Olusegun Obasanjo Talks About ‘igbophobia’

Olusegun Obasanjo Talks About ‘igbophobia’

Olusegun Obasanjo, a former president of Nigeria, has denounced what he calls “Igbophobia” and the “persistent” dislike certain Nigerians have towards the Igbo people.

Soludo oversaw the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from 1999 to 2007 when Okonjo-Iweala, the current director general of the World Trade Organization, served as the country’s finance minister.

On March 25, during a celebration in Anambra State honoring Governor Chukwuma Soludo’s first year in office, Obasanjo said that Soludo, who had been a close economic advisor to him, “never misadvised me,” and that he had impressed him so much that he had been asked to head the apex bank.

He said Soludo was the second Nigerian CBN governor who was not a commercial banker.

Obasanjo said after appointing Okonjo Iweala, he soon found himself being confronted by a dissenting voice.

“Somebody came to me and said, ‘Wow! You have ruined the economy of Nigeria.’ I said, ‘How?’ He said, ‘An Igbo woman, Minister of Finance; an Igbo man, Governor of the Central Bank? Then you have clearly completed the task of ruining the economy of Nigeria.’

“I don’t know why he said that, except for what I can call Igbophobia, and I don’t take that lightly. It remains, it persists. But when you have that type of thing that was said to me and the type of thing that you know is going on, as I have just called it, what do we do with it?

“I believe we have to go back to the scripture, which says we must conquer evil with good. And whoever you are, wherever people are afraid of you, you must make yourself friendly to those who are afraid of you and earn their friendship by being good to them, and that is what we have to do,” Obasanjo said.

He added that the appointments of Okonjo-Iweala and Soludo were “probably the best of the appointments that I made when I was president”.

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