BY EJIKEME OMENAZU, LAGOS
Chief Ochi Ode Emmanuel, Chairman of the Middle Belt Traditional Council (MBTC), has urged politicians in the region to eschew bitterness and shun selfish interests to ensure the growth and development of their states and people.
He said that the aspiring leaders should realise that the Middle Belt people had become an endangered species in the Nigerian project and work for the unity of all the nationalities to address the challenges facing them presently.
Emmanuel, who spoke to DAILY INDEPENDENT, maintained that as the nation was moving towards another election year, the Middle Belt people should not focus on political parties, but should emphasise on credible individuals that had the capacity to harness the resources in the area for the benefit of all.
He said: “We should be talking of credible individuals, rather than parties. We have in the past been living on fallacies. That is why parties come and foist their loyalists whose duty had been to serve the interest of the gladiators, rather than the interest of the region. That has been the bane of underdevelopment in the region.
“My advice is for the region to focus on people of impeccable character, who will serve the people, rather than the selected few.”
According to him, the current political leaders in the region should know that whatever they do, or failed to do, posterity would judge them, stressing that no one can escape the verdict of history.
He also lamented the effect of the herdsmen attacks on the region, especially the killings of farmers, even as he raised an alarm that the development would lead to famine in the country.
Emmanuel maintained that farmers no longer go to farm for fear of their lives, lamenting that most of them now live in Internally Displaced People’s (IDP) camps as refugees.
He called on the Federal Government to find solution to the herdsmen killings, not only to protect lives and property, but also to ensure that its agricultural policy was realised.