Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, has dismissed claims of the Federal Government marginalizing the Southeast. Ngige insisted that the Southeast has equal representation at the Federal Executive Council, FEC, like other regions of the country.
The minister, who rubbished claims of lopsided appointment by the Buhari-led government, insisted that Igbos have enjoyed key appointments in the past.
He spoke at an emergency stakeholders meeting of the Association of Eze Ndigbo in the 19 Northern States and Abuja during the weekend. Ngige, however, noted that some of those in the FEC do not understand how the government works.
The minister insisted that the Southeast have produced an Inspector General of Police, IGP, Chief of Army Staff, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, among other key positions in the past.
He said: “We are in the Federal Executive Council (FEC), which is composed of a minister per state.
But we have one extra ministerial slot. So, the South East is effectively represented to ensure justice is done to the region.
“People have said we were not honoured with appointments of Inspector-General of Police, Chief of Army Staff and Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF). These are positions we have enjoyed before in Nigeria.
“Southeast produced two Inspectors-General of Police (IGPs), Ogbonnaya Onovo and Mike Okiro. We had an SGF, Senator Pius Anyim. We also produced four Senate Presidents. Twice we produced Deputy Senate President and Deputy Speaker, Ike Ekweremadu and Emeka Ihedioha respectively.”
He noted that those named above were in charge of federal budgets” for eight years.
Ngige stressed that the talk about the Southeast being marginalized in the area of “appointments” was a “matter of perception.”
“A lot of them don’t understand how government works. A lot of them don’t understand that I, as a member of FEC can influence things that will come to my State, my zone or any other area and where we think things should be sited or done in Nigeria,” he added.