By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
Igbo sociopolitical association, the South East Revival Group (SERG) has vowed to petition the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged roles some Igbo leaders, who served the country during the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan administrations, including elected representatives of the zone at the National Assembly, played in contract awards and execution within the period.
SERG then advised Igbos not to put the blame of the poor federal roads and dilapidated federal infrastructures or its absence in the south east on President Muhammadu Buhari administration, “rather we should look inwards and ask questions.”
The group made this known in a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday by its National Coordinator, Chief Willy Ezugwu, saying that it is particularly worried about the closure of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport for repairs without any work done, weeks after it was shut down.
“Many of our sons and daughters who represented the South East on the cabinets of late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and former President Goodluck Jonathan and our elected representatives from 2007 to 2015, who were positioned to change the underdevelopment fortunes of the South East never lived up to expectations of the people.
“They saw the opportunity to serve as a means to an end and chose to serve their pockets rather than the people of the zone.
“For instance, the closure of the only International airport in the south east for repairs, even without budgetary allocation as reported in the media, cannot be blamed on President Muhammadu Buhari.
“If our sons and daughters, who supervised the shoddy execution the upgrade of the Enugu airport to international airport were not compromised and ensured standards were met, the federal government would not have had any reason to close the airport.
“Yes, we are worried that the airport was closed since August 24 and actual repair work of its runway and general rehabilitation is yet to commence. Yes, we kick because of the very terrible state of federal roads in the entire South East. But, in all honesty, President Buhari cannot be blamed for our squandered opportunity to develop our region.
“It is instructive to note that in the case of the poor execution of the upgrade of the Enugu airport to international airport, the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation Ayim Pius Anyim, former Ministers of Aviation Mrs. Fidelia Njeze, Stella Odua and Osita Chidoka, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekwerenmadu, former Deputy Speaker House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha and Senator Hope Uzodimma, who was Senate Committee Chairman on Aviation that had oversight responsibility at the time, to mention but a few, were in government.
“They failed to use the opportunity they had to ensure development of south east because some of them had interests that clearly undermined the development of our region.
“We totally agree with the chairman House Committee on Aviation, Hon. Nnolim Nnaji that if the Enugu Airport runway collapsed under six years to warrant repairs, some people, including the contactors, should have explanations to give to Nigerians, because as he rightly observed, a standard runway should have a lifespan of thirty years.
“To ensure explanations are given, we are compiling roles every appointed or elected representative from south east played in numerous contracts, including the runway and roads, that led to the underdevelopment of our region, and we will be forwarding same to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for appropriate action”, the group vowed.