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Ezekwesili defends Buhari: “World Bank’s focus on North East not unusual”

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Ezekwesili defends Buhari: “World Bank’s focus on North East not unusual”

A former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, has weighed in on the controversy trailing the statement by the President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, that President Muhammadu Buhari asked the bank to focus its developmental efforts in Nigeria on the Northern part of the country.

Not unusual: Ezekwesili, who is a former Vice President of the World Bank, in a series of tweets via her Twitter handle (@obyezeks), said that it is the practice of the bank to focus its developmental efforts on post-conflict zones in any country. And since North-eastern Nigeria had suffered lots of infrastructural damage due to the activities of terrorist sect, Boko Haram, it “makes sense.”

Countries that have received such priority: Ezekwesili cited instances of Northern Uganda, Northern Central African Republic, Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo as areas in different African countries which received prioritisation by the World Bank after years of conflict in those areas.

“As the destabilization in the North East worsened Human Development Indicators in North East Nigeria, our country sadly joined that List. Our Africa Strategy when I became VP of @WorldBank 48 countries including Nigeria prioritized quick reconstruction of post conflict areas. In ALL the cases of countries like CAR, DRC, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Guinea (both Bissau & Conakry) this was the approach. At time they met in 2015, serious work&discussions already took place among Development Partners on how best to help stabilize North East,” she said.

Why the World Bank does this: According to Ezekwesili, paying special attention to post conflict zones impacts positively on the rebuilding of the region as well as the growth of other regions in the country.

“The Evidence-Based justification for prioritizing Post-Conflict reconstruction is that it helps build resilience & prevents a relapse. Prioritizing reconstruction of post-conflict zone in any of those countries factually proved to be key for rest of country growth& stability!

“The benefit of becoming a priority is that our knowledge program ( economic & social studies) &sizable portion of Loan will target the area. It however does not mean that the rest of such country becomes neglected in the Knowledge & Lending Programs of the Bank. NOT AT ALL,” she added.

Buhari shares some of the blame: While pleading that the discussion between the Buhari and Kim should not be politicised, Ezekwesili blamed President Buhari’s poor handling of delicate issues in the past for the uproar generated by this revelation.

“The current brouhaha is of course triggered by CONTEXT of EXISTING TENSIONS occasioned by our President’s POOR MANAGEMENT of OUR DIVERSITY,” Ezekwesili said.

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