Alex Azubuike is the Director-General of the Senator Ifeanyi Arararume Campaign Organisation in the Diaspora. He speaks on the just concluded elections in Nigeria.
Nigerians in the Diaspora, especially South Africa are accused of engaging in illegal ventures which has negatively affected the country’s image, what effort are you making for Nigerians in South Africa to be good ambassadors?
I’m opportune as Director-General, Senator Ifeanyi Ararume Campaign Organisation in Diaspora based in South Africa to lead over 5million Nigerians in South Africa and over 500, 000 of them are from Imo State. When Arararume and governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Imo State in the just concluded governorship came to South Africa to seek our support, I decided to help him mobilise Imo indigenes there to support his ambition. I came back with 100 able men and women who are leaders in their in various local government areas in Imo to support him. Back to your question, South Africa is a good country and her citizens are accommodating. But the impression has been that majority of Nigerians who reside in South Africa engage in illegal businesses, which is not true. There is no country in the world without bad elements, but most Nigerians in South Africa are into legitimate businesses except for few. Anybody who engages in illegal business in another country that is the person’s cup of tea because every country has a constitution and foreigners are expected to obey the laws of their host nation. So, I always advise Nigerians in Diaspora, especially in South Africa to be law abiding and worthy ambassadors.
What inspired you to go into politics?
That is a sensitive question, as a political scientist I was inspired to go into politics by late Nigeria’s Senate President, Dr. Chuba Okadigbo. I was given the name ‘Okadigbo’ by my teacher when I was in JSS 3 because I used to answer correctly political related questions. So my teacher then nick named me Okadigbo. It was when I got into the Abia State University to study Public Administration and Political Science that I learnt more about Dr. Okadigbo and his contributions to Nigeria’s political history. So he inspired me. I was also inspired by people like Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela and Barrack Obama. That was how I started a movement known as Okadigbo Foundation which is my political platform
I started the struggle to liberate my people at a tender age. The first time I contested election was in 1999 when I vied for the position of councilor. The struggle continued in 2014 when I contested for the state House of Assembly on the platform of APGA and I was defeated by the present Speaker of Imo State House of Assembly, Acho Ihim.
APGA which used to have a strong presence in the South East appears to be falling apart in the zone. What would you say is the cause?
Nothing can cause a moving vehicle to stop unless the driver is careless or the car does not have break or fuel. What is a political party? It is an association of individuals with similar political opinion or ideas whose aim is to control the affairs of government. When you have all these on your table, you can be said to be a good party man. Unfortunately, the national leadership of APGA after the demise of Dim Ojukwu messed the party up because of their selfish interests. They are self-centered. For instance, when you see a new car and a painted one or a Tokumbo, they are not the same. So, they deceived themselves by using Tokumbo cars to run the affairs of the party, people who are outdated, people that are not known, but claim to be leaders. These so-called leaders who failed elections in their polling units because they could not empower people in their constituency, especially youths are in charge of APGA in the zone. If you put them as items, nobody will price them because they are bad market. Let me drive home my point by quoting Shakespeare, he said ‘no one can work well without being a professional’. What is killing APGA today is that those at helms of affair do not understand administration. They are running the party as unskilled people in the art of politics. Imagine, the widow of the grand mentor, Binaca Ojukwu could not be issued the party’s ticket to run for election in a party her husband formed?
What is your take on the outcome of the presidential election?
Yes, Nigerians have spoken that President Buhari deserved a second term in office. As a political scientist, in theories of political science, there is rigging and rigging is part of election. I’m not saying Buhari rigged, but I’m responding to allegations by PDP that APC rigged President Buhari into power. To me, both parties rigged, but APC out rigged PDP that is why the opposition is protesting the result of the presidential election. If PDP had out rigged APC, the ruling party would have complained. It is only God that chooses leaders and God have chosen Buhari and there is nothing anybody can do about that. My advice to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is to withdraw his suit against Buhari and join hand with the president to move Nigeria forward.
Atiku said he is a democrat and I see him as a true democrat, but going to court to challenge the result is not an attribute of a true democrat. Abraham Lincoln started politics in 1830, he failed in business, he failed in congress, he lost his wife and some of his children, but he later became American President in 1886. So, Atiku can try again and if God say he will be the president, he will be.
If you say Atiku should take another shot at the presidency in 2023, what is the fate of Igbo?
That question is left for Igbo to answer because I don’t know if they factored in this when they voted massively for the PDP presidential candidate. If you ask me, I will say that Igbo should be given a chance in 2023. In one of Chinua Achebe’s, book ‘There was a country’ he said the people accused Igbo of destroying Nigeria because the first coup was led by an Igbo man. Achebe said that the people that will fix Nigeria are the Igbo and I believe him. Since January 15, 1970 when Philip Effiong surrendered Biafra to Gowon every Igbo person have been surviving without the support of the Nigerian government and that did not stop Igbo from being ahead of other regions in terms of commerce and industry. The rate of illiteracy is higher in the North than in the South-East. Igbo have competent and cable people that can fix Nigeria and make it work again. The fear by others is that if an Igbo man becomes the president he will divide Nigeria, but I make bold to say it is not true because our investments are outside Igbo land.