EZEIFE, NSUKKA GROUP WANT JONATHAN'S ATTENTION ON POWER, OTHERS
FORMER Governor of Anambra State, Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to give priority to power, transport infrastructure as well as strengthen the fight against corruption.
In an interview with The Guardian in Abuja, Ezeife who noted that no military or civilian leader had focused enough on economic development of the country, called on the President to come out with policies that would protect infant industries and encourage new ones to spring up.
Meanwhile, the Nsukka Zonal Union, NZU, has asked the Ohanaeze Ndigbo not to complicate matters for President Jonathan by nominating anybody for the post of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).
It noted that it was the prerogative of the President to choose anybody for the post.
The union said it was disappointed that the geo-political zone was making so much noise over a matter that does not concern it, pointing out that Ndigbo should leave Jonathan alone to nominate those he can work with.
Ezeife said, ' It is very important to fix power because when there is a steady power supply, there would be employment and the small-scale industries would spring up. He should also focus on protecting the infant industries in Nigeria. The international competitive atmosphere is hostile and unfair and many of our small-scale industries are being wiped out on a regular basis by Chinese flood of cheap imports and that is not fair. The most important factor is to save the soul of Nigeria from corruption.
He advised President Jonathan not to compensate those who failed during the election with political appointment but rather appoint only competent people in the new cabinet
On the zoning of top political offices, Ezeife said, ' The best position for the Southeast is to have the Senate President, which agreed with the tradition. When President Olusegun Obasanjo who is from the South was the President, a southerner was the Senate president and when the presidency changed to the North, with President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua as the President, a Northerner became the Senate President. Now it has changed back to the south, I will expect a southerner to become the Senate President and when it comes to the south, then the south east is a natural home for it because the south -south already has the president'.
'The issue is from which position can the Southeast be best helped? Is it from the position of Senate President, Speaker or Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF)? The jury may be out that at least it is under consideration. So we have now left the best or second best and our people are now considering the position of the SGF. I understand that the President of Ohaneze has submitted a list to the president.
Although some people believe that the position of SGF is a very powerful position and would be good for the Southeast, however, there is a psychic aspect to politics. When you count number one to five and the group is not there, they will feel bad. Igbo people say, 'Ogaranya murum, ma ya enyenam nri (Let the rich be my father even if he doesn't feed me) so there is that psychic aspect but the other issue is right. The SGF knows what is going on in every part of governance; knows where there are vacancies and is involved in many things; it is a very powerful position'.
Speaking at a news conference in Lagos yesterday, the National Publicity Secretary of NZU, Chief Frank Ukweze wondered why there was so much noise from the southeast over who was suitable or not for ministerial or the SGF position adding that most of the names being suggested for such positions should be ignored since they would owe allegiance to Ndigbo and not the President who appointed them.
Commenting on the list of names submitted to the ruling People's Democratic Party, PDP, for appointment as ministers, NZU expressed the hope that the next minister from Enugu state will come from Nsukka zone.
'We urge President Jonathan to wipe our tears by appointing any of the names suggested from Nsukka, which controls about 49 per cent of the population of the state but which has been terribly marginalised in the scheme of things.
'Enugu state is mainly made up of two distinct zones; Enugu and Nsukka. Enugu zone has the governor, the deputy, the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, the Deputy Senate President, the Minister of Aviation, Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, the Chief of Staff and the Chief Judge among others.
'Of about 51 commissioners, Senior Special Assistants and Assistants to the Governor, Enugu zone has 31 while Nsukka has 14. Also, out of the 35 Permanent Secretaries, Udi alone where the Governor hails from has 11 while the whole of Nsukka zone has eight just as all the heads of state owned - tertiary and health institutions are from Enugu zone.
'Nsukka zone has never had it so bad and we urge both Mr President and Governor Sullivan Chime to consider our plight and concede the ministerial position to our zone because we have also consistently voted for the PDP in the last 12 years,' Ukweze added.