President Goodluck Jonathan has commended the attention his administration is giving the Igbos whom he said are well represented in his government and are being appointed to positions which no previous administrations ever gave them. Mr. President also said the Igbos had also benefited from many projects completed by his government in the South-East.
He said these during this year’s World Igbo Congress Day in Houston, Texas, United States.
The event had held on Saturday, but a copy of the President’s speech at the ceremony was only made available to journalists by the presidential spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, on Thursday.
He said his administration has been inclusive of the Igbo race.
He said, “In the pursuit of productivity and excellence, we have appointed competent and capable men and women to positions of high authority and strategic responsibility in all fields of national endeavour.
“In our dogged determination to develop our country, the Igbos are well represented and in some of these appointments, the Igbos are having them for the first time.
“Some have said that this government has done more in appointments than any other in our history for the Igbos, 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.
“Even when some utilise politics to undermine our commitment to fairness and justice, we will deploy the principle of Federal Character to progressively correct it. No part of Nigeria under my leadership will be shortchanged.”
He further added that his administration has benefited the south east in terms of projects and policies. Accordingly, the President said his administration had completed many federal roads which were left in bad state by previous administrations.
He said, “Similarly in projects and policies, we have continued to do our best. Throughout the South-East, we inherited federal roads in very poor conditions.
“In spite of the highly competitive demand and constraints on funding, we have taken on most of the major roads, realising the impact that their improvement will have on business and life in our country.
“The Owerri-Onitsha Road, which was under construction at the outset of my administration, has been virtually completed. Three other very important roads, the Enugu-Onitsha expressway, the Enugu–Port Harcourt road and the Nguju-Edda-Nporo-Ohafia road which cuts across Ebonyi and Abia States, are steadily progressing. Our hope is that improved budget and Sure-P funding will see quicker action in the months ahead.
“The Obiziora-Iziagu road and Enugu-Abakaliki road are some of those that have progressed to good standard. Further attention will be focused on the Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene road which is already being addressed remedially by the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency.
“The Igbos, being a very mobile people, have also benefitted from works in other leading roads nationwide. The Ore-Benin road long known as a deathtrap has been totally transformed and now provides a safer and more reliable ride. The Lagos-Ibadan road is similarly being reconstructed and the Benin-Lokoja-Abuja road is now being dualised as we are doing in other roads in the far North.”
The president also applauded the Igbos for their achievements and contributions to the development of Nigeria.
“All through our history, the Igbos have cut a distinguishing niche in all aspects of our national life in the areas of education, sports, politics, science and technology, literary excellence, enterprise, diplomacy, among others,” he said.
Among whom, dead and living, the President mentioned as starling reflection of Igbos’ achievements and donation to the entire country included, late Biafra warlord, Ikemba Chief (Dim) Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, his father, Chief Louis Ojukwu.
They also included Sir Onyechere Anyiam Osigwe, who the President said was the first Nigerian to own an ocean-going crude oil conveying tanker and engage in the crude oil export trade, Dr. Oliver De Coque, Onyeka Onwenu, Chinua Achebe stands tall, supported by Cyprian Ekwensi, Chris Okigbo, Flora Nwakpa, Chimamanda Adichie and Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe.
Others are Sam Mbakwe, Akanu Ibiam, Michael Okpara, Jaja Nwachukwu, and Nwankwo Kanu.