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PARIS, DECEMBER 12, 2016: (DGW) THE Minister of Labour,  Dr Chris Ngige, has descended heavily on Ohaneze Ndigbo and other critics that President Buhari was marginalizing the Igbos and excluding them from his administration in terms of appointments.
He also faulted the position of those asking the president to change his economic team for their inability to pull the country out of recession describing them as job seekers who lost out in the past ministerial appointments.
He stated this while addressing journalists at this year’s annual convention and graduation ceremony of skill acquisition students of Bina Foundation, funded by Sir Chris Atuegwu, and his wife, Lady Ifeoma Atuegwu.
Contrary to the claim, according to Ngige, the Ndigbo were being excluded from Buhari's administration, judging by his antecedents, no one loves Ndigbo more than Buhari.
He warned Ndigbo not to make Igbos suffer by provoking Buhari and desist henceforth from playing politics of  alienation, embrace fellow Nigerians from any part of the country in the interest of national unity.
Ngige said: “I am sure the statement did not emanate from Ohanaeze. It is the personal opinion of the Secretary General, Dr Joe Nwaorgu, my friend. Ohanaeze has a means of expressing its views in a statement by the president general. But such a statement must emanate from Imeobi (inner caucus).
“When you go to President Buhari’s antecedents, you see his love for the Igbo. His brigade commander was an Igbo man. After the war, he did not kill prisoners of war (POWs). He brought back his classmates, J. C. Ojukwu, and the other man from Ojoto in Anambra State. He is a good man. He keeps to himself. He is disciplined in office.
“He doesn’t drink; he doesn’t smoke. He is a man who does any work efficiently. He has Igbo friends. It is wrong to say that Igbo did not vote for him in 2015. There was no voting across Igbo land. It was vote allocation.
“I don’t want to join issues with him (Nwaorgu). I have held various positions in Ohanaeze before him. I championed Aka Ikenga. His ‘Igboness’ is not stronger than mine. It is still early. We should stop crying over spilt milk.
“We got 20 pounds after the war. We should leverage on our prosperity, industrial spirit, ingenuity and propensity for work to forge ahead. We need the political fitness and diplomacy; we will not be left behind. 

“Former Vice-President Alex Ekwueme has done a lot in successive constitutional conferences on zoning structure and regional cooperation. I have always espoused that at Aka Ikenga. We do it and the rest shall be added unto us.”

Ngige reassured the Ndigbo that the plan for a rotational presidency has not been discarded but sued for patience to enable it get to their turn by avoiding playing politics of alienation.

Defending Buhari further, the  said that Nigeria was already neck deep in recession long before the Buhari's administration commenced but no one noticed it because of the huge foreign reserves  accumulated by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Ngige said: “Under the previous administration, the oil price was about $115 per barrel and the country exhausted its 2.2 million barrels daily quota of crude oil export. But when this government came, the price of oil dropped to  $30 per barrel. It later came to $50 per barrel. But because of activities of those blowing up oil pipelines in Niger Delta, we could not export our daily quota of 2.2 million barrels. We are now exporting about 1.2 million barrels.
“Nigeria is a mono-cultural economy. Oil provides about 95 per cent of our revenue. So, you can see that under this administration, our revenue reduced drastically because of the slump in oil prices and activities of those blowing up pipeline. Now, you find a situation where supply of money cannot meet demand. This is elementary economics. When supply cannot meet demand, there is disequilibrium. You can see the slide.
“So, nobody should blame the Economic Team. If you bring new people, they will see the same circumstances.
“On the other hand, if you look at members of the economic team, Udo Udoma, minister of Budget, is eminently qualified. Being a former special adviser to a minister of Petroleum, he knows about the crude oil business that basically provides our earnings. He was Senate committee chairman on Appropriation.
“The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, is a banker but she has a degree in Economics. What else are they looking for? Of course, the Vice-President heads the Economic Team. He is a lawyer, but he heads it by virtue of his office as Vice-President.
“As Vice-President under President Goodluck Jonathan, Namadi Sambo headed the Economic Team. He is not an economist. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar headed an Economic Team; he is not an economist. It is those who lost out in ministerial appointments propelling this call to change the Economic Team and their friends in the media are echoing it.”
The minister wondered why Nigeria should squander billions of naira on importation of foreign rice from Indonesia, for instance.
On Federal Government’s plan to borrow $30 billion, he said: “We are in a recession in Nigeria and unnatural happenings beget unnatural solutions.

“China is embracing us economically. We need cheap loans. Investors from China are coming with projects, offering Nigeria projects that they can do with counterpart funding. We bring 20 per cent, they bring 80 per cent. Through this way, we will come out of recession.”

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