Obasanjo condemns ‘Igbophobia’, says Nigerians should conquer evil with good


Former president Olusegun Obasanjo has condemned the anti-Igbo sentiments in Nigeria, which he called “Igbophobia”.


Obasanjo spoke at an event in Anambra to commemorate Chukwuma Soludo’s one year in office as the governor of the state, on Saturday.


Obasanjo said when he was president, Soludo was on his team as his economic adviser and they worked well together.


The former president said he was so happy with Soludo’s performance that he decided to send him to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) where he performed “so wonderfully well”.


However, he said after he appointed Soludo and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the finance minister then, someone told him he had made a terrible mistake by appointing Igbo to handle those positions.


“On one occasion, soon after I appointed him, somebody came to me and said wow, you have ruined the economy of Nigeria. I said how? He said an Igbo woman, minister of finance; an Igbo man, governor of Central Bank, then you have clearly completed the task of ruining the economy of Nigeria,” Obasanjo said.


“I don’t know why he said that, except for what I can call Igbophobia, and I don’t take that lightly. It remains, it persists.


 “But when you have that type of thing that was said to me and the type of thing that you know is going on, as I have just called it, what do we do with it?


“I believe we have to go back to the scripture, which says we must conquer evil with good. And whoever you are, wherever people are afraid of you, you must make yourself friendly to those who are afraid of you and earn their friendship by being good to them, and that is what we have to do.


“I have personally experienced that and nothing wins friendship like you being friendly.”


He said the appointment of Soludo and Iweala was probably the best of the appointments he made when he was president.


 “Chukwuma was a good economist and he turned out to be a good CBN governor because CBN is not like a commercial bank but a bank for development,” Obasanjo said.


In the buildup to the general election, there were reported cases of ethnic profiling against the Igbo in some parts of the country.


After the elections, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, the apex Igbo socio-cultural group, called on the federal government to look into the ethnic profiling of the Igbo in Lagos state.


In a statement, Alex Ogbonnia, national publicity secretary of the group, said there is a need to end atrocities against the Igbo in Lagos.


Ogbonnia urged the government to curb the humiliation the people have been subjected to since the 2023 general election began.


Ogbonnia described Ndigbo as “essentially republican and cosmopolitan in nature”, noting that despite the horrific hardship endured during the civil war, they have embraced Nigeria with open-mindedness and patriotism.

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