Oct 1 speech: Ohanaeze, Ezeife, others blast Buhari
LAGOS – President Muhammadu Buhari’s Independence Day broadcast elicited strong reactions from across the country, yesterday, with Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the Eastern Consultative Assembly, ECA, taking strong exceptions to the indictment of Igbo leaders over the escalation of agitation for Biafra. The President’s speech was, however, welcomed by the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, and some of the President’s political supporters, including Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
However, critics from across the country, including Dr. Junaid Mohammed, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, Senator Roland Owie, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN; Mr. Akin Osuntokun, among others, flayed the speech for either being empty, sectional or lacking in imagination. The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which was the object of criticism in the broadcast for allegedly superintending over what the President described as the years of the locust between 1999 and 2015, failed to articulate a reaction yesterday.
Warning against the sustenance of ethnic agitations, Buhari had in the broadcast said: “As a young army officer, I took part from the beginning to the end in our tragic civil war costing about 2m lives, resulting in fearful destruction and untold suffering. Those who are agitating for a re-run were not born by 1967 and have no idea of the horrendous consequences of the civil conflict which we went through,” he said. Chiding leaders of the region involved, the President said: “I am very disappointed that responsible leaders of these communities do not warn their hot-headed youths what the country went through. Those who were there should tell those who were not there, the consequences of such folly.”
Buhari’s govt always has excuses — Ohanaeze
Responding to the broadcast, Ohanaeze, responding through its National Publicity Secretary, Prince Uche Achi Okpaga, who described Buhari’s policies as sentimental, lopsided and sectional, advised the APC-led Federal Government to always take responsibility for the current situation in the country. Ohanaeze Ndigbo said: “The issue is that the Buhari administration has always found one excuse or the other for the challenges facing the country. They have never taken responsibility before (because) they were not prepared to rule Nigeria. “Hate speech started from Buhari and he has continued to implement policies against the existence of Ndigbo. The agitations did not come from oblivion; it is part of his policies which I describe as sentimental and lopsided. These policies had over time fuelled agitations and so, he should not blame Igbo leaders but his administration. “We blame the agitation on his administration and not Igbo leaders.” ECA, in a statement said it was a regret that the President, helped by his kitchen cabinet, had continued to see Nigeria on an ethnic prism. ECA Secretary, Evangelist Elliot Ugochukwu-Uko, while reacting to the speech said: “Mr. President has finally confirmed to all and sundry that he is light years behind global trends and far away from the political reality of the Nigerian situation. This is exactly what happens when a leader surrounds himself only with his kinsmen. “They erroneously mistake their sectional worldview as the national interest. Gen Buhari has clearly misread the resolve of the younger generation to change their lot in Nigeria through any means necessary. “His kitchen cabinet is obviously living in an ancient world where the fear of the inevitable restructuring forced them to take solace inside the cocoon of an outdated, unrealistic northern daydream of forcing Nigerians to head to a National Assembly which was created by a discredited military constitution. “The obstinacy of those scared of the inevitable new people’s Constitution, regional autonomy, and true fiscal federalism gave birth to the agitation for secession; this same obstinacy will ultimately destroy Nigeria. “As the agitation rebounds and resurges, time will unveil the price we all will pay for delaying the return of Nigeria back to regional format.” Buhari trying to push S-East out of Nigeria — Ezeife Former governor of Anambra State, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife on his part said President Buhari was trying to push the region out of the Nigerian State. “Buhari is the engineer of the problems. He is trying to push the South-East out of Nigeria by marginalising, dehumanising and humiliating them,” he said, adding that the development led to the agitations by the youths that has now morphed into a national concern. “The young ones couldn’t understand what he was up to and so they reacted as young people. “We didn’t have these problems under President Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Yar’Adua or Goodluck Jonathan but immediately Buhari took the oath of office and swore to protect the Constitution, he reneged on such things as the federal character. “He told us he belongs to everybody and to nobody but we have seen that he belongs to Katsina,” he added.
Buhari’s speech disappointing, says Ozekhome
Rights activist and constitutional lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, flayed the speech as not good enough. Describing the speech as “disappointing” Ozekhome noted that President Buhari left the real issues for trivialities, wondering why the Commander-in-Chief failed to say a word on the threats issued against the Igbo by the Arewa youths. He told Vanguard that the President’s perceived hatred for the Igbo, again manifested in his national broadcast, saying his description of the nation under his stewardship is far from reality. Nothing interesting from Buhari—Junaid Mohammed In his reaction, Second Republic lawmaker, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, said the speech lacked substance, adding that there was nothing interesting about it. He said: “I feel very sad that Nigerians have found themselves in this quagmire and it is very unfortunate. “Unfortunately, he surrounded himself with family members who have no experience about government. So what do you expect from such government? “I strongly believe Buhari cannot take this country to the promised land and for him to be telling us his experience as a junior officer in the military when the country needs urgent attention is unbecoming of a leader.”