The President of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim, said on Thursday that the reason why the bank had concentrated development efforts on the northern region of Nigeria was in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s request.
At a press conference in Washington DC, United States, Kim said, “You know, in my very first meeting with President Buhari he said specifically that he would like us to shift our focus to the northern region of Nigeria and we’ve done that.”
Kim was also quoted as saying: “Focusing on the northern part of Nigeria, we hope that as commodity prices stabilise and oil prices come back up, the economy will grow a bit more. But very, very much important is the need to focus on what the drivers of growth in the future will be.”
TheCable reports that Kim was in Nigeria for three days in April 2016 during which he met with Buhari, but a ThisDay report of April 26, 2016 said that clarification provided by the Communications Consultant to the Bank, Camilla Perez, indicated that Kim was not travelling to Nigeria as “erroneously reported”.
The following month, on the first week of May, Daily Trust reported that Buhari was to attend an international anti-corruption summit in London, and was scheduled to speak at the opening session alongside then British Prime Minister Cameron and the President of the World Bank, Dr. Jim Yong Kim.
Buhari has been frequently accused of promoting northern interests since he came to office in 2015, and this is believed to be a major trigger for the Biafra agitation and calls for restructuring in southern Nigeria, reports TheCable.
Nearly two months after Buhari was sworn in as president in May 2015, while answering a question on inclusive government at the United States Institute of Peace, USIP, on July 22, he said “I hope you have a copy of the election results. 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%.” The north voted massively for Buhari in 2015.
He would follow this up with a lopsided appointment of Nigeria’s security chiefs. All the country’s current security chiefs, minus two, are from Buhari’s side of the country, the northern part of Nigeria. Also, all the political-heads overseeing and supervising all the military and paramilitary arms and agencies are also from the north. They were all assigned this lopsided appointment by Buhari; the first time such a thing has happened in Nigeria’s history.
“Recently there were appointments made into the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC that drew the ire of opinion leaders in the south. Out of the 15 appointments made, 10 were from the north (comprised mostly of Buhari’s ethnic group); three were Yoruba’s from the southwest and the last two from the South-south”, according to a Discussing Africa analysis.