Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Nigeria's President Moves Against Major Ethnic Bloc

The widely known political marginalization of the Igbos, a major ethnic bloc, inhabiting south-eastern Nigeria by successive Administrations, have been driven a notch higher by the Administration of Mr. Umaru Yar'Adua.

At the onset of the present Administration, the Igbos, in the thick of high stake political horsetrading, lost strategic political positions to the other ethnic blocs, the Hausa/Fulanis got the position of President, the Ijaws, got the Vice-President, the Yorubas, speaker of the House of Representatives, Nigeria's lower Parliament, the Idomas, President of the Senate, Nigeria's upper parliament. The Igbos only clinched the less strategic position of Deputy Senate President.

"Our hope was that Yar'Adua will favour us with appointments", a prominent Igbo traditional ruler whispered to chidi opara reports. This hope was dashed when the President "began to appoint only his kinsmen in important positions", a bitter middle level civil servant in Umuahia, Abia State, complained.

Apart from the Foreign Minister, Mr. Ojo Maduekwe, whose position we were informed, "is presently shaky" and Mrs. Madueke, the Transport Minister, "whose portfolio may be reduced", no Igbo is presently occupying a strategic position in this dispensation. Mrs Madueke is an Ijaw by birth.

A Presidency source informed chidi opara reports that Professor Chukwuma Soludo, the Central Bank governor, an Igbo "will soon be pressured to resign".

Since the end of the civil war, led by Rtd. Lt. Col. Emeka Ojukwu, an Igbo in 1970, the Igbos have complained of marginalization in all spheres of life in Nigeria. Ojukwu, a self acclaimed leader of the Igbos recently criticised Yar'Adua, accusing him of nepotism.

The Yar'Adua Administration is recently being widely criticised for concentrating appointments to strategic positions on his Hausa/Fulani ethnic bloc.

Ethnicity is still a major issue in Nigerian politics.