Dear reader, please I need to first inform you that this article is lengthy, you need to take time to read through. It is a response to a brilliant Igbo daughter sister but at the same time a message to my Igbo brothers and leaders, it has to be detailed.
I have had a very good conversation with this brilliant Igbo daughter who after reading my article of yesterday titled: “Youths And National Development”, accused me and my party of doing nothing for Igbo youths. In her words “I guess you are part of this present administration. What have they done for Igbo youths? Is there any incentives put in place for them? Are they benefiting from all those programmes being paraded online. We want facts and figures not theory”
“Our youths are languishing with idleness, no proper skill acquisition for them, they don’t have the means to do so”
“The way forward to me should be now, making adjustment and change”
From my observations, she is not the only one having this perception about the current APC administration, a lot of our people still think this way despite what has been put on ground.
My job is not to defend the federal government here but to encourage our people to look beyond what the federal government has not done and begin to hold our leaders accountable for their own failure. Especially, knowing that South Eastern governors are deploying propaganda tools to make our people focus outside while they are busy stealing from them.
I know that the security challenges we face in Nigeria today is a big minus for President Buhari’s administration but we must still acknowledge his achievements. I am also urging him to do more in the areas of fighting corruption: containing radical Fulani elements who are putting him bad light: even and transparent deployment of social intervention programmes: high handedness of security agents in the South East; federal appointments: electoral reforms and restructuring.
Outside those President Buhari has done well for the South East. Apart from the ongoing construction of “Second Niger” (a landmark achievement), President Buhari has in 5 years done for us what no administration in the last 30 years has done for the South East. Especially in the areas of infrastructure and social intervention.
As requested by my sister, I will like to mention some of the things President Buhari has done for the South East and then pass my message.
1. Rehabilitation of Sections 1 to 4 of the Enugu — Port Harcourt Expressway (Sukuk Bond) (ongoing)
Those who move Enugu and Abia can confirm the completion of Section 1 to 2; Lokpanta-Umuahia Tower, Umuahia to Osisoma, heading to Aba.
2. Rehabilitation of Amansea–Enugu Border section of Onitsha-Enugu Expressway (Sukuk Bond) (ongoing)
3. Rehabilitation of 18km critical stretch of Onitsha–Awka Road (ongoing)
4. Construction of Second Niger Bridge: Completion of design of the Approach Roads from Onitsha and Asaba; Award of Main Construction Contract to Julius Berger; and funding of the project by the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund, PIDF.
In August 2018 PIDF paid 33 billion Naira (US$90 million) to Julius Berger for the Second Niger Bridge project and several other billions have been released to the contractors and work is going on speedily nonstop.
5. Rehabilitation of Arochukwu–Ohafia–Bende Road (ongoing)
6. Ariaria Market Electrification Project. This is part of Federal Government’s Energizing Economies Programme, which brought about stable and reliable electricity to all the 37,000 shops in Ariaria Market, by providing the Market with a gas-powered IPP.
7. Federal Government’s Energizing Education Programme being implemented in Federal University Ndufu-Alike Ikwo, Ebonyi; and Nnamdi Azikwe University — Awka Campus, Anambra. The Programme will provide these Universities with an Independent Power Plant, as well as upgrade existing distribution infrastructure, and also provide street-lighting.
8. Completed Ikot Ekpene — Alaoji — Ugwuaji Switching Station and Transmission Line
9. Construction of Modern Medical Diagnostic Centre at the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia (FMCU)
10. Completed Nnamdi Azikiwe Mausoleum (contract originally awarded in 1996, abandoned at various times, Buhari Administration revived the project in 2016, and completed it in 2018).
11. Enyimba City Special Economic Zone: Definitive Agreements signed between Federal Government, Abia State Government and Enyimba City Development Company Limited on December 7, 2018.
12. Presidential Fertilizer Initiative — has led to the revival of the Ebonyi State Fertiliser and Chemical Company Limited (EFCCL), creating jobs and boosting the supply of fertilizer in the Southeast.
13. Social Investment Programme: 68,000 N-Power Beneficiaries across the 5 States of the South East; the School Feeding Programme has kicked off in all 5 States of the Southeast.
14. Pensions paid to Retired War-Affected (Ex-Biafran) Police: In 2017, the Buhari Administration paid 500 million Naira to clear pensions arrears that had not been paid since their presidential pardon in 2000. In addition to hundreds of constituency projects handed over to members of the House of Representatives and Senators from South East who are have account to our people.
I want my sister to know that particularly in Abia state, at least sixteen thousand (16,000) youths receive thirty thousand Naira (#30,000) every month from N-Power. And yearly the state receives about two billion Naira (2, 000, 000, 000) for school feeding. Currently, seventeen thousand (17,000) people across Abia have been enlisted for 20k monthly adhoc jobs from federal government. The same goes to other states of the South East. And these monies are paid to state governments which are PDP and they manage it all by themselves. The anchor person in Abia state is Chinenye Nwogu, please ask him, he has the record.
There are more opportunities from the federal government for our people that South eastern governors are not taking advantage of. Like the anchor borrower programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria, that runs into billions. All the South eastern states can take advantage of it to mobilise our people into massive rice production but they are acting as though they don’t know. Ebonyi state has benefited but those that wants to make federal government look bad are denying our people these opportunities.
