Adams Oshiomhole, former Edo governor, says President Muhammadu Buhari’s request to the World Bank for humanitarian assistance in the north-east has been twisted to achieve a political goal.
The president had came under criticism after Kim Jong, World Bank president, said he made the request during a meeting in 2015.
Reacting to the outcry that emanated from Jong’s disclosure, Oshiomhole said Buhari is a patriotic Nigerian who only sought the intervention because of the scale of the humanitarian crisis in the north-east.
The ex-governor said he was present at the meeting, and explained in a statement the rationale behind the request.
“It is a matter of fact that I was present at the meeting of President Muhammadu Buhari with the World Bank President Dr. Kim Jong on July 21, 2015 at the Blair House, Washington DC,” Oshiomhole’s statement read.
“It is rather unfortunate that a patriotic request made by Mr. President and borne out of altruistic motivation is now being twisted, manipulated and politicised to suit certain political end.
“Mr. President made the request against the backdrop of the devastation of the Northeast zone and the need for international organisations to rise in support of the efforts of the Nigeria government in arresting the humanitarian crisis in that part of the country.
“The inhuman conditions of the Internally Displaced Persons were also discussed and Mr. President urged the World Bank to look into the best possible ways to address the crisis before it got out of hand.
“In Edo State at that period, the government I headed was also buffeted with the challenge of dealing with internally displaced persons who came to settle in the outskirt of Benin City without the knowledge of the state government.
“It took my personal intervention and the cooperation of Mr. President before we could offer our logistic assistance to make their location habitable to avert any humanitarian crisis.
“For those who are familiar with the devastation of the North-East, where over 20,000 persons have reportedly been killed with over two million internally displaced persons, it smacks of political notoriety for any rational mind to question the request of Mr. President.
“President Buhari remains a statesman, who is not only patriotic and altruistic in his intentions, but one whose actions speak volume for our unity of purpose.
“We should see the country as one indivisible entity driven by common objectives and goals.”