The Presidency has said that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has not marginalised the people from the South-East contrary to the widely held notion.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said this in an opinion article he wrote to coincide with Buhari’s two-day visit to Ebonyi and Anambra states which would start on Tuesday (today).
Shehu said, “On the basis of projects alone, no one should have any reason to doubt the good intentions of the President towards the South-East.
“Even if some of the people may not support the government, they cannot deny that their region has got a fair deal from President Buhari.
“The President, in his conscience, is clear on all fronts that he has been fair to the region and will continue to encourage the efforts of each state as it strives to excel in one endeavour or another.”
The presidential spokesman noted that the Federal Government’s support of Ebonyi State’s rice-growing schemes testified to a successful partnership between the centre and the region.
He said Buhari’s visit to Ebonyi and Anambra was meant to show support to a governor who had done so much in promoting the President’s policy on food self-sufficiency and to endorse his party’s candidate for the governorship election holding on Saturday.
He added that the President’s visit would go further in soothing frayed nerves and providing an opportunity to listen more to the cries of the people of the region.
Shehu said the people of the region had not been served in due proportion by successive administrations in post-independence Nigeria.
He said had previous governments discharged their responsibilities to the region and to the country at large, the nation might not have been in a situation of tension and anger leading to violence and secessionist agitations.
Shehu said the agitations had their roots in the lack of infrastructure and opportunity for citizens to excel.
He said today’s investments in infrastructure and people should change all that.
He added that the government had re-mobilised the contractor handling the Second Niger Bridge to site.
“In the budget proposals read last week at the National Assembly, President Buhari listed this bridge as one of the administration’s priority projects and announced an allocation of N10bn expenditure for 2018,” he said.
The presidential spokesman also listed other projects in the South-East, including the construction of a new international terminal in Enugu; the coastal rail project that will pass through Aba in Abia State and Onitsha in Anambra State, among others.
He said Buhari’s visit would help to put the spotlight on the silent achievements of his administration in the region so that the ordinary citizens would be reassured and be rid of the notion that they were getting the short end of the stick.