By Sunday Ani
Former governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole has risen in defence of President Muhammadu Buhari’s request from the World Bank to focus its assistance on the Northeastern zone of the country.
Oshiomhole, who claimed to be present at the meeting between President Buahri and the World Bank president, Dr. Kim Jong, on July 21, 2015, at the Blair House, Washington DC, said people misconstrued Buhari’s position. He said it was “rather unfortunate that a patriotic request made by Mr. President and borne out of altruistic motivation is now being twisted, manipulated and politicised to suit certain political end.”
In a statement signed personally by the former governor and made available to Daily Sun, Oshiomhole said: “Mr. President made the request against the backdrop of the devastation of the North East zone and the need for international organisations to rise in support of the efforts of the Nigerian government in arresting the humanitarian crisis in that part of the country.
The inhuman conditions of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) were also discussed and Mr. President urged the World Bank to look into the best possible ways to address the crisis before it got out of hand.”
He revealed that at the time the president was making the request from the World Bank, his government in Edo State was “also buffeted with the challenge of dealing with internally displaced persons, who came to settle in the outskirt of Benin City without the knowledge of the state government. It took my personal intervention and the cooperation of Mr. President before we could offer logistics assistance to make the location habitable, to avert any humanitarian crisis.”
He described as unfair, condemnable and politically notorious, any attempt to question such request by the president. He said: “For those who are familiar with the devastation of the North East, where over 20,000 persons have reportedly been killed, with over two million internally displaced persons, it smacks of political notoriety for any rational mind to question the request of Mr. President. The idea of trying to read sectional meaning or ulterior motive to this genuine and patriotic request is grossly unfair, condemnable and unfortunate.”
Oshiomhole advised Nigerians to know where to draw the line between politics and governance.
“It is instructive for us to know when to play politics and when not to play politics, especially with serious developmental challenges, such as the one under reference. One of the responsibilities of credible leadership is to know when and how to prioritise challenges of governance; and the humanitarian crisis in the North East was becoming an international embarrassment, hence, the request.”
He commended the president’s style of leadership, when he said: “President Buhari remains a statesman who is not only patriotic and altruistic in his intentions, but one whose actions speak volume for our unity of purpose. We should see the country as one indivisible entity driven by common objectives and goals.”