President Muhammadu Buhari was silent on the agitation by the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, while delivering his address at the ongoing United Nations General Assembly, because he did not want to escalate the crisis to the world body, Ondo Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, has said.
Mr. Buhari’s speech has been criticised by Nigerians for highlighting problems in other countries while ignoring his own nation.
Mr. Akeredolu, who is part of the president’s delegation to the annual event, told State House correspondents in New York on Wednesday that IPOB was a local issue that could be contained by local means.
“IPOB agitation is not something you escalate to the level of the United Nations for now. It’s something that you can contain. It is something that you can contain within what I will call our territorial jurisdiction,” he said.
“Why escalate it to the United Nations? That means, it’s like us wanting to bring what…I mean, they (United Nations) know of it. It’s not that they don’t know of it, but it’s not an issue for now and it will never be an issue in Nigeria for me as a person,” he said.
The governor, however, said Mr. Buhari highlighted other problems facing Nigeria such as the Boko Haram insurgency, corruption and repatriation of stolen assets.
“The president also mentioned Boko Haram and the assistance we have received. He did say something about countries that have assisted us. He mentioned their names and thanked them.
“So, it’s not that our security issues were not addressed or other issues were not addressed like security, corruption, that is more tied to our funds that are outside.
“So, all those things have something to do with the country. If you are retrieving monies from all these western world, it has something to do with the country,” he said.
Mr. Akeredolu praised Mr. Buhari’s speech especially on the call for the setting up of a UN delegation to interface with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, over the escalating nuclear crisis between his country and the United States.
“I did listen to the address and it was a wonderful speech, not too long, not too short either. It was just enough to cover the subject matter.
“The highlight of Mr. President’s speech for me was his reference to the United Nations to set up a committee or a delegation to meet with the North Korean president and to find a solution to this threat of nuclear proliferation.
“That was a wonderful thing and I think that was the highlight of it.
“But Mr. President’s speech had quite a lot of pluses and when again the president said we should not forget old crises and now jump trying to find solutions to new ones and made a reference to what we have had over the years; resolutions on Israel and Palestinians, that if we leave all those ones and keep jumping to other ones, you will never get a solution. So, those are very important points, highlights in his speech,” he said.
On Mr. Buhari’s appeal to world leaders to cooperate in the recovery of stolen assets, the Ondo governor said such the call was necessary to make the process of repatriation of Nigerian stolen funds easier.
“The cooperation of countries within the United Nations normally…what all of us know is that we found some difficulties in recouping looted assets that are in some nations.
“So, we need most of these nations with the cooperation of the United Nations to cooperate so that we can retrieve these monies faster than we get so that people don’t put in a lot clog, disrupting the retrieval of all these looted monies.
“So, the point was being made that the time is now for nations where our monies are kept to come in cooperate with us in the right sense of it rather than play to the gallery,” he said.