Igbo association pushes for inclusive appointments
• Wants release of detained protesters
The Igbo Ekunie Initiative (IEI), an association comprising Ndi-Igbo in Nigeria and the diaspora has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to reconsider his recent appointments with a view to making it more inclusive.
The group also called for release of those involved in what it referred to as peaceful protests in the South East, as well as speedy resumption of work on the proposed Second Niger Bridge.
A statement co-signed by its President, Maazi Tochukwu Ezeoke, and Publicity Secretary, Chike Ezeanya, observed “with great disappointment the lopsided appointments undertaken by President Muhammadu Buhari with over 80 per cent of such strategic appointments going to the North while the Southeast geo-political zone has been totally excluded.”
This, according to the group, represents a flagrant violation of the constitution the president swore to protect, in line with the federal character principle that clearly underlines the need for ethno-regional balancing in all government agencies.
“We note that the scale and scope of the lopsidedness of the appointments and the total exclusion of the South East now borders on the same pattern…that was employed by the erstwhile South African Apartheid regime,” it added.
The Association also said it noticed the routine mass murder and hounding of unarmed peaceful demonstrators in the Southeast exercising their fundamental right to peaceful protests, over the continued presence of Boko Haram prisoners in the Ekwuluobia minimum security prison in Ezinifite, Aguata, Anambra State, and the rumoured stoppage of work on the second Niger Bridge.
It, therefore submitted that, even without a constitutional requirement, “inclusion is a moral, natural and political necessity for the interest of unity, justice, equality, fairness and for purposes of nation building, and internal harmony. And the most fundamental benchmark for good governance is anchored on social, political and economic inclusion.”
Given Nigeria’s history of ethno-religious conflicts and widening cleavages, the Igbo association added that all forms of exclusion would gravely endanger Nigeria’s corporate existence and encourage justifiable and legitimate agitations for self-rule or independence by some sections of the country.
“We therefore call on President Buhari to reverse all such lopsided appointments and to make such appointments in future having in mind not only the constitutional requirement for inclusion, but also the moral, natural and political need to do so for the important purpose of nation building.
“And that the rumoured suspension of work on construction of the second Niger Bridge should not see the light of day, so that the bridge can be completed on schedule as part of a national development strategy.