I am sure my sister is not aware that President Buhari gave Abia state Fourteen Billion Naira (14, 000, 000, 000) bailout to pay Abia civil servants even when they were owing only 7.2 billion but they never did. In addition, Abia got about Thirty Four Billion Naira (34,000,000,000) Paris Refund, paid to them by Buhari. Excluding over Six Hundred Billion Naira (600,000,000,000) they have received in federal allocation and oil derivations. Yet nothing to show for all that.
This kind of gesture did not happen under PDP 16 years of rule. I hope they can counter me with opposing facts.
I know that more needs to be done but the federal cannot do all of it for us. As for the things I mentioned, they are facts and I did mention the person in charge of them in Abia state government.
I am particularly worried about the kind of leaders we have now in the East, they are a big disgrace. You can imagine Kaduna state governor saying the other day that very soon they can do without federal allocation. You need to visit that state and war ravaged borono state to see world class infrastructures being put in place by their governors while our governors are busy doing propaganda against federal government.
Yes Buhari has not done everything right and those are highlighted in my post. But the South East with all its potentials and industrious people is a shame unto itself. We are suffering from bad governors. Simple
It is so bad that these South East governors even reject good ideas once they will not benefit personally from it, including foreign investment. Currently I know an investor of Abia origin based in the United States of America who has registered 12 companies in the name of Abia, with interest to build Azuinmiri Seaport, Isiala Ngwa dry port, large scale mechanized agricultural settlement in Abia north, amongst other things. He even came with his Jewish investor partners to Aba to spend some days. But after meeting the governor once and they agreed to certain partnership commitments, they have been dogging him. Last year I called a commissioner in the state to find out why and he directed me to someone else. I even met a very close person to the governor who promised to reach out to him and up till now nothing has happened. This our brother is now back to the US and he is helping northern governors secure foreign investments. Kaduna state alone has attracted over Twelve Billion Dollars ($12,000,000,000) in the last 5 years. You need go there and see how many industries that has been established in the last 5 years whilst our governors are busy buying properties outside the South East, accumulating landed properties belonging to the people at home and building ashawo hotels.
It may surprise you to know that the gas pipeline construction that is going on in northern Nigeria linking Kogi, Abuja, Kaduna and other northern states with close to 5000 megawatts of power station to be built along with it was facilitated by an Igbo man. That is close to 3 billion dollars investment. Meanwhile Alagbo has abundant gas deposit that we can use to develop world class power projects and sell power to others.
Yet we are not talking about falling standards of education in the South East, ravaging cultism, drug abuse and the general youth apathy towards the acquisition of technical skills or apprenticeship. Most of them today are only interested in joining cult groups in order to serve as killer thugs and otmkpus (praise singers) for these same Igbo politicians who are destroying their future. Meanwhile northern governors are sponsoring their youths in their thousands to foreign universities to go and acquire quality education while our schools in the South East are becoming shadows of themselves, with teachers being owed months of salaries and our curriculum not reflecting our current reality. We are practically eroding the gains of the past when we were much ahead in academics but it won’t manifest now until later.
And what we must worry more about is the failure of parents in Igbo land. These children who are fast becoming nuisance belong to one Igbo family or the other who have failed in their duty to bring up their children in the best ways possible. We were known for good child upbringing but things are deteriorating. Just pay a good attention on social media and you will understand how bad things are getting for us. Especially, this generation of Igbo youths are lousy and senselessly boastful. Unlike in the past where an Igbo man could be said to be rich and unassuming, this generation of Igbo are tactless, exhibitional and insultive. Even many of our ladies on social media are a bunch of untrained characters. The rate of divorce amongst us is alarming. Infertility amongst our women is high and we have high number of unmarried matured ladies. A claim to feminism is now the lot of our ladies even when many of them do not understand it’s real meaning. And our leaders don’t even know that is a precursor to a dangerous future
Have we bothered to find out why? Have we bothered to understand the social implication on our future?
I know it is not all about bad stories, we still have Igbos who are striving to make a difference, we still have exemplary Igbo families like the Okonjo Iwuala family who despite being affluent has been able to train their children exactly the way Igbo children are supposed to be trained.
But the quality of leadership across board is something to be worried about. We are being led by people who care less about all these aforementioned issues. Our current leaders are driven by their primitive GREED and egocentrism. But for few amongst them one can hardly believe that these people are of the same tribe with the likes of Okpara and Mbakwe who once governed the region. Because even as opposition, Mbakwe was able to do exceptionally well just few years after the bitter genocidal war that was brought against us. His achievements were such that we quickly forgot we came out of war. There is no comparison between him and these bunch of looters and socially disoriented characters we have now, who thrive in propaganda and thugry.
Our leaders are confusing our people while they are busy stealing from them. State governors failures should not be blamed on the Federal government. We should blame the federal government for their own failure but we should know the dividing line of responsibility.
Since Ohaneze has become a group of wakabout who are beholden to governors and are ardently into partisan politics instead of holding our leaders to account, we must find other appropriate structures to use to bring our leaders back on track. Or we all stop condemning IPOB that is only filling a vacuum of leadership created by these men.
God Bless Ala Igbo
Great Imo Jonathan