From Chris Agunweze, Port Harcourt
Dr Chidi Lloyd, an All Progressive Congress (APC) bigwig in Rivers State, is a former Majority Leader in the Rivers State House of Assembly, Director General of Rivers APC Campaign team in the 2019 general elections and a close ally of the Transportation Minister Chibuike Amaechi. But, recently he dumped Amaechi and APC and joined PDP, a party he had fought against with much energy. Expectedly, Lloyd’s defection had set tongues wagging in the state.
In this exclusive interview, Lloyd felt very strongly that his defection to the PDP was a moral relief as it offered him the chance to reconcile with someone he said he hurt so much, someone whose blood was spilled during the infamous physical showdown back in 2013 in the state House of Assembly, among other reasons.
Why did you decamp from the All Progressive Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)?
I defected from the All Progressive Congress to the People Democratic Party in Rivers State because the constitution allows me to leave, it said when you have irreconcilable crisis in your party you are free to move and I’m sure that you are not a unaware that Rivers State branch of All Progressive Congress has been embroiled in crisis since 2018 or so, it’s been one problem or the other. Slightly in 2015, the crisis was there before 2015 general elections, but we went with a bold face, but each day that passes by, the crack becomes deeper. A whole ruling political party in the federation, we were not able to field candidates for a general election and we were not able to field candidates because we couldn’t have congress as it were because of litigations here and there. Having said that every other thing that came after the congress was a nullity because the court said you did what you did in disobedient to court order. Recall that when we tried to commence the congresses then some aggrieved persons approached the court and said that they were shut out and while that was going on one thing led to the other and at the end of the day the court said you couldn’t do what you did that resulted to self-fight which the court frowned at.
At that time you did not contest for anything so that didn’t affect you as an individual…?
(Cuts in) No, it affected me because I was the Director General of the campaign organization, it beholds on me to deliver the candidates and I worked tirelessly, I don’t know whether anybody believes now because in the APC once you have a divergent opinion you are a betrayer, you are evil just as I joined PDP now people said things about me that wasn’t what they said after the fight, then I was a hero.
Why did some of those cases overwhelm the party then it was just a single man that was pushing?
What do you mean by a single man, legal issues are not civil war, you don’t need a whole army, you need just one man to file a suit that’s all, you don’t need soldiers, so what overwhelmed the party was the position of the law.
Recall what happened sometimes ago in the Rivers House of Assembly where you were involved in a physical fight and physically injured someone, do you see your coming back to PDP as an opportunity to reconcile with someone that you hurt so much, was the return and reconciliation a sort of moral relief for you?
Principally though, people may say it was politics, but the principal thing is that I reconciled with my brother whom I had disagreement with in the past seven years. The principal thing is that I am no longer what I was in 2013 by 2020. By 2020 I am now a soldier of Christ, I am a Knight of the Catholic church, what it means is that I must purge myself of whatever unclean thing that I have done and I saw that the best way is to reconcile with my colleague whom I have hurt one way or the other and that the reconciliation cannot be genuine if I don’t show penitence, and repentance. So, that was why I said I will not only reconcile with you, I will join hand with you, that was what informed my rejoining the PDP. So, my rejoining PDP is more that decamping, it has a spiritual connotation you will recall that day that blood spilled and we have no right to make any one spill blood because we don’t create life, so it was completely a moral relief because I now sleep well, my brother has forgiven me and I have forgiven those who offended me.
I want to bring you to the dichotomy politics in Rivers State. Do you share the sentiment that power should rotate to the Riverine area of the state?
The issue is simple, different stroke for different folks, what we preach then in APC may not be what they preach here in PDP.
I just came in, I may need to know what the thinking of the leadership of the PDP is so that I don’t make hasty comments. In APC when I was there we believed in rotation of power, but now I have left the APC into a new party, I will need to understand the dynamics and the workings of this new party to be able to respond to your question.
So, you mean whatever is their thinking you will align yourself to it?
Who the hell am I, if the party says this is what they want to do that is why you must be a party man.
You mean in Nigerian politics this time around personal principle and ideology do not count again?
No! No! No! You see, you must get this things properly, I may have my ideology, but what is one in hundred, the leadership of a party will take a lot of things into consideration before they arrive at any decision so my principle and ideology in my bedroom wouldn’t make any difference that is why I said allow me sometime to understand the workings of the party from where I left since seven years ago. A lot has happened, it’s under a new leadership, it’s under a new administration and so on, but if you ask me the thing to do now is that we should look for competent hands, we should be talking about competence now in Nigeria, it doesn’t matter where the person comes from, we need diligence of good governance just as Governor Nyesom Wike is doing.
People didn’t think that it was possible that somebody can build four flyovers at a time, I have seen governors, I have been around, I don’t see governors performing in their second term, but this governor is working assiduously in this second term.
Rate the governors overall performance?
Hundred per cent.
He is building flyovers okay…
(Cuts in) No! No! You don’t just say that he is building flyovers, I disagree with you, he is constructing flyovers and the company that is constructing the flyovers is one of the best in the country, it is not just flyover, it is flyover indeed. When he said that this flyovers will be delivered in 12 months doubting Thomases went to town, including me, we thought that engineering design will take five years, to do the piling will take 10 years etc; but it has been delivered in months. The company deployed modern technology in the construction of the flyovers. Have you heard any opposition talk about flyover again.
Yes, opposition still talk about the flyovers, they said Governor Wike is building flyovers only in Port Harcourt while other areas in the state are neglecte?
If previous administrations had built those flyovers he wouldn’t be building new ones. Where you are now is Akpabu (Emoha LGA) not Port Harcourt; you came here now you saw men working bringing light (electricity) people are on the road trying to construct the road from here to Egbeda
But it appears that this light has been in this community before Wike?
You don’t form an opinion before asking me, when you came to this place did you see light, what you are seeing is generator light.
The governor is resuscitating our electricity, which was given to us by the NDDC, now he is constructing 16.8 kilometre road to connect our kith and kin here in Ogbudioga and Egbema. For us to access which is just a stone throw from here we need to get to Animini then get to Ikwerre Local Government before getting to Egbudioga. Is this Port Harcourt? The governor has taken vehicles to Opopo and Andoni is that Port Harcourt? The mouth must say something.You as journalist should also help the state, there are a lot of misinformation, go round and see for yourself, don’t listen to what those who want to score cheap political points are saying.
When you decamped people called you names?
I advise them to take it easy and mind what they say because they will join me. They should leave a small window so that they can face me when they come absolutely, many will still decamp and you will see them.