Okechukwu Obioha, the National leader of South East for President (SEFORP) 2023, a group canvassing for the election of a President of Igbo extraction, has said the ongoing agitations against police brutality is a transfer of aggression to the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government.
Mr Obioha, who spoke to POLITICS NIGERIA, in an exclusive interview on Monday, said the #EndSARS protest is bottled-up anger against the problems facing the country. According to him, the present government is not the cause of the problem.
“It’s just like what the youths are doing today. It is not just that this government caused the problem. It is not about #EndSARS because that’s not the only problem. Nigeria is monumentally corrupt because people who have graduated ten years ago have no job. It is like transferred aggression to this government. It is bottled up,” the group leader said.
For more than a week, Nigerians have been coming out on a daily basis to demand the scrapping of the police unit notorious for extortion, excessive force, and sometimes extra-judicial killings.
Part of their demands is the release of all #EndSARS protesters in detention and total reformation of the police force.
Some of the demands of the protesters, including the disbandment of SARS, have been met while the federal government has promised not to leave any stone unturned in meeting other demands.
The protesters have however refused to leave the streets of Lagos, Ibadan, Abuja, and other major cities until these remaining demands are met.
Speaking further, Mr Obioha decried the marginalization of the region since the end of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s tenure in 2015.
“There should be equity, justice, and fairness. Every day they talk about trains, double lanes from Abuja – Kaduna, Kaduna – Abuja, and Lagos- Kano. They are all running with powerful engines.
But in the last six years when Goodluck Jonathan came on board, train services from Enugu to Portharcourt were moribund. Goodluck Jonathan came. I rode on an air-conditioned train from Enugu to my village. Immediately Buhari came in, from that day till now, the rail services from Enugu to Port Harcourt, 192 miles only, are bushy. Nothing is happening there.
Now, they are even stealing the tracks and selling them to steel. That is what is happening now. People are angry.”
He also spoke about the need to recognise the region for its contributions to the economy with proper representation in government.
“Nigeria is created to be on three legs – the west, north, and east. When you are created to be on three legs and one leg is withered, the east is not in the scheme of things. Someone like Azikwe fought for independence and the east is relegated to the background… That is why the country is nose-diving because we are standing on two legs.”
The whole economy is from the east. It is from the East that we are feeding the North. The revenue from the east was larger by the Colonial masters’ record. Why will you neglect us?”
“If we want to get out of this quagmire, from this economic schizophrenic situation, the best is to recognise this East,” Mr Obioha noted.
According to him, former President Olusegun Obasanjo recognised this and appointed Okonjo Iweala as minister of Finance.
“Even when Obasanjo left, Goodluck brought back Iweala. If you want this country to remain stable, bring these guys in. If you neglect them, you neglect them at your peril,” the group leader told POLITICS NIGERIA.