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Nigeria’s Buhari Told World Bank To Focus On Northern Regions

Unic Press UK: Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari convinced the World Bank Group to channel its resources to the northern regions of the country, the President of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim, said.

A transcript ‘World Bank Group Opening Press Conference by President Jim Yong Kim at the 2017 WBG/IMF Annual Meetings’ which was seen by Unic Press UK, revealed apparent sectional interest of the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in the light of a parley between him and the World Bank Group President.

In the transcript, a representative of the Thisday Newspapers [a media organization in Nigeria] and The Rise TV, put a question to Jim Yong Kim:

“Mr. Kim, what can you tell us about Nigeria, specifically your intervention in the power sector, and also, what is the World Bank doing to support those ravaged in the northeastern part of Nigeria by the Boko Haram terrorists”? 

Jim Yong Kim replied:

“You know, in my very first meeting with President Buhari he said, specifically, that he would like us to shift our focus to the northern regions of Nigeria, and we’ve done that. Now, it’s been very difficult. The work there has been very, very difficult… Nigeria has to think ahead. And investing in its people, investing in the things that will allow Nigeria to be a thriving, rapidly growing economy in the future is what the country has to focus on right now… we need to really think about another kind of path to economic growth that’s very focused on a small- to medium-enterprises and entrepreneurship as they have in other parts of the world?  I think we still don’t know that.  But the one thing we know, the one thing we know, is that better health outcomes, better education outcomes, will be critical no matter what the global economy looks like. So, yes focus on the north, hope that as commodity prices stabilize, oil prices come back up and the economy will grow a bit more, but very, very much focus on what the drivers of growth in the future will be.”

Buhari appears to have firmly set himself as a sectional leader given what transpired during his meeting with the President of the World Bank Group, and several other instances in which he seem to openly express bigoted inclination toward certain constituencies.

From 1983 until 1985, when Muhammadu Buhari led Nigeria as a military Head of State, his administration embarked on the indiscriminate arrest of politicians of southern regional provenance.

“People like Professor Ambrose Alli and Bisi Onabanjo, the former governors of the old Bendel state and Ogun state respectively didn’t last long after they were released before they died. People like Adekunle Ajasin, the former governor of Ondo state, Sam Mbakwe, former governor of Imo state and Olu Awotesu who was the Minister of State for Agriculture lived with life-long health effects from their incarceration until they passed on. People have written plenty on the unfairness of the treatment of the time in terms of how politicians from the North and South were treated by Buhari, something that was exemplified with Shagari being under house arrest and the squeaky clean Alex Ekwueme banged up in Kirikiri Maximum Prison”, said Kennedy Emetulu, in November 2014, in an article ‘Buharists And Their Stockholm Syndrome’.

In July 2015, during a visit to the United States, President Buhari attended a question/answer session that was organized by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). At the event he declared that it would be appropriate to give greater attention to parts of the country that gave significant support to his bid for Nigeria’s presidency. Buhari submitted on live television that those that gave him 5% support should not expect to be treated equally as those that mustered 97% support. Perhaps Buhari view in this instance is arguably an affront to Section 15 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which reads:

“15(1) The motto of the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress. (2) Accordingly, national integration shall be actively encouraged, whilst discrimination on the grounds of place of origin, sex, religion, status, ethnic or linguistic association or ties shall be prohibited. (3) For the purpose of promoting national integration, it shall be the duty of the State to: (a) provide adequate facilities for and encourage free mobility of people, goods and services throughout the Federation. (b) secure full residence rights for every citizen in all parts of the Federation. (c) encourage inter-marriage among persons from different places of origin, or of different religious, ethnic or linguistic association or ties; and (d) promote or encourage the formation of associations that cut across ethnic, linguistic, religious and or other sectional barriers. (4) The State shall foster a feeling of belonging and of involvement among the various people of the Federation, to the end that loyalty to the nation shall override sectional loyalties.”

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