Yesterday the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari met with governors and senators from the South-East, traditional rulers and leaders of the Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo, at the new Banquet hall of the State House in Abuja shortly after Islamic Friday prayers.
The leader of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, John Nwodo, who spoke with State House correspondents after the meeting said they had a “frank and robust exchange” with the President concerning the alleged neglect of the region by successive administrations.
Other issues discussed, according to Mr. Nwodo, include “devolution of powers, the constitution, the paucity of the states and local governments in our place.”
Following this development, Abuja lawyer and member of the Lincoln’s Inn in London, Mr Daniel Bwala spoke on Channels TV programme, Politics Today on the inference to be drawn from the President’s gesture, saying, “For me, I am excited that there is a dialogue, an engagement by the President and the people of the South-East, especially because of the IPOB agitation which has created a lot of bad feeling towards the government from most of the people from the South East.
“The fruitfulness of the meeting is to the effect that the president has reiterated the commitment of his administration to meet up with the plans of the government to take care of the projects like the east west road, and all of the projects that he has indicated to the people of the south east that they are going to pay attention to.
“This is going to quell a little bit of the agitation that we find from that part of the country. I deeply regret that in the last election, the south east could not produce a senator from APC because we wouldn’t have been complaining as much because there would be a senator who would have emerged as the senate president from the south east but this meeting is the beginning of many more engagements between the government and the people of the south east and I believe to an extent that this is going to help a great deal”, he said
Asked whether he could see any cabinet reshuffle that could gladden the hearts of the people of the region, Mr Bwala said, “I believe honestly that the President has a cabinet reshuffle in his heart; it is better late than never. The very fact that there is an engagement at the moment, to me it portends positivity.”
Adding that so much has been said about cabinet reshuffle, Mr Bwala said there are feelers that the President might be considering that
“I strongly believe that the in rejigging of the cabinet, the south east will play a very pivotal role in his consideration for appointment.
“No doubt that the appointments have not favoured the people of the south east; we have to call a spade a spade. Some of us at the beginning would have thought that the Chief of staff would have come emerged the south east but better late than never and I believe that in the cabinet reshuffle the president is going to consider that.”
Concluding Mr Bwala said, “… even though there is a misinformation and perception from the people of the south east towards the person of the President, but one thing is clear that Mr President has in his heart, the goodwill of the people of the south east and this engagement for me, is the way forward.”