The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, was booed while trying to defend President Muhammadu Buhari’s appointments at a town hall meeting organised by the Federal Government for the South-East in Enugu on Monday.
Shouts of ‘No! No!’ were heard in the hall as he attempted to justify the appointments, which are believed by many to favour North.
The South-East is seen as the most marginalised zone in the appointments, so far.
Ngige was responding to criticism of Buhari’s failure to appoint an Igbo as one of the service chiefs at the town hall meeting when he was booed.
South-East stakeholders at the event included leaders of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, traditional rulers, members of the National Assembly, and some current and former political office holders, among others.
Ngige, responding to demands for the implementation recommendations of the last constitutional conference, said new states could not be created without the involvement of the National Assembly.
“If you want to amend the Constitution or to create more states you must pass through the National Assembly,” he said.
The minister, a former governor of Anambra State, and erstwhile member of the Senate, said the Igbos must strategise on how best to survive and thrive in Nigeria.
“We (the Igbo) have to put on our thinking cap – we don’t have to cry and wallow in self-pity,” he said, noting that Nigeria is a federation where all the federating units must relate with each other.
“If tomorrow President Muhammadu Buhari says ‘I want to do a constitutional conference’, I can assure you that whatever you lobby and get in the conference will be implemented to the letter,” Ngige added.