Some leaders in the South-South geo-political zone have berated President Muhammadu Buhari over his “dot in the circle” statement and his claim that some South-South leaders assured him they wouldn’t let the Igbos access the sea.
Ripples Nigeria reported that Buhari had in an interview on Arise Television, said the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) whom he referred to as the Igbo ethnic group are like “a dot in the circle”.
He had alleged that South-South leaders comprising the youths and elders had distanced themselves from any alignment with the South-Easterners, and had promised to block people of the region from accessing their waterways.
However, notable South-South leaders such as Annkio Briggs, Dr. Don Pedro Obaseki, Tony Nnadi, Col. Tony Nyiam (rtd), and Rear Admiral Geoffrey Yanga (rtd), jointly decried the statement at a virtual conference organised by Njenje Media TV titled: “Addressing ‘The dot in the circle’ in Buhari’s interview, A return to 1966?”
The leaders, in the Zoom conference anchored by Maazi Tochukwu Ezeoke, bemoaned what they termed “the divide and rule” tactics of President Buhari, saying it was a ploy to cause disaffection between the South-East and their South-South siblings.
In her submission, Briggs noted that it was offensive for the President to refer to a people that have an identity as ‘a dot in the circle’.
Commenting on Buhari’s claim that some South-South leaders assured him that they would not align with the Igbos, she said: “First of all, I don’t even recall any access or non-access to the sea during the onslaught of the Civil War.
“It was the Federal Government that came through the sea and the creeks. There are millions of elders and there are millions of youths in the Niger Delta, and there are ethnic nationalities in the Niger Delta that make up the South-South.”
She maintained that those who gave Buhari assurance do not represent the region, and therefore, spoke to give him pleasure because he (Buhari) is attempting to divide and rule both the South-South and the Southeast.
Furthermore, she said IPOB and the Igbo people are not the same, affirming that the ties between the Niger Delta and the Igbo remain ever strong.
On his part, former Managing Director of DAAR Communications PLC, Dr. Don Pedro Obaseki, said the South-South and the Southeast are united in the struggle for survival against the existential threat of the Buhari-led administration.
“The President himself has posed himself as an existential threat to the Nigerian nation and ethnic nationalities that populate the space.
“There are 65 ethnic nationalities as defined by some of our leaders in the entire South-South and the man comes on public television and says he speaks to two elders, and some youths. It is laughable,” he stated.