Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
Chief Zeribe Ezeanuna, a 2017 governorship aspirant in Anambra State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)is also a three time House of Representatives candidate on the platform of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA). He says Nigeria should be restructured to give citizenship rather than state of origin. He also spoke on other issues.
What do you think is responsible for the rising insecurity in Nigeria today?
The cause is simply lack of good leadership. The failure of the All Progressives Congress (APC) – led administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to show good leadership and bring the people together is also a challenge. The administration has rather been treating people according to primordial sentiments. There is clear lack of intelligence; nothing is going on well not just in the area of security but all over. The economy is basically paralysed at this point, everything in Nigeria is paralysed. The current leadership under the APC lacks legitimacy. It is not the voice of the people. They didn’t win the election. There is lack of hope; people no longer believe in this county, they no longer believe in the leadership, the leadership failure is amusing and unacceptable.
Some politicians are accused of being behind the insecurity in the country, do you believe that?
I don’t believe that but it is the type of excuse that comes from the leadership that has failed. They are looking for someone to blame for their failure instead of taking responsibility. The buck stops at President Muhammadu Buhari’s table. He has failed the Nigeria people; he has not provided us with the security, not now, not before. He simply doesn’t listen to anybody’s advice.
What is your impression of the 2019 general elections?
My observation is that the contribution of late President, Umaru Yar’Adua has been eroded with this particular election especially with the independence of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Right now INEC is everything but independent. There is little or no checks, our judiciary has been crippled just to ensure that the president continue to expand his power. Nigeria is under dictatorship as it is now, we are truly under dictatorship there is no two ways about it. Our democracy has been stolen from us, the voice of people is not heard and their vote doesn’t count. However, there is hope because the judiciary is the last hope of the common man. Our party ran to judiciary for help regardless of the fact that people are of the opinion that Buhari and the judiciary is same. Nevertheless, we are still counting on the judiciary to do justice. We are hoping that with the truth starring the judiciary in the face, they will pick up courage and become independent and interpret the law like it should be interpreted regardless of who put them there without fear or favour. If they do that, definitely the stolen mandate of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar would be restored.
It seems the Igbo are not represented in the APC- led government of Buhari. What exactly is the stake of the Igbo in Nigeria?
We must understand that the Igbo have a stake in this country called Nigeria. There will be no Nigeria without the Igbo. The reason you asked the question is probably because there is an APC government under the leadership of Buhari that thinks he’s elected to govern only the people he perceived voted for him, that is why you asked. No, we are part of Nigeria and without the Igbo there would be no Nigeria.
How do you see governance in Nigeria so far?
First of all, the 1999 constitution messed up the whole system. There is no progress going on anywhere and there is no way of tackling it. The governors are mini emperors, they do whatever they wish. They have raised security vote to the highest level, collect and share it with the traditional rulers and anybody they wish to compromise. The Houses of Assembly are too weak to check the excesses of the governors. The former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi set up a standard that subsequent governors are supposed to emulate but unfortunately that is not the case. In Anambra we are lucky to have private and mission schools that have helped to cushion the effect of maladministration as far as education is concerned.
What is the way forward?
The way forward really is to restructure Nigeria in such a way that citizenship becomes everything. But right now where you come from and state of origin is number one, we have to drop that to protect the right of every Nigerian. We must realise that all men are created equal, all nationality or ethnic tribe are equal. There should be no discrimination based on where you came from. This is how to move Nigeria forward. We must restructure and make sure that items on the exclusive legislative list are reduced. In the exclusive list there shouldn’t be more than ten items. The number of states is just too many. There is no way we can move forward with that level of bureaucracy. We are not growing, we are moving backward and our population is exploding and no policy is addressing it. What I’m saying in effect is that there is need to restructure Nigeria from inside out and at every level, the citizenship of Nigeria should be highest consideration.