14 Oct 2017

Outrage Over President Buhari's Call for the World Bank to Give Special Focus to the North

Following revelations that President Muhammadu Buhari told President of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim to focus his projects on the north, Nigerians have reacted angrily.
President Muhammadu Buhari
Nigerians and socio-cultural groups on Friday lashed out at President Muhammadu Buhari over his alleged request that the World Bank should focus on the North.

They described the request as proof that Buhari’s administration favoured the North.

The President of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim, had at a press conference on Thursday in Washington DC, United States, said that the bank had concentrated on the northern Nigeria, in line with Buhari’s request.

We are not surprised –IYC

The Ijaw Youth Council said the group was not surprised by the statement credited to the World Bank President.

IYC President, Mr. Eric Omare, told Saturday PUNCH that the President had succeeded in running a government of the North, by the North and for the North, describing Buhari’s action as “unpresidential.”

“I think for us, it did not come as a surprise. Before now, Buhari has said that there are some people that gave him 97 per cent votes, while there are others who gave him five per cent; and that those that gave him five per cent would not get the same attention that those that gave him 97 per cent of votes would get."

According to him, it is wrong for the President of Nigeria to surround himself with people from his village.

Revelation proves Buhari is a sectional leader – Fayose

Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, also said that he was not surprised by the comment from the President of the World Bank.

He said, “The President has never hidden the fact that he is a sectional leader and painfully, because of his nepotism, religious bigotry and favouritism, Nigeria is now more divided than ever before, with the unity of the country being threatened.”

The governor stated this in a statement made available on Friday by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka.

He said, “Now, with Jim Yong Kim telling the world that President Buhari gave specific instructions that the bank should shift its developmental efforts to the North, is anyone still in doubt that President Buhari does not see himself as the President of the entire country, Nigeria?”

Reminding Nigerians of his earlier warnings that Buhari was a sectional leader, Fayose said that as a Military Head of State, Buhari cancelled the Lagos Metroline Project at a huge loss to the Lagos taxpayers.

He said, “Would Buhari have stopped that project that would have resolved the transportation nightmare in Lagos if it were to be in Kano?”

Nigerians deserve better explanation from Presidency —Afenifere

The National Publicity Secretary of the pan-Yoruba sociocultural organisation, Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, said it was unfortunate such a statement credited to the President came out at a time when the unity of the country had become so fragile and there was so much distrust in the land.

He also faulted the statement released by the presidency.

He said, “It’s not acceptable and I think Nigerians deserve a better explanation from the Presidency on what happened, rather than insulting and abusing them the way it has done. It’s not helpful and it’s not very thoughtful.

“However, that statement goes to the foundation of the country; it throws a dagger to the heart of Nigerian unity and I think that at the slightest opportunity, the President should address the nation on this matter; not spokespersons or aides talking to us.”

Also Nigerians across social media platforms slammed the President for the instruction he had allegedly given to the World Bank.

A former Special Assistant to former President Goodluck Jonathan on New Media, Mr. Reno Omokri, said Buhari’s pro-North comment had proved his (Omokri’s) long-term stance that he is a sectional leader.

He wrote via his Twitter handle, @renoomokri, “For years, I’ve been saying President @MBuhari is a sectional leader and I thank God the President of the @WorldBank has vindicated me.” Also, a former Minister of Aviation and chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, took to his Twitter handle, @realFFK, to say he was not really surprised at the President’s comment.

He said, “President of the World Bank, Kim Yong Jim, has said that @MBuhari told him to concentrate their efforts on northern Nigeria.

“Why am I not surprised? After all, as far as @MBuhari is concerned, southern Nigerians and Middle Belters are nothing but low lives, vassals and slaves.”

Another Twitter user, Richard Chukwu, wrote via his handle, @CCRICHARD2, “I’m so much disappointed in Buhari. What a shame! Meaning that he’s there [only] for the northerners?

“This is the reason, amidst others, why we need to restructure this country politically and economically.”

Also knocking the President for his pro-North request from the World Bank, a commenter with the pseudonym, ed, described Buhari as a tribalistic leader.

“The fact that a sitting President of Nigeria can ask the World Bank to focus on his tribe proves beyond any doubt that President Buhari is a tribalist. A tribalist is totally unfit to be the President of this country,” he wrote.

Another commenter with the pseudonym, simplelike chuck, said, “They have been using oil money from the South to develop the North. Still, the President gave instructions to the country’s development partners to focus on his area, the North.”

Nigerians on Facebook also took to the platform to condemn Buhari for allegedly requesting special favours for the North.

A Facebook user, Augustine Nwogu, said the President started exhibiting tribalistic tendencies right from the time he started choosing northerners as heads of major federal and security agencies.

“From his appointments so far, he has always been in favour of the North. Let’s stop deceiving ourselves, Buhari is the President of northern Nigeria and not the President of Nigeria,” he wrote.

Another Facebook user, Ogbonnaya John, said he had yet to understand why every President of the country, always focused on the North.

Expressing displeasure, another Facebook user, Aina Kehinde, called on Nigerians not to vote for a tribalist as President in the 2019 election.

He wrote, “It is better that we are seeing all these things now. Nigerians should now be able to see and think very well before they vote in the 2019 presidential election.”

Meanwhile, some Nigerians said they did not see anything wrong in Buhari seeking special favours for the region he comes from. A Facebook user, Sadiq

Ahmadrufai Adinoyi, said, “Charity begins at home. It is only a fool who will neglect his home and build other people’s home. If you were given an opportunity to become President, wouldn’t you utilise it for the benefit of your people?”

Also, a commenter, Danladi Rabiu, said Buhari was right to ask for special favours as “no President can develop the whole country at the same time.”

However, a civil-society organisation, the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, said it was wrong for Nigeria to lean on international groups for assistance, despite its debt burden.

The CDHR President, Malachy Ugwummadu, asked, “Are heads of states supposed to tell the World Bank where they should concentrate their development efforts? Does Nigeria still need to get loans and assistance from these international agencies, against the background of the debt burden?”

Buhari has not sited a project in the North –Muhammed

However, a northern elder statesman and Second Republic lawmaker, Junaid Muhammed, said what Buhari was reported to have said was at variance with what he had been doing in government.

Muhammed said, “If Buhari said so categorically, it was a misstatement. If he had said the World Bank should concentrate projects in the region, (then) I have my doubts. Since he came to power as President, there is no single important project he has sited in the North.

“Nothing has been done in the North. I challenge anyone to tell me any project specifically directed to the North.

“We should also be careful about what these international organisations tell us, because they are not particularly friends of this country. If Buhari said the international agencies should concentrate assistance on the North-East, I would support that because that region has been the poorest and least developed, even before the Boko Haram insurgency.”

The Executive Secretary, United Global Resolve for Peace, Pelumi Olajengbesi, faulted the President’s approach, saying he should learn to appeal to Nigerians.

He stated, “The President should learn how to appeal to the citizens’ temperament as to crave the sense of collectivism and inclusiveness in the mind of an average Nigerian.”

Olajengbesi said giving special consideration to the development of the North was a welcome development, considering its backwardness and the plight of its people.

- Punch



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