Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP) aspirant for governor Anambra State, Chief Emeka Etiaba, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, has said the major lesson to be learnt from the #EndSARS protests is that the power to change bad policies of government resides with the people.
The senior lawyer and son of Nigeria’s first female governor, Dame Virgy Etiaba, noted that when the people become docile, bad government policies and corruption will prevail unchallenged.
Etiaba, speaking with Daily Sun, said ‘the protest has yielded the envisaged result. SARS has been dissolved, but you ask yourselves: why do Nigerians not also demonstrate when elections are rigged? The answer is straight forward: Nepotism, sectionalism, ethnicism, etc. The man or woman who was rigged in is our person, so while some begin to gather to mull a protest, you see another group either paid or gathered on ethnic, religious or other sentiments to shout that the election was free and fair.
‘Ethnicism and religion have dealt a big blow to the nation. It has even entered the Nigerian Bar Association. Lawyers are now willing to destroy their Association, their vocation that put food on their table because of trivial issues of religious and ethnicism. It’s a shame and condemnable.
‘Another lesson to be learnt from the SARS protest is that Nigerians should never wait for the Nigerian Labour Congress to lead any protest in Nigeria. The days of NLC being the messiah for the people are gone. Those days are long gone. Nigerians should actually be protesting against them as they have turned hostile against the people’s interest.
Etiaba said he wants to be the next Governor of Anambra State in order to contribute to the development of the State.
The lawyer, dismissing claims that former State Governor Chief Peter Obi has a favoured candidate for the 2021 election, said that his chances of emerging candidate are brighter than his many competitors.
‘With the completion of the governorship election in Ondo State, the Anambra State governorship election has come into focus. It is for next year and, yes, I am in the race under the banner of the People’s Democratic Party. I am confident that the PDP is the party to beat in the election.
‘The number of aspirants in the PDP is growing by the day. At the last count, they were fifteen, but this high number only testifies to the fact that the party is the party to beat in the election. More aspirants will join because these are still early days.
‘The All Progressives Grand Alliance is truly the party in power but they have been there at the State level for over fourteen years. In these fourteen years and since 1999, the PDP has always won the federal elections (National Assembly and Presidential elections). PDP is very strong in the State.
‘Talking about the strength of APGA and APC in Anambra State, I will tell you that I do not study the opposition. I focus on the political landscape and seek to know how to navigate through. APGA no doubt is a strong party, but the sentiment that made it the number one party in State elections in Anambra State has gone. Most of the members have also joined forces with the PDP.
‘On my chances of emerging the candidate of the PDP, I say that it is very bright. The mention of his Excellency, former Governor Peter Obi, as being the determinant in the primary is unfair to him. He has moved from being a partyman to a statesman and, as he will say, his focus is on how Nigeria can be rescued. In Anambra State, I can tell you that he is for no aspirant and he is for every aspirant. His wish is that PDP produces the best candidate for the election and you know the best amongst the lot.’
Others in the race for governor with Etiaba, include former Central Bank Governor Prof Charles Soludo, Dr Obiora Okonkwo, ex-Transcorp Chairman Val Ozigbo, amongst others.
Etiaba, meanwhile, has called on the Federal Government to allow other states to sell their mineral resources and keep the proceeds just like Zamfara.
‘Nigeria has gone down so much that every national discourse is reduced to ethnicity and religion. The recent controversy on the gold deal between Zamfara State and the Central Bank of Nigeria is on the front burner. Again the discourse has been reduced to who is speaking, where is he from and of what religion, as against what is the law regulating minerals prospecting in Nigeria. If Zamfara can mine their gold, sell and keep the proceeds, why can’t the states that have oil, bitumen, etc, mine, sell and keep the proceeds?
‘Nigeria is a country where everybody knows the truth but prefers to tell the lie. No great nation is built on lies,’ the governorship contender remarked.