In a surprise move earlier today, a political group from the Middle Belt accused President Goodluck Jonathan of being a deceitful leader who fails to reward loyalty but instead snubs his support base in matters of political appointments. The scathing criticism came from unexpected quarters: the Middle Belt that is regarded as the president’s strongest support base in Northern Nigeria.
In a memo, a group called the Middle Belt Dialogue accused the president of retreating from his earlier nomination of General Bitrus Ushe (rtd) as a ministerial nominee from Kebbi State. The group alleged that Mr. Jonathan abandoned the retired general because of the erstwhile nominee’s Christian faith. The statement added that the president was desperate to please certain interest groups in the north. SaharaReporters obtained a copy of the memo, which was sent to Mr. Jonathan and his top aides.
Titled “Under President Goodluck Jonathan Loyalty Does Not Pay,” the memo was signed by one Emma Endazo Alamu on behalf of the pressure group. The memo flayed the president for shoving aside Mr. Ushe after initially tapping the retired general for a ministerial slot.
The full statement is reproduced below:
“We received with shock and dismay the nomination of Kabiru Tanimu Turaki (SAN), as a ministerial nominee representing Kebbi State by President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan. It is interesting to note that President Goodluck Jonathan has gone out of his way to placate those who vigorously, albeit violently, opposed his election as President of the Federal Republic, and promised to make the country ungovernable, should he win the 2011 elections.
This time, the President has gone ahead to nominate the 2011 Governorship candidate of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Kebbi as the ministerial nominee in place of the initial Zuru-Christian nominee, Brigadier General Bitrus Ushe (rtd) whose only crime is his tribe and religion. This President has acted against the Zuru Senatorial District which voted for him. Indeed the bulk of the 369,198 votes the President got in the 2011 elections were from Zuru area. After his swearing in ceremony President Goodluck Jonathan had nominated the then National Chairman of the PDP, Dr. Haliru Bello and the people of Zuru did not bat an eyelid, and upon Dr. Haliru’s resignation, Brig. Gen. Bitrus Usher was considered as a possible replacement. When this became public knowledge, the Chairman of the PDP in Kebbi State, Alhaji Mansur Shehu, objected to the possible nomination saying that General Ushe was not acceptable to the party because they (in the PDP) did not know him as bona fide PDP member, in spite of the fact that it is public knowledge that the General is a card carrying member of the PDP and actively worked to ensure that President Jonathan got the 36% of the votes he got during the April 2011 elections.
“It is now clear that President Jonathan denied General Ushe, his supporter, the ministerial nomination because he is a Middle Belter, a Dakarkar by tribe and to wit, a Christian!
The only sin of the Zuru people, we believe, is that they are a minority like their brothers and sisters in Gombe, Yobe, Niger, Adamawa, Bauchi, Kaduna, Borno, Kogi etc, whose support and vote for President Goodluck Jonathan has been rewarded by the denial of political appointments, which he prefers to give to the areas and peoples who voted against him, and organized violent attacks on his supporters, killing and maiming several thousands and destroying their properties to wit.
“We are not really surprised by these unfriendly actions of the President, who has refused to give assistance to the communities traumatized by the post-election violence, and did not even bother to send relief materials to the communities or even visit them. Even when the President set up a committee to investigate the post-election violence (the Lemu Committee) he ensured that we, the minorities, the victims of the violence, were not represented.
“It is interesting to note that out of the 22 Ministers of President Goodluck Jonathan from the North, only five are from local government areas which voted for the PDP in the 2011 elections. We in the Middle Belt Dialogue do know of several ministers and other Federal appointees who did actively campaign against him, voted against him and have refused to be supportive of him, and are in fact gearing to do the same come 2015, should he decide to contest. We, the people of the Middle Belt, feel betrayed by our fellow brother, who has refused to give us justice, and as a matter of fact, treats our people with contempt.
“It might interest President Jonathan and his advisers to note the following:
I. The people and interests he is promoting will not change their opposition to him;
II. He is strengthening and arming those who do not wish him and his people well;
III. Statistically, and as can be seen from the 2011 election results, it is politically suicidal to treat the Middle Belt people (the aborigines of Northern Nigeria) with contempt: where we stand will again determine the winners and losers of subsequent Nigerian elections.
IV. We supported the President to further our interests and not to weaken our people as the President has been doing.
V. All over the world, people give support to benefit from appointments, projects, policies and programs. For President Jonathan, favor and appointments go to those who oppose him. Is President Jonathan telling us the people of the Middle Belt to go to the opposition, as it pays high dividend opposing the President?
“Finally we wish to use this medium to advise our Niger Delta brothers that they should talk to their son to stop treating our people with such disdain and contempt. We are not asking for what belongs to other people. We are seeking for fairness and equity which President Jonathan is denying our people, his loyal supporters.”