From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
His Royal Majesty (HRM), Dr. Edidem King, is the President, South- South Chiefs Council and the Edidem Obong of Akwa Ibom, Abuja. He is a front line community leader and vocal Niger Delta traditional ruler. In this interview, he proffers solution to the agitations in the country.
Congratulations on the recent recognition by the National Women Council of the Ansar-Ud-Deen Muslim society, Abuja branch. What does the award mean to you?
It is amazing and a thing of joy, not to me alone or my immediate family but to my entire Kingdom. It was also a show of recognition by Allah using fellow human beings. So, I was not surprised when I was informed of the recognition award. I am a great contributor, financially and otherwise, to the course of Islam. It is not as if I contribute the highest or largest but because Allah wanted it to be so. I congratulate the Abuja branch of Ansar-ud-deen women society on their 21st anniversary. I pray that Almighty Allah honour them and their entire households. I am a dedicated Muslim from Akwa Ibom state. I follow the footsteps of the Holy prophet Mohammed to the best of my understanding. I might not be 100 percent, being a human, but I try as much as I could to be the light that other fellow Muslims would emulate for them to have a peaceful relationship with their maker.
President Muhammadu Buhari has been away for months and there was a recent rumours of plot to frustrate or possibly limit the executive powers of acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo. What is your take on that?
Yes I am very much aware of that but I must warn those involved in such wicked political mathematics to refrain from such plot for the sake of peace and development of Nigeria or attract the wrath of Allah. They should not be clog in the wheel of political and economic progress of Nigeria. President Buhari is sick and currently in London hospital receiving treatment. He is a human being and no human with flesh and blood is immune to sickness.
However, people have been saying all manner of things against the ailing President. Some even wish him dead but little do they know that they might equally incur the wrath of the Almighty Allah. Nigerians, irrespective of faith or political affiliation should pray fervently for the quick healing and return of the President so he could continue to sanitize and deliver promises he and his All Progressives Congress (APC) political party promised Nigerians during the 2015 general elections. Before he travelled, he transmitted power to the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo through a letter to the National Assembly. This was in line with relevant sections of the Nigerian constitution but even at that people still criticize the absence of the President even when the Acting President has done excellently well since the President travelled. He needs our support and encouragement. He has managed to keep the country together despite the enormous challenges. He has sustained the fragile peace in the Niger Delta region, stabilized the economy and has been implementing the 2017 budget among several other things. He should worry less because the entire Niger Delta region is in support of steps he has taken so far to maintain peace in Nigeria.
Some Nigerians have been complaining of ‘cabals’ in government, the President’s wife also complained. What’s your take?
The President’s wife was fed up with the activities of these people and had to speak out for the world to hear. But these guys have gained more strength with the absence of the President due to ill health. But I am optimistic that they would be disgraced out of the presidential villa very shortly. Some of them are close friends of the president but are secretly sabotaging him. Others have also taken the advantage to begin political calculation ahead of 2019 general elections. I suggest that they be careful because Nigeria democracy has grown from what it used to be few years ago and people have taken more interest in political leadership amidst increased political sensitization. There is no doubt that the economic recession has negatively affected the quality and standard of life of Nigerians but all we need is little patience and understanding, while we also adjust our way of life to suit the present economic and social condition in Nigeria.
There have been wide agitations for restructuring even as IPOB have insisted on the realisation of Biafra. Where does Niger Delta region belong in these agitations?
Our position is simple. We belong to the group that supports restructuring of the Nigerian political and economic system. We can never support secession as being demanded by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). There is no doubt that the current economic and political structure of Nigeria will take us nowhere near development.
However, government should apply wisdom in handling the issue of the Biafra agitation. Social justice is one key way to doing that. All Nigerians irrespective of political, religion and ethnic differences should enjoy equal right, opportunity and common wealth of Nigeria and not the other way round. That is the key to achieving sustainable peace and development in Nigeria. Also, members of the National Assembly should dust up the 2014 National Conference because it contains great ideas and suggestions that, if implemented would guarantee social justice, fair and equal opportunity for all Nigerians. That is the only solution to these agitations and perceived marginalisation which is fast spreading like cancer.