The Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, has stated that he gave to the South-east four senior ministers despite their low vote for him in the 2015 elections which saw him into power.
The President made this known while trying to allay fears that he harbours a bias against the south-east.
Speaking on Thursday at a dinner for chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja, Buhari said: “There is something that hit me very hard and I am happy I hit it back at somebody. Seven states of the north are only represented in my cabinet by junior ministers, ministers of state.
“In south-east, I got 198,000 votes but I have four substantive ministers and seven junior ministers from there.
“You are closer to the people than myself now that I have been locked up here, don’t allow anybody to talk of ethnicity. It is not true.”
Buhari further noted that he enjoyed the support from people from other enthnic and religious groups while he was struggling to become the president from 2003.
He added:”There is one thing that disabused my mind in a dispassionate way about ethnicity and religion across the country. You know that tribunal for presidential election started at court of appeal. The president was my classmate. I missed only four of the court sittings.”
“For that first phase, 2003, we were in court for 30 months. My legal leader was Chief Ahamba (SAN), an Igbo man. He asked the panel of judges to direct INEC to produce the voters register to prove that the election was done underground.
“When they came to write the judgment, they completely omitted that. Another Igbo man, a Roman Catholic, in the panel of judges, wrote a minority report.
“I went to the supreme court. Who was the chief justice? An Hausa Fulani, a Muslim from Zaria. After 27 months, Ahamba presented our case for two hours and 45 minutes. The chief justice got up and said they were going on break and when they returned the following day, they will deliver the judgment. They went away for three months. That was what made it 30 months.
“And when they came back, they discussed my case within 45 minutes.
“In 2007, who was the chief justice? A Muslim from Niger state. The third one (in 2011), who was the chief justice? My neighbour from Jigawa State. The same religion and the same tribe.”