Following President Muhammadu Buhari’s absent at the South East Economic and Security Summit in Enugu, the Presidency has disassociated his absent to the threats by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), says Buhari’s absent was because of advice by Igbo leaders.
President Buhari wanted to personally attend the summit, but changed his mind when top Igbo leaders expressed reservations that his coming to the zone was at the instance of former president Olusegun Obasanjo.
Competent sources revealed that a top Anglican bishop from Abia State, working with the convener of the summit, had contacted Obasanjo and persuaded him to lend his words for President Buhari to attend the summit.
Miffed by the fact that Obasanjo was at the centre of invitation to President Buhari to attend a prime programme in South East, Igbo leaders were said to have protested to the Presidency, advising that Buhari should not visit the South East now.
Also, it was gathered that Igbo leaders in the All Progressives Congress (APC) advised President Buhari to rather schedule a visit to South East when the rehabilitation of federal roads in the zone is at its peak and also when he would flag off the continuation of the work at the second Niger Bridge.
In this regards, Presidency source said that President Buhari would visit the South East, on the invitation of the APC leaders from the zone in April or May 2017. By then, it was gathered, major work would have been done on federal expressways, which APC leaders reckoned would engender Buhari more to Igbo than coming to a summit, where Obasanjo played a major role.
The South East leaders reasoned that it will be insensitive for President Buhari to visit South East during the Christmas season, when Igbo are travelling to the villages.
President Buhari was said to have listened to voice of reason and heeded the advice not to attend the economic summit.
Presidency source said that following the advice, President Buhari wants to ensure that infrastructure rehabilitation is made top priority in the South East, especially since some Igbo leaders say they would join APC if perceived marginalisation is addressed.