Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
Sir Ndubuisi Nwobu is the Chairman, Anambra State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He said that equity demands that South-East geopolitical zone should produce the Nigerian president in 2023 to end matters relating to the civil war. In this interview, Nwobu spoke on various issues.
How do you rate the APC-led administration in Nigeria after five years in power?
It is a disaster to Nigerians. On the mantra of change which the APC came into power with, the expectations of Nigerians have been dashed completely. They have promised all inclusive security in the country but today, Nigeria has become like a blood-sucking country. Blood flows the streets, the security has come down to abysmal level, never witnessed in the annals of the Nigerian history. Notwithstanding that, the government has not deemed it fit to change the security apparatus in the country. On the area of infrastructural development, it will amuse you to know that most of the jobs ongoing today were contracted under the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan. This government, I thought would have better ideas on how to manage the economy and how to muster the resources with which to administer the country. Once money is not coming from crude oil, then Nigerians must be taxed to generate the money. One begins to wonder what we are paying these taxes for. One can say that government is stealing money fromNigerians; something that was never done before. If you make any transaction, N50 will go out of your account, any transaction either they are paying you or you are paying, N50 goes out of your account. Then, you ask, what are they doing with these money? If you calculate the number of transactions that take place in the banking systems in the country in a day, you begin to wonder what they are doing with the money. Now, they introduced VAT at 7.5 percent, even for you to make a call or send text messages, they will remove VAT from your account. Nigerians are being taxed beyond reasoning and you don’t build an economy that way. Look at Ghana, rather than going into taxation they are given tax free haven so that investors will come in to invest. With the level of our security decay, no investor wants to invest in Nigeria. And when the investor doesn’t come into the country to invest, then you can’t kick-start your economy. Investors go to areas their resources would be protected and not where it will be destroyed. When Boko Haram started during President Jonathan’s administration, they said once they come in, Boko Haram will be over but today, Boko Haram is even attacking the capital of Borno, attacking Yobe and his home state, Katsina. And these are the people they said they have technically defeated. It is only under this administration that herdsmen carry guns to kill people and they have not been declared a terrorist organization but IPOB that doesn’t carry sticks was proscribed and declared a terrorist group. The other day during the burial of a Seminarian killed in cold blood by Boko Haram, Bishop Kukah said ‘you can only be somebody in Nigeria if you are a Fulani and Muslim’, if not forget. Crude Oil today is in South-South and little in South-East and West but those who manage the entire oil infrastructure are Northerners which had not witnessed before now. The lopsidedness in governance is beyond reasoning, all are clear indications of leadership failure.
Due to the insecurity in the country, do you subscribe to the establishment of State Police or Community Policing as being championed in the country?
It is not a matter of state police or community policing. The police today which is a security arm, the hierarchical order today is not in line with the principles of federal character. When we talk about security, why the enormous clamoring for Amotekun, state police and community policing, vigilante etc; it is because other sections of the country have lost confidence in the leadership of security apparatus in this country. Instead of working for Nigerians, they are working, so to say, for a section of the country. If the entire citizenry of this country feels that the security architecture reflects the geopolitical zone of the country, the people may not have witnessed all these clamour for regional, state police, vigilante etc. People have lost confidence that their security cannot be entrusted in the hands of these security chiefs, who will even in their office speak only one language while others will be like a stranger in their land; so that is the problem.
How feasible is it for the South-East zone to produce the Nigerian president in 2023?
Equity demands that all the other geopolitical zones should do all it takes to ensure that the South East zone is given an opportunity and put to the closure the matters relating to the civil war; if they failed to do that, then it goes to show that other Nigerians will not still accept that Igbo people are still part of Nigeria. Then, why don’t they support those clamoring for their own country or secession, what do we take out for the support for the nation called Nigeria and all those who continue to insist on one indivisible Nigeria. The only way to show that other parts of Nigeria support the Igbo who believe in unity of this country is to ensure that come 2023, an Igbo man becomes the president of Nigeria. You know very well that, since this democratic dispensation commenced, the Yoruba in the person of President Olusegun Obasanjo served two tenures representing the South-West zone; the North had opportunity which was short-lived during the late Yar’Adua administration and Vice-President then, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan took over and completed their tenure for the South-South zone. Today, President Buhari is doing his second tenure in office from the North. So, equity demands that the next president of this country should come from the South-East or Igbo extraction and there is no other ethnic group that believes in the unity of this county more than the Igbo people and that is why you can find an Igbo man in any part of the country; any part of this county you don’t find an Igbo man, you better leave the place; that means that the place is not habitable and not proper or good to live or to reside in. Igbo people go to any part of the country and make it a home; call it a home and develop the place. So, I support and believe that the citizens of this country should show the Igbo people that we are fully accepted as part and parcel of this country.
Are you saying despite the political party an Igbo man will contest in, he should be supported?
It doesn’t matter the party; if at the end of the day the two major political parties, PDP and APC bring out candidates from the South-East, so be it. And that is what it should be because that was what played out in other scenarios. The two major parties should produce their candidates from Igbo extraction; whichever party that wins doesn’t matter.
Should we still repose confidence in our judiciary based on the recent judgements by the Supreme Court and other courts in the country?
That again brings the issue of governance and leadership; this is the only government that made concerted effort to destroy the apple that holds the democratic process. They ambushed the legislature, they ambushed the judiciary, now the judicial officers who ordinarily are unbiased are so cowed this time around that they keep thinking what would government feel about their judgement; if it doesn’t go the way government feels, I am not sure the next day the EFCC or DSS will not visit my home. When you destroy the fabrics that hold the democratic process, you are turning the country into a dictatorship which could destroy the existence of the nation. So, when I talk to people, I say, don’t destroy what is holding the democratic fabrics because it will not be in their own interest in the long run. In the annals of Nigeria’s jurisprudence, the kind of judgement in Imo State governorship election shouldn’t have reeled out in the first place. You cannot tender a document that you are not a maker or was not delivered to you by the maker as witness; you can’t enter it, and INEC with the respect to these 388 polling units has said that either they cancelled the election in that polling units or elections did not hold there. So, if it is a country with discipline and rule of law, both Hope Uzodima and the police officer who tendered the document should have been recommended for trial for forgery. So, what are we telling the younger ones coming up tomorrow? So, anything goes in this country, that is not what we should teach the younger ones. The judiciary needs to redeem itself and reclaim their lost glory no matter whose ox is gored. They need to reverse themselves which obviously has made Nigerians a laughing stock to the international community of nations and many international bodies have said that it was a denial of fundamental rights of Imolites, their right to choose and elect their leaders.
How prepared is PDP in next year’s governorship election in Anambra state?
I will say, we are getting prepared, we are not yet ready but we are believing God that the level of efforts being made in mobilisation, sensitisation and creating awareness about the party will place us in a better position.
What type of candidate do you expect to emerge from PDP?
It is a candidate that understands the enormity of the problems in the state and then has the ideas on how to change the bad narratives from day one. A candidate whose mindset is all geared towards bringing development to this state. A candidate who understands the plights of the people and how to change it for better. A candidate who will set the stage and standard for the new development of the state.
Does your party believe in power rotation among the zones in the state?
The position of the party is very simple, remember the last elected governor of this party was Dr. Chris Ngige who stayed in office for two years from the Central zone; before him was Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinauju who served one tenure and from the South. We are believing that the Anambrians and not only the PDP leadership would indicate whom they want to support; if the interest of party faithful and delegates is key towards zoning, they will know whom to elect as their candidate.