Ohanaeze Ndigbo condemns northern leaders for opposing Faan's relocation to Lagos

PAN-cultural Igbo group Ohanaeze Ndigbo has backed President Bola Tinubu’s planned relocation of the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria (Faan) and a department in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to Lagos saying it was justified.


Last month, the federal government announced the relocation of the Faan headquarters and some departments of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to Lagos from Abuja. Both redeployments were designed to save costs and improve efficiency but groups like the Northern Elders Forum, have cried foul, saying the moves would under-develop northern Nigeria.


Also condemning the development, the chief whip of the senate, Senator Ali Ndume, said the move by President Tinubu was influenced by political cartels within government. Prior to Senator Ndume's reaction, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) had condemned the relocation of the two government agencies, while the Northern Senators Forum (NSF) threatened legal action against the federal government if the relocations were not reversed.


However, Ohanaeze's secretary-general Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, said the organisation expressed  profound concern over the glaring silence exhibited by the northern governors in response to the relentless and malicious media attacks orchestrated by certain northern groups and political leaders. So far, the Northern States Governors Forum has kept mum on the development and none of the governors have spoken on the matter.


Mazi Isiguzoro said: “It is indeed both surprising and disheartening to witness the Northern States Governors Forum remaining silent in the face of these unwarranted campaigns aimed at denigrating the commendable intentions of the federal government to relocate certain offices to Lagos. This has led us to strongly suspect that some northern governors may have surreptitiously provided unwarranted financial backing to socio-cultural bodies, political and opinion leaders.


"These include bodies such as the ACF, the Northern Elders Forum, the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) and the NSF. It appears that have the audacious goal of obstructing and opposing President Tinubu’s praiseworthy policies and intentions to relocate some departments of the Faan and the CBN to Lagos."


According to Ohanaeze, unless the northern governors chose to align themselves with the commendable stance displayed by vice president Kashim Shettima, who openly condemned the northern opposition the confidential information that alleged their support to resist the relocation would undoubtedly gain credence in the eyes of both Ndigbo and Nigerians at large. Ohanaeze emphatically underlined the pressing need for the northern groups to fully recognise that President Tinubu is ardently emulating the footsteps of President Buhari, who boldly relocated the military headquarters to Maiduguri from Abuja


Mazi Isiguzoro added: “Regrettably, we are compelled to believe that some northern governors are clandestinely financing these leaders, solely motivated by their interests and the desires of a privileged group, rather than being concerned about the welfare of the impoverished northern populace. Ohanaeze Ndigbo vehemently reproaches the northern leaders for their deafening silence when former President Buhari relocated the military headquarters from Abuja to Maiduguri in the same manner.


"It is an act of sheer wickedness and an unpatriotic display for northern leaders to either feign ignorance or willingly turn a blind eye to these well-documented historical facts, especially when their son, former President Buhari, moved the military headquarters from Abuja to Maiduguri during his inaugural speech on May 29, 2015.".


Ohanaeze also appealed to President Tinubu to carefully consider and decisively approve the relocation of significant federal ministries, including petroleum, trade and investment, commerce and industry, and transportation, to the old Eastern Region.