by Law Mefor
President Muhammadu Buhari is a very frank man. Frankly, he appears to be telling Nigerians to their face that he can afford to alienate a significant portion of his constituency and still leave a legacy that is truly rational and national. This could prove to be a gross error of judgement and ill advised.
The actions and utterances of Buhari are all pointing to the fact that the sections of the country that did not vote for the All Progressives Congress (APC) is in for a barren four years and possibly beyond. Speculations were rife on it for quite long before the President proved the pundits right by stating that much in faraway USA.
For whoever missed the rather ill-starred statement, when Buhari was asked by a white journalist how he intended to deal with issues in the Niger Delta, particularly Amnesty, bunkering and inclusive development; he said: “Going by election results), constituencies that gave me 97 percent cannot in all honesty be treated, on some issues, with constituencies that gave me five percent. I think these are political realities. While, certainly there will be justice for everybody but the person who voted, and made there votes count, they must feel the government has appreciated the effort. I think this is really fair.” If there is anything that should have been left unsaid about governance in a pluralistic environment, even if it were the policy, it is this one.
Those who claim the President was stating the obvious or shunning people angling to reap where they did not so, argue amiss. In presidential and constitutional democracy as Nigeria claims to be practicing, the entire country is the President’s Constituency; and once he or she emerges, the President leads the entire country. Some of the people conveniently gloss over this reality to make the matter worse.
Come to think of it, in the 2015 Presidential election, the number of registered voters were 70,383,427. This means that having won with 15 million votes, less than 20 percent of the registered voters actually wanted Buhari to be President and over 12 million wanted Jonathan to return, while over 140 million Nigerians never voted at all, probably for lack of interest, age limit, and other forms of technical disenfranchisement, including INEC’s refusal to make permanent voters card available.
So, only clusters of 15 million Nigerians will now decide the thrust of national development, which the President has inadvertently admitted in foreign land that it would be based on patronage.
Starting with the appointment of service chiefs, which should be the most apolitical, the South East may have been deliberately sidestepped also, andit is about the only zone that is not represented in the National Council
of State. President Muhammadu Buhari appointed new service chiefs: Major-General Abayomi Gabriel Olonishakin as Chief of Defence Staff; Major-General T.Y. Buratai as Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral Ibok-Ete
Ekwe Ibas as Chief of Naval Staff. Others include Air Vice Marshal Sadique Abubakar as Chief of Air Staff; Air Vice Marshal Monday Riku Morgan as Chief of Defence Intelligence. The president also appointed Major-general Babagana Monguno (rtd.) as the new National Security Adviser taking over from Sambo Dasuki who was out of office a week before.
As many thought that one slot had at least reached the South East, another‘good’ reason was once more found within 72 hours why Callistus Nwabueze Obi, earlier appointed as the Acting Director General/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), should hand over to Haruna Baba Jauro (North). Although the Acting Director General is expected to be in charge until a substantive Director General is appointed, it appears that the policy being interrogated precludes a Southeasterner from acting so that the caterpillar will not grow into a butterfly.
The APC did not even put the South East in the remotest equation in the distribution of principal officers in the House of Representatives where there are two APC Members from Imo State.
So also, unlike what mostly obtained under Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan, where development of nation Nigeria was based on equity and justice, APC Federal Government is going strictly on political patronage or selective justice as is the emerging trend in present dispensation. APC and Buhari should be driven by patriotic mindset carefully aimed at enthroning social justice and even development.
In a democratic dispensation too, efforts are made by winners to woo those who may not have supported them, in view of the next election. The continued marginalization of the South East is only confirming the fear of
many people from the Zone that there is nothing for them in the All Progressives Congress (APC) Government. The South East has been told in unmistakable terms that it has no share in the APC government.
“When all Israel saw that the king would not hearken unto them, the people answered the king, saying, what portion have we in David? And what inheritance have we in the son of Jesse: every man to your tents, O
Law Mefor is an Abuja-based Forensic Psychologists, Author and Journalist.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.