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Clark Cautions Tinubu Against Marginalizing Igbo Community

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Chief Edwin Clark, a respected voice in the Ijaw Nation, advises President Bola Tinubu to chart a new course, unlike his predecessor Muhammadu Buhari, whose regime was marred by a deliberate attempt to subjugate and silence the Igbo people.

Chief Edwin Clark, in a strongly worded letter to President Tinubu, revealed on Thursday, alleged that the Buhari administration had systematically shut out the South-East from crucial appointments, further marginalizing an already underrepresented region.

Chief Edwin Clark also alleges that the South-East region was victim to a grossly unfair distribution of funds under the Buhari administration, further solidifying the narrative of a region left behind.

The elder statesman voices his apprehension that President Tinubu is echoing the divisive tendencies of his predecessor, and implores him to reassess his approach and embrace a more inclusive leadership style.

He wrote: “President Buhari did everything to subjugate the Igbo for reason best known to him. Perhaps it may be necessary to cite some examples. The NNPC board, which he constituted when he came into office, had nine members, one from the South-West, one from the South-South, and no member from the South-East, even though three South-East states – Abia, Anambra and Imo – are oil-producing states. The remaining members, including his Chief of Staff, came from the North, a non-oil-producing region.

“However, he later tried to amend it when he appointed Senator Ifeanyi Ararume as Chairman of the second board; and he later replaced him with Margery Chuba-Okadigbo before he took office. He (Sen Ifeanyi Ararume) took the matter to court and won but the situation has not changed.

“Also, when President Buhari attempted to obtain loans from foreign financial institutions, which exceeded 30% of the GDP, which was not in the interest of the country; and the loan of $22.7bn, of which less than 1% of the amount was to be allocated to the South-East zone while other zones were allocated higher percentage for infrastructural projects.

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“That was a violation of the constitutional requirement to ensure a balanced economic development of Nigeria in accordance with President Buhari’s Oath of Office.

“In President Buhari’s 17-man security chiefs, 14 of them came from the North and only three from the South, excluding the Igbo from the South-East.”

Chief Edwin Clark claims that President Tinubu’s government has done little to alleviate the “persistent discrimination and marginalization” faced by the Igbo people, a situation that continues to simmer with unresolved tensions.

Clark wrote: “Mr President, even in your administration, the discrimination and injustice against the Igbo has not abated. The old Eastern Region and the old Western Region, to which I belonged, were equal competitors and partners before and during the First and Second Republic but today, you have appointed 10 Yorubas as ministers from the South-West, and only five ministers from the South-East, and you even failed to give them the ministerial appointment due to their region that would have made it six ministers. There is no justification for this grave omission and no effort has been made to correct it.”

Chief Edwin Clark exhorts President Tinubu to heed the call of history and implement the far-reaching reforms outlined in the 2014 National Conference Report, a move that would fundamentally reshape the nation’s governance architecture and promote greater harmony among its diverse populations.

He said, “Now that the elections are over, we must face the restructuring of this country. I repeat the immediate restructuring of Nigeria must be carried out if this country is to remain one, and I appeal to Mr President to take immediate action to implement the historic 2014 National Conference Report which submitted 600 recommendations to the Presidency on how to restructure Nigeria in every aspect of our lives.

“The Igbos of the South-East or wherever they are in Nigeria, must stand up and assert their rights legitimately, judiciously and in a democratic way, to benefit like any other Nigerian as it was before the civil war of 1967.”

The Eastern Updates 

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