successes recorded in the last few years including the emergence of Abia State as number three in the area of Foreign Direct Investment in Nigeria, articulated his developmental programmes, some of which are shortterm, while others are transgenerational. •See full interview on Page 14, 19, 22.