Like was the case of his scheduled visit to Rivers State early June, President Muhammadu Buhari has shunned the maiden South-East Economic and Security Summit in Enugu State, after the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) threatened they were ready to die along with him should he step his foot into “Biafraland”.
The Nigerian President was slated as the Chief Guest of Honour at the summit that held this Thursday in Enugu State Government House, but neither him nor any of his ministers was at the summit to represent him.
This is even as ministers from the zone all stayed away from the summit, a situation many commentators said might not be unconnected with IPOB’s vow that any politician of Igbo extraction that accompanied the President to the event, will have himself to blame.
IPOB, whose leader, Nnamdi Kanu, is being held by the Federal Government, had on announcement that the President would be visiting Enugu State for the summit, released a statement, warning Buhari to stay away from the South-East in his own interest.
It also warned all politicians from the zone not to get involved in the president’s visit, having accused him of persecuting the Igbos.
In his opening remarks, the Chairman of the South-East Security and Economic Summit, former Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji said, “We have not seen the President.”
Afterwards, when it became clear the President was neither going to be physically present nor represented, Nnaji substituted his name with that of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who was present at the event as the ‘Distinguished Guest of Honour’, in the introductory part of a prepared address where he was to thank Buhari for attending the occasion as the Chief Guest of Honour.
This is not the first time President Muhammadu Buhari will refuse to honour his appointment following threat by his subjects.
Following threats by Niger Delta Avengers against the President’s proposed visit to Ogoniland in Rivers State early June, Buhari, in what appeared like last minute change of mind, sent instead, his Vice Yemi Osinbajo to go in his stead.
However, in the case of the Enugu summit, it is not yet clear why the President neither honoured the appointment nor sent anybody to represent him.
Recall also that the South East Senate Caucus had also said they would not be at the summit because they were not properly consulted.
Meanwhile, former Commonwealth Secretary General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku expressed regret that President Muhammadu Buhari failed to honour the event.
Anyaoku who was the chairman of the event had during his address said, “I was going to start by saluting the representative of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria but I have not been told of such a person.
He added while rounding up his address, “I had hoped that Mr. President would be here to hear me. Like Cato, the Roman senator who always ended his speeches by calling for the destruction of Carthage until his call was heeded, I will restate my assertion that if the Nigerian federation is restructured to have less federating units, this country will achieve greater stability and faster pace of development, and there will no longer be a need for the Federal Government to bailout many of the non-viable 36 states.”
By Ebere Ndukwu …
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