The former governor of Abia State Senator Orji Uzor Kalu said the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has ended marginalisation in the Southeast geopolitical zone.
Kalu is the Chief Whip of the Upper Legislative Chamber. He represents Abia North Senatorial District.
According to him the government of All Progressive Congress (APC) led by Buhari has been fixing some projects which were abandoned by the 16-year administration of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).
“But by building the Second Niger Bridge and doing those Port Harcourt-Aba-Umuahia-Enugu expressway and Enugu-Awka-Onitsha expressway, Buhari has ended the marginalisation of Igbo. Our people didn’t even vote for President Buhari,” he told The Sun in an interview.
He admitted that there had been an issue of marginalisation since after the Biafra war, “things have not been the same. There have always been marginalisation. Remember my quarrel with former President Olusegun Obasanjo when I was governor over the same Port Harcourt-Aba-Umuahia-Enugu expressway.”
He explained that he was the first person to remove toll gate during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
He said he took the decision because the people were not getting value from the toll fee they were paying.
“That expressway was abandoned and I had to remove the toll gate. It was based on that my move that all the toll gates in Nigeria were removed.
“I came one morning and removed the toll gates in my state. President Obasanjo called me to ask why I did that and I told him because there was no road for people to pay toll. I meant every word.
“I am sure there were only a few governors that could have done that when I was governor. I removed the toll gates and said no Abian or non-Abian plying that road should pay a dime again. So, after six months, the president ordered for all the toll gates in Nigeria to be removed,” he was quoted as saying by The Sun.
The former governor also said that the Igbos have their portion of the blame in the issue of marginalisation, “our people are not good politicians, because you have to flow like any other region.”
He berated the former PDP government for failing to attend to developmental projects that could have resolved the issue of marginalisation, describing the former ruling party as being unproductive.
“So, I believe that President Buhari has tried now. I am not talking in terms of appointment because the constitution says that every state should have at least one minister.”
On the issue of Buhari appointing Northerners as some of his Service Chiefs, the Senate Chief Whip said it would be good if the president could spread the Service Chiefs across all geopolitical zones.
He, however, submitted that services are like the personal staff of the president. “They are not really constitutionally owned because you only work with military men you trust,” he said.
Kalu said Buhari isn’t the first president to appoint those he trusts as service chief.
“Who was President Obasanjo’s director of SSS? He was not from my village. Who was President Jonathan’s director of SSS? He was Ekpenyong. He was not from my village.
“So, everybody goes back to his region. It might not be the best, but that is the trend because everybody wants to be in control of his security,” the federal lawmaker said.
He said he is more concerned about appointing people that could get the job done irrespective of ethnic, religious or political affiliation.