Oby Ezekwesili, a former Minister of Education, says President Muhammadu Buhai’s poor handling of Nigeria’s diversity was the main cause of the controversy generated by the recent revelation of the World Bank.
Ezekwesili, who is also a former Vice-President of the World Bank, however, said the focus of the World Bank on the war-torn areas of the North-East was in order.
The ex-minister said this in a series of tweets on her official Twitter handle on Friday.
The President of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim, had at a press conference on Thursday in Washington DC, United States, said that the bank had concentrated on the northern Nigeria, in line with Buhari’s request.
The revelation subsequently caused an outrage among several interests groups in southern Nigeria.
In her response, Ezekwesili stated that it was normal for the bank to focus on areas ravaged by conflict. The ex-minister, however, argued that Buhari had in the past portrayed himself as a sectional leader which had fuelled the current controversy.
She said, “The priority given to the North-East in discussion between Jim Yong Kim and President Muhammadu Buhari is not unusual at all. Let’s not politicise it please. I want everyone to know that the statement made by the World Bank President is not as it sounds. I should know. I was VP there.
“As a practice, post-conflict zones – e.g. Northern Uganda, Northern Central African Republic, and Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo receive special focus from the World Bank. It makes sense.
“As the destabilisation in the North-East worsened Human Development Indicators in North-East Nigeria, our country sadly joined that list. Our Africa strategy when I became VP of World Bank 48 countries including Nigeria prioritised quick reconstruction of post-conflict areas.
“The current brouhaha is of course triggered by the context of existing tensions occasioned by our president’s poor management of our diversity. The feedback that President Buhari can take from the rage that his discussion with the World Bank has triggered is to reflect on his ways.”
Ezekwesili also lambasted the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, for insulting those who criticised Buhari.
“The terribly indecorous press release by Femi Adesina worsens a fractious debate. This Federal Government cannot be leaders of toxicity in public debates. No matter the basis of people’s disagreement with their government, it must never be pressured to the point of leading the way in insults,” she said.