Northern governors have blamed Igbo politicians for the problems of infrastructure and underdevelopment in the South East.
They insisted that the poor performance of the zone’s men in positions of authority in the past was responsible for the situation and not because of marginalisation
The visiting governors led by Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima, who is also chairman of Northern Governors’ Forum, decried the poor state of major roads in the Southeast, but said politicians from the zone “are only interested in pocketing the resources that would have been used in developing the zone at the detriment of the people”.
They spoke in Owerri, the Imo State capital, during a meeting with Igbo and Hausa leaders at the Government House.
The governors rounded off their truce tour which took off in Port Harcourt on Monday, moved to Umuahia, the Abia State capital, before arriving in Owerri.
They met with Governors Nyesom Wike (Rivers) and Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia).
They noted that the challenges in the Southeast was not as a result of marginalisation as erroneously believed, arguing that Igbo had occupied exalted positions like Secretary to the Government (SGF) of the Federation, Senate President and many others but the occupiers of those positions rather used them for ephemeral and selfish gains.
“You can take for instance the case of Nnamdi Kanu who is an ordinary criminal. When he was arrested, senators from the Southeast were falling head over heels to bail him for what they could gain at the detriment of national unity and peaceful coexistence”, Shettima stated.
The governors who were on tour of South-South and Southeast states to douse the tension created by the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the quit notice on the Igbo by the Arewa youths, insisted that the challenges confronting the country were created by the elite for personal aggrandisements.
With Shettima were: Governors Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (Sokoto), Simon Lalong (Plateau) and Bello Masari (Katsina).
Shettima added: “The problem of Nigeria is we the elite who are fanning the embers of hatred and disunity for selfish reasons. The country is passing through a grim and sober moment and by working together, we can get Nigeria to work again.
“We are here to thank our colleagues in the Southeast for standing on the part of peace and national unity. All we need is tolerance, justice and generosity of mind to move the country forward”.
The Northern Governors commended the Imo State governor for his “uncommon and consistent” support for the unity of the nation. They described him as a detribalised Nigerian.
“Governor Okorocha has been dehumanised and branded all sorts of names for insisting on one indivisible Nigeria but he has remained unshaken in his faith in the unity of the country. We salute his sense of patriotism and his style of leadership, he is the kind of leader that Nigeria needs.”
Tambuwal said “Nigeria is not a mistake. Nigeria is a special creation we all must continue to strive to make it work. And for us to continue to coexist harmoniously, we must have respect for each other. We must respect each others’ culture because respect begets respect”.