“It is one of the biggest pressure groups we have in Francophone Diaspora… all my structures are still intact and we are ready to work for Atiku and Obi”
Innocent Adimachukwu is the leader of one of the Atiku campaign groups in Benin Republic, under the auspices of Nigeria Diaspora Movement (NDM). He speaks on the state of the nation and the ability of his group to mobilise for Atiku Abubakar in 2019.
How strong is NDM in Benin Republic and other Francophone countries?
It is one of the biggest socio-political pressure groups that we have in Francophone Diaspora. You can imagine in 2015 what we did in support of former President, Goodluck Jonathan here. We came out en mass and dominate the entire Badagry Division. So far, all my structures are still intact and we are ready to work for the Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi’s victory in next year’s election.
In 2014, I was able to convey Nigerians resident here in Benin to Badagry, Seme border for registration and updating of their voter’s cards. Because of this effort, INEC has created Ward E, Badagry, to take care of these voters from the Diaspora.
Tell us why you think the Atiku/Obi ticket will fly?
There is no iota of thought about that. You are a Nigerian and you see the way people are lamenting daily about economic hardship, killings by herdsmen and absence of Federal character in government political appointments. Some of my brothers, who were in Benue State before, are now refugees here in Benin because of the ravaging Fulani herdsmen who have virtually destroyed all their means of livelihood.
Are you talking about hunger in Nigeria? Most households go hungry daily because family heads have lost their jobs. So for these three and half years, the nation has experienced downturn in its economy with devastating effect on poor Nigerians. Poor economic planning have also forced most Nigerian youths described by Mr. President as lazy to flee the country with most of them drowning in the Mediterranean Sea. In short, APC as a party has failed to deliver all its pre-election promises.
With this poor performance by the ruling party, I think PDP remains the only party that can lead Nigerians out of the woods, especially because of the calibre of the presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his running mate, Dr. Peter Obi. Both men are pan-Nigerians with the right socio-political acumen to lead the nation back to the part of economic prosperity.
When Dr. Peter Obi was announced as running mate to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, there was complain from PDP leaders in the South East. How would you describe such reaction?
We were very disappointed over such disturbing complains. When I read the reactions on the pages of the Newspapers, the questions I asked myself were: ‘When Governor Umahi chose his running mate in 2015, whom did he consult? Nigerians should ask him if he consulted the state party exco or local government chairmen or even his constituents before choosing his deputy. If he had any personal grievances with obi, he should be free to meet him and sort it out. But to bring such personal matter into the party is wrong and he should eschew rancour and join other party members to ensure that the party succeeds.
Obi’s emergence has rattled the opposition as it has thrown them into confusion. Before we had our National Convention in Port Harcourt, APC and their national Chairman were everywhere talking tough. However, since after the peaceful conduct of the exercise, with Atiku and Obi emerging as the candidate and running mate for PDP, they have kept silent. Nobody has heard any word from them. They are in complete fear and that fear would remain their camp until we reclaim what rightfully belong to us.
What does the state of the Seme-Badagry road speaks of the government of the day?
The state of the Seme-Badagry road which is the gateway to other West African countries is a monumental disgrace. Each time I pass through that road, I never cease to ask myself if there is any one in charge of this great nation. The minister of Works, who also happened to be former governor of the state since relocating to Abuja, has failed to bring the deplorable condition of the road to the attention of his principal. I am indeed ashamed each time other nationals who daily use that road describe my country, ‘Nigeria as big for nothing’. Although I heard that the Federal Government has awarded contract for the reconstruction of the road from Agbara to Seme, we hope that the project would commence immediately and be delivered on recorded time.
Do you think Atiku would keep to his promises on restructuring?
Atiku is a man of his word. Recently he declared that if restructuring is what Nigeria needs, he would ensure that they have it. You would also recall that he said if he becomes the president, he would talk to IPOB leader one-on-one on how to end the agitations and the marginalisation of the South East. This is the type of government that we want, government with listening ears, government of peace not pieces.