Former minister of Environment, Housing and Urban Development in the former President Umaru Yar’Adua’s administration, Chuka Odom, has said that the obvious marginalisation of the Igbo in President Buhari’s administration is responsible for Biafra agitation.
He noted that though the marginalisation did not start with Buhari, it however took a different dimension under the All Progressives Congress (APC) –led administration, saying only reversal of the trend and the unconditional release of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, could reduce tension in the region.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Daily Sun, Odom, who also served in the administration of the former Abia governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, as commissioner for Lands, Survey and Urban Planning as well as commissioner for Special Duties, said “the marginalisation of the South-East zone did not start with him. It has always been the story since the end of the Civil War.
“The only thing is that, it assumed another dimension under President Buhari. While others pretended to be in love with the South-East, President Buhari has no such pretensions. He announced from the beginning that those who voted for him would benefit more from his government; he put us on notice that he would not do anything for us.
“This is one of the reasons there is tension in the South-East. Not that we have been accommodated in the past and President Buhari came and reversed it. It’s just that Buhari made it clear that we will not get anything from him. He did not pretend about it. That is why I believe that the President needs to consider if the current policies have worked. He also needs to check if his policies have served the long-term political interest of his people. These are questions that should be answered by the President and the people close to him.”
On the continued detention of Kanu, the Imo State born politician, further said though secession was not the solution to marginalisation, sending armed soldiers after the protesting youth too was not a solution either.
Instead, he said there was need for the Buhari-led government to take another look at the disadvantaged position of the South-East region, with a view to reversing it.
“When the South-South agitation started, there were hawks that told late Yar’Adua to ignore the people. But he knew that he had a problem in his hands. He quickly got the stakeholders in the region and had a discussion. Eventually, the amnesty programme was worked out. What is wrong with extending that same approach to the youths of the South-East?
“Instead, you are sending soldiers to go and kill them. Did they do that with the Niger Delta? This is where I do not agree with the Federal Government. As far as I am concerned, the Federal Government needs to find a solution. The solution is not in policing the South-East.
“The solution also does not lie with the continuous agitation for Biafra. The solution lies with constructive engagements that will involve the leaders of South-East. The Federal Government needs to be told that the continuous detention of Kanu is not the solution.” (The Sun)