Image: Buhari vs Ekweremadu
The youth wing of the apex Igbo socio- cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has warned President Muhammadu Buhari against using the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu as the sacrificial lamb to settle his scores with the embattled Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.
Ohanaeze Youth Council (OYC) was reacting to media reports that Buhari had in his recent meeting with Saraki which was brokered by the Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, allegedly, insisted on Ekweremadu’s removal as condition for his reconciliation with Saraki.
According to the media report, Buhari was said to be sorely pained by the emergence of Ekweremadu – a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) member as the Deputy Senate President in an All Progressive Congress (APC) dominated senate.
He was said to have demanded the immediate replacement of Ekweremadu with an APC senator as condition for the eventual dropping of charges against Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
Recall that all senators from South East belong to PDP, and removing Ekweremadu means excluding the zone from the leadership of the entire National Assembly.
A source privy to the meeting had reportedly said: “The view of the Presidency is that the arrangement in the Senate whereby a PDP senator is the deputy president in an APC-led government is a misnomer, which should not be allowed.
“If there is a political option, this is one; the arrangement is not right.
The President did not like the arrangement in the Senate”.
But in a swift reaction to the alleged insistence of Buhari on removing Ekweremadu, OYC warned the President to thread with caution as “any attempt to unseat the Deputy Senate President is an affront to democracy”.
“Removal of Ekweremadu amounts to political genocide against Ndigbo “, Ohanaeze said.
OYC in a press statement issued Friday by its National President, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro and Mazi Okwu Nnabuike National Sec, asked Buhari to place the peace and unity of Nigeria above his political views.
He wondered what the President “intends to achieve by excluding an entire geopolitical zone from the power equation of the country.”
The statement read in part: “Buhari should not over-display his penchant hatred for Ndigbo by insisting that the only position God gave us through the instrumentality of progressive minds at the senate is snatched away.
“Buhari has deliberately excluded the South East from all his political appointments so far, yet he is not satisfied but wants to close the only window granted us by providence.
“He appointed all his service chiefs and other key public officers without considering anybody from South East. When we cried foul his apologists told us to wait for ministerial list.
“He has presented his long- awaited ministerial list with only two slots for a zone with five states. It is already obvious to us that Buhari-led administration is tribalistic and bent on punishing Ndigbo for our political decision in the last election but he should beware of the grave consequences of his actions”.
Ohanaeze advised Buhari to stop interfering with the internal affairs of the National Assembly but instead concentrate on issues that would engender unity and national cohesion.
OYC noted that “no administration in Nigeria has ever succeeded without Ndigbo, and Buhari’s government will not be an exception”.
“We have no regrets for our political choice in the last election. Buhari will not be President for ever but we want other geopolitical zones to be aware of the injustices against Ndigbo by the APC-led government.
The group also renewed its earlier call for the implementation of the recommendations of the 2014 national conference as the panacea to the myriad of problems threatening Nigeria’s unity and peaceful co- existence.
“The recent succession threat by the Yoruba leaders is as a result of the failure of the federal government to address some fundamental questions in Nigeria including obvious injustices as can be deduced by the deliberate exclusion of Ndigbo by Buhari.
“It is very worrisome that the body language of Mr. President does not seem to suggest that he understands that Nigeria under him is fast becoming more disenchanted and disunited than ever”.
OYC commended all Igbo senators for standing behind Ekweremadu, assuring them of the full support of Igbo youths in their bid to advance the cause of Ndigbo.
Ohanaeze also urged Saraki not to allow any amount of pressure by the presidency to unruffle the existing cordial relationship between him and Ekweremadu .
Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro