The Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, over the weekend said no region or tribe in Nigeria would be short-changed under his leadership.
Speaking at the World Igbo Congress Day in Houston, United States of America, Mr. Jonathan said his administration would deploy the principle of Federal Character to correct any use of politics to undermine his government’s commitment to fairness.
“Some have said that this government has done more in appointments than any other in our history for the Igbo, but that is a matter for the pundits and historians. Let me state that appointments by this administration, across the country, will continue to be based on equity, fairness and competence,” Mr. Jonathan said.
He said in projects and policies, his administration has continued to do its best to ensure equity and fairness to all regions.
He assured that his administration would work towards encouraging the Igbo people who, he said, have much to offer Nigeria.
Mr. Jonathan also explained that the aim of the past 2014 National Conference was to engender unity and advance Nigeria’s collective development as a people.
He said his administration was committed to implementing the recommendations of the just concluded National Conference report.
“It has been proposed several times in the recent past, and I believe it is among the recommendations of the national conference, that Nigerians in Diaspora be constitutionally enabled to vote in their countries of residence. This is a cause I am committed to support and champion with all the wherewithal of my office, and I am fairly certain that working together we can bring this to reality. Your vote for whoever you want must not be denied,” he said.
The president commended the Ndigbo for their illustrious and enterprising nature, which, he said, singled the Igbo people out.
Listing the likes of Louis Ojukwu, Chukwuemeka Ojukwu and Onyechere Osigwe, the president said it was pertinent to note that there was much more out of the Igbo land in various sectors, entertainment and sports inclusive.
“In literary excellence, Chinua Achebe stands tall, supported by Cyprian Ekwensi, Chris Okigbo, Flora Nwakpa, Chinwezu and in recent times Chimamanda Adichie and many others. The Igbo donated Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, scholar, journalist, nationalist, foremost politician and first President of Nigeria, who in concert with Sir Ahmadu Bello, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Chief Dappa Biriye and others, fought for our independence from Great Britain,” Mr. Jonathan said.
The President said he believed hard work, excellence and resilience have helped the Ndigbo move forward. He added that it was time for Nigerians, with the new technology available, to build on the foundations laid by the elders of the Igbo land.
“I also believe that the time is now to build on the foundations laid by the elders and leaders in Igboland by adopting technology and planning, so as to deliver better planned functional modern cities that would attract the growing population of the Igbo in the Diaspora, so that they can come back and settle to a lifestyle commensurate with what they have helped to develop elsewhere,” he said.
The planning, he said, must be integrated and harmonised in the industrial and trading activities of entrepreneurs in a way that they become more mutually beneficial and also take advantage of economies of scale and engender a more modern, friendly and comfortable business environment.
He said such effort would ease tension and encourage domiciliation of affordable technology and wealth creation and also attract investors, small and big all over the globe.
Mr. Jonathan said he hoped the Congress would guard its strong position as a rallying point and trusted bastion of the community, noting that societies are founded on strong institutions of competence and integrity.