While answering a question from Dr. Pauline Baker, the President Emeritus of The Fund for Peace, at the United States Institute of Peace on July 22nd 2015, Nigeria’s incumbent president in response to a question about inclusive development stated that “The constituents, for example, gave me 97% [of the vote] cannot in all honesty be treated on some issues with constituencies that gave me 5%. I think these are political reality,” The statement received a lot of backlash in various sections of the media prompting presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina to respond that “People should just have been patient to listen to the entire trend. The President said it truly that people who gave him 95 per cent may get more attention in terms of reward and all that” Commenting on this, a journalist and social commentator Stanley Azuakola described the defense from the presidency as escapism; “ Even if we try to balance the full response as Adesina advises, the statement still looks bad, and with ludicrous defences like this, it looks even worse”.
Statements such as those made by the president are divisive and reinforce the thinking in certain quarters that some Nigerians are better than others because of position, political leanings, tribe and
religion. For the man at the helm of Nigeria’s affairs to utters such words, especially in front of a global audience, shows the world that Nigerians are not united in the quest for development and growth and will open up room for exploitation and abuse of Nigerian citizens by foreign powers and interests.
Last year, Nigerians, especially those from the Southeast, raised objections to Nigerian Army’s deployment of “Operation Python Dance” in Onitsha, Awka, Enugu, Owerri and other major cities in the region.
Nigerians will go to the poll in February 2019 to elect a new President, and for many, inclusive development, government that works for all Nigerians irrespective of their leanings and affiliations and a leader who shows compassion for all will be the most important qualities they will look for in a president.