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At this moment in the Southeast, there exists a pervasive dissatisfaction stemming from the ministerial list. This issue is the talk of the town, with conversations taking place not only in markets and motor parks but also in churches, households, and on the streets.
South-eastern federal lawmakers are now actively advocating for an increase in ministerial allocations by two slots, highlighting their newfound engagement on this issue.
Individuals who strongly opposed the 48-member ministerial list insisted that the Southeast geopolitical zone was unfairly treated.
They argued that the South-east’s diminished representation would have immediate adverse effects on the Igbo community, with President Tinubu and Nigeria as a whole poised to bear the long-term consequences.
They contend that the most harmful action against any group is to diminish their humanity by assuming they are powerless. Only time will reveal the outcome!
While on Arise Television, Dr. Osita Okechukwu, a notable member of the All Progressives Congress and the Director General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), spoke with clarity and directness, leaving no room for confusion as he addressed the records.
Okechukwu, who firmly rejected the idea of absolving Tinubu from any responsibility in the appointment of five South-eastern cabinet members, held the South-eastern leaders within the ruling APC accountable. He argued that their pursuit of personal interests, rather than collective bargaining, was the problem.
The VON boss said: ‘I didn’t absolve President Tinubu. The framework of my message is that he should not be blamed too much as regards the South-east. Yes, my people’s grief is well captured. I’m in league with them with the grief that when Tinubu started with 20 Special Assistants and Advisers that we are scanty in that list. No group would be happy about that, and when it came to ministerial nominees that we got, we got only five. And we didn’t get the one spare that is normally given to each geopolitical zone that makes it six. To worsen the matter, we are the only geopolitical zone with five states only which we have agitated all over the years. That is the grief and I didn’t absolve President Tinubu totally.’
‘What I said is that if there are blame games to be laid, that it should be laid exactly where it lies on the door steps mostly on the so-called new APC leaders who I noticed while negotiations were going on were busy trying to knock off our first-eleven in the various five states. Their reason is that they might pose a danger to their own political career or their kingdom. They made the presentation that Tinubu announced.’
Concerning South-east leaders he said, ‘Even in the face of the fact that we were happy when our brother the Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma got that APC Governors Forum chairman. We thought by presiding over such an important caucus, in fact the foremost power block in any political party in Nigeria is the Governors Forum that as chairman of the Governors Forum that he had a very intimate access to Mr. President. Throughout that period, I didn’t see him in Imo, he had been in Abuja all throughout that period.’
“We had expected him to be negotiating for the good of the South-east not for his personal preferences. And the result showed that his preferences and that of Senator Umahi were at play. Umahi behaved as if he was the only qualified person in Ebonyi State. The great Ebonyi State that we know that is constant with all professionals, all capable and competent ladies and gentlemen. He forgot as well that in the Senate that he occupied a very important position in the Senate leadership. We don’t know how we could replace that because in the wisdom of the Senate they might not use anybody from the South-east to replace him as Deputy Majority Leader. So, we lost that slot.
‘For now, it was only about himself. I don’t know how he thought he was the only person who can be minister for Ebonyi State, because I remember the gruesome knockout he did to Mrs. Agumeze who placed herself to become the Senator of that zone and he knocked her out. He knocked his younger brother out only to arrive at the same Senate.’
‘Instead of meeting President Tinubu, saying ‘we need to improve on the South-east in the next election. If we have to do that, my people say, ‘the rain in the morning will determine how the day will go’. That ‘please, Mr. President leave me out, I’m okay with the Senate.’
‘So, I thought between Senator Umahi and Governor Uzodinma as leaders of the South-east that they could have been more patriotic, more collective in their reasoning instead of being petty in their negotiation. I remembered vividly how they mangled the structure we built over the years in the APC.’
An APC stalwart, Chief Ogadinma Okonkwo who expressed worry over the quality of the ministerial nominees said, ‘Many find this strange that in the six geopolitical zones it’s only in the South-east that one man was asked to bring his incompetent friends. The anger over the number and quality of the ministerial nominees from the South-east can be cut with a blunt knife.’
‘This particular sitting governor is merely trying to manufacture enemies and resentment against President Tinubu. They did same thing to Buhari and this is why despite all the infrastructures preceding government provided, the average Igboman or child doesn’t want to hear the name- Buhari.’
‘The same Igbos who this governor is working hard to make President Tinubu hate in the past voted for both Obasanjo and MKO Abiola. So, it’s not true that Igbos cannot love President Tinubu. The President shouldn’t allow this self-acclaimed messiah of Igbos and his friend, a former governor of South-east extraction to destroy the President’s image in the South-east. He should at least appoint two alternative credible voices from the South-east.’