When the President ran for political office in 2003, who was his running mate? Dr Chuba Okadigbo. And in 2007? Chief Edwin Ume-Ezeoke. If he hated Igbos would he run with them?
That shows you the respect and the regard he has for Igbos, it was political reality that compelled him to come south-west in 2011 and in 2015. Let me tell you a story.
There is a prominent Igbo family in this country, if I mention their names you would know them, they are very prominent in the society. They told me a story that in the 70s, President Buhari was Minister of Petroleum, the family wanted to join the petroleum industry and then they made a bid.
By then, there were not too many Nigerians playing in that industry, and there was a lot of scepticism from those around the then Lt Colonel Buhari, who was Oil Minister. They all said they don’t believe that the company as represented by that family had the capacity to play in the industry.
This family told me that eventually, they got to Lt Colonel Buhari, he listened to them, and asked them; ‘Are you sure you have the capacity to do this?’ And they told him, ‘we can do it’.
Then he removed his military cap, banged it on the table and told them, ‘it is done.’ And he instructed that they give them that opportunity they wanted in the oil industry and today that family is so big and they never forget that the then Colonel Buhari as oil minister gave them the break they needed.
They told me that story about three weeks ago. The next day, when I saw the president, I told him the story.
He laughed and then went on to tell me that when people say he is against the Igbos, it baffles him, that really he never knew that family, he just trusted the assurance they gave him that they could play in the oil industry, and today they are very big. He went further to say that even under PTF, so many Nigerians, including Igbos, benefitted a lot. So there is no way you can say the man hates Igbos.
The second Niger bridge is on the budget in 2016. Let’s recall that the last President sometime in 2011 said that he would complete that second Niger bridge before 2015. He didn’t even go beyond the architectural drawing, but in 2016 budget, that project is there.
Our president is a straight shooter, whatever is in his mind is what he tells you. He doesn’t believe in manipulating or any form of rigmarole. What he said, was that those people had grievous charges against them, but then, he does not preclude bail, if there are no pending charges against them.
The situation now is when bail is granted, before that bail is perfected, those who are prosecuting them would have come with fresh charges, which warrant their being held further.
So, that is the position, if there are no fresh charges, and there is bail, there is no reason to hold them. But the truth is that there are fresh charges leveled against them.
Q: One of the APC men has been arrested by EFCC, and that is Col Jafar Isa. What does that mean to you?
ANS: It means that in this corruption fight, no friend, no foe. One of the quickest ways for President Buhari to lose confidence in anybody is for that person to be tarred with the brush of corruption, and if proven to be true, you are on your own.
All those who have said he is selective, it is because they do not know him. We know how much he detests corruption, and if any case is proven against anybody, no matter how close the person is, no matter how high ranking, that person will answer for it.