By Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, Uju Kingsley Chima has said that what the country needs is a president that will see the entire country as his constituency.
Chima, who represents Ohaji/Egbema/ Oguta / Oru West Federal Constituency of Imo State on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), stated this in an interview in Abuja.
The lawmaker, who is also the deputy chairman, House Community on Public Procurement, equally bared his mind on the Petroleum Industry Bill ( PIB).
You are a member of the APC and an ally of former Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha. What is your take on the current face-off between the former governor and the Imo State government?
I know Imo has been on the news for sometime. That is the attribute of a state in action. When I mean a state in action, whether you like it or not, democracy entails a lot of things. Be it positive or negative.
But coming down to the political fight amongst our leaders, we are actually looking into it. At the right time, we the political players will come together to resolve all the issues. I know my people. I know Igbo race. And very soon, we will all sit down to resolve everything.
Members of the PDP in your state say Imo still remains a PDP state, despite APC being the ruling party in the state; what is your take on that?
Political success is not actually determined by the level of oratory disposition. Political success and political gains are determined by the number of elections you are able to win. The number of achievements, developmental programme, you are able to bring down to your people.
I would not want to join words with the PDP in Imo State. PDP is a political party. APC is a political party. You know very well too, that you cannot achieve democracy without many political parties. So, what PDP is doing is expected. They are checkmating the ruling party by trying to air their views.
But I know very well that the governor of Imo State is from APC. We have three senatorial zones, and out of the three, two are APC. We have many House of Representatives seats, about four and five House of Representatives members. I don’t see any reason why anybody will say Imo is PDP. That is not true in any sense.
But I know Imo is actually a state blessed with intellectuals.. Whether you are in APC, whether you are in PDP, APGA, you still see the political actors performing creditably.
One of the salient issues in the ongoing public hearing on the Petroleum Industry Bill ( PIB) is what should accrue to the host communities. The host communities say the 2.5 percent allotted to them in the bill is insufficient. On the other hand, some persons have argued that the host communities do not deserve any new fund, as there is the 13 percent derivation for oil producing states as well as the NDDC.
Let me be very frank with you on issues concerning the public hearing on the PIB, and the anticipatory acceptance of the bill by both the Nigerian people and the National Assembly. Let me be very frank with you, I am a member of the committee on PIB, if we are allowed to pass that bill into an act, the oil producing communities in Nigeria will be peaceful and there would be peace in the oil producing communities. And that will actually increase revenue for the country.
Check the record of the DPR. You see the volume of loss of crude oil, as a result of theft, militancy or whatever name you can call it. But with this PIB, it becomes a participatory governance regime. What I mean by participatory governance regime, it will be a regime where the host communities will see the dividends and the fruit of their God-given resources. They will see it manifest in the management of these resources.
Let me tell you; anybody canvassing that the host communities should not be given more accruables from oil, it is not the best for us at this time. The PIB should be supported by Nigerians. The PIB should be supported by my colleagues in the 9th assembly.
In the PIB, we have the National Oil Company; we have the host communities- their percentage of interest, via constituting a governance regime board; that governance regime board will give impetus to the effective management of the accruables to the communities. And one good thing about it, is that it is going to be management by objectives.
Bringing people who are directly impacted by oil exploration will give some flesh to the developmental drive of these communities, considering the past experiences from other interventionist agencies created for management of resources from the Nigerian Delta area.
I give kudos to the President for his resolve to set up a forensic audit to actually ascertain the management of the funds released to the NDDC. It is a welcome development. Whether we believe it or not, that has created some awareness and consciousness on both the part of contractors and all other stakeholders in the area. Everybody who abandoned his project is now rushing back to site in order to complete the project. We won’t get it right in one day; but I believe that we are getting there.
Do you think the 2.5 per cent proposed for the host communities in the bill is enough, as some stakeholders are agitating for an increase?
That is why it is a bill. Why we are members of the committee on PIB is to enable us to go through the proposal of the executive arm of government. If the 2.5 percent proposed is not enough, our duty is to look into it and see how we can upgrade it. But I know it will never go down.
That is why I advise the host communities and other stakeholders in the Nigerian Delta, there is no need fighting yourselves, come and discuss with the members of the National Assembly and see how we can have improvement on the percentage coming from the Executive bill. But I can assure you that the Committee will come up with an act that will better the lives and give quality lives to the people of Niger Delta area.
2023 beckons, and you are from the APC. The National leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu wants to contest the Presidency. Igbo people are also clamouring for the Presidency. Where do you want the pendulum to swing to in 2023?
You know very well that 2023 is still a bit far. I have always said it that the clamour for Igbo presidency is not a bad one. We support the clamour. But at the same time, we enjoin the Igbo leaders in business, politics and even students, to go out there to lobby other ethnic groups, other zones so, as to partner with them on the project. No single region can produce the President of this country. What it means is that there must be a symbiotic effort in order to produce the next president of the country.
You made mention of His Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; very respected leader of our party; very pronounced when it comes to struggle for both democracy and the survival of this country. We respect him. Every Nigerian, in all fairness, is qualified to run for the Presidency of this country. Whether you are from Point A, Point B or Point C. We don’t want to have a President of Igbo, President of Yoruba, President of Hausa.
We are praying to have a president of Nigeria, with a national interest for national development. That is when we will be talking as youths of this country, as people of this country, as politicians of this country that we have gotten it right. And such a president will be interested in developing this country, no matter where you come from. Whether he is from the East, West or the North, he will see Nigeria as his constituency. We don’t want to see his constituency as just one zone.
We want to have a president that if there is no road from Omoku, Ahoada to Oguta, the President will say the people in those places need road. We want a president that if there is no electricity, maybe in Egbema, Ndoni, that is in Rivers State, the President will say lets give them electricity.
We want to have a president that will say the insurgency in Maiduguri is a disturbing issue, let all hands be on deck to solve the problem.
I don’t subscribe to only one village producing a president; mind you, we have over 100 ethnic groups in this country. What it means is that every ethnic group will be laying claims that it is their turn to produce the President. But if we have our way, we want the next president to come from those areas that have not produced the President of the country. And that will actually give some unification of the the country.