“Only a sick man will vote for PDP in 2019. Anybody that says all is well in Abia State, then the person needs to be taken to a psychiatrist for a checkup”
Uche Ogah is the Abia State governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC). He speaks on how his mandate was allegedly stolen in 2015, and his preparedness to ensure that history does not repeat itself next year.
Why politics and not concentrate on your oil business?
God has always driven me in whatever decision I took. If God gives me a vision or mandate, I pursue it. My decision to run for the governorship of Abia State in 2015 and now is a divine mandate.
You defected to the ruling APC, what made you leave PDP where you were one of the financiers and founding members?
I left PDP for APC because I saw that the only gateway to reviving Nigeria is APC. They are progressives and they have interest of the Nigeria masses at heart. They believe in the development of the people. I looked at the manifesto of both parties and I discovered that APC’s manifesto is achievable than that of PDP and that is why the ruling party has done better within three and half years than the 16 years of PDP. So, that informed my decision.
It was alleged that you are one of the oil magnets who are being probed for subsidy scam; did you join APC to escape the probe?
Have you seen me being arrested by the officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)? Subsidy was in 2011 and this is 2018 and nobody has ever arrested Uche Ogah because I have never been involved in illegal business or transaction. In respect of subsidy, the record of our transactions is there for all who care to see that Masters Energy was transparent in its dealings hence you can’t see us being questioned over any irregularity. Don’t forget that Masters Energy is a local marketer and it is not a trader. It doesn’t go abroad to buy products or hire vessels, we only hire local vessels. So, we can’t get involved in subsidy scam. After all, how much is the subsidy that I will get involve and tarnish my hard earned image?
In Nigeria many see politics as a means of making money and not to serve, why are you aspiring to become governor of Abia State having done well in private business?
At least you can see that I’m not coming to make money. You can see that I’m coming to serve my people and Abians know that I have the capacity to develop the state and make the people rejoice. So, it is not about making money, if it is about making money, I won’t offer myself to serve. It is all about service to humanity
What do you think the people of Abia stand to gain from the APC-led Federal Government beyond 2019 considering the fact the ruling party is not popular in the state?
I don’t agree with you that PDP is popular in my state because there is no sign in Abia that PDP is popular. PDP have never won any election in Abia by way of casting votes. So, PDP is not popular in my state. Back to your question, the people of Abia stand to gain more from APC administration if elected both in Abia and in the centre because being in APC which is the ruling party gives us the opportunity to be at the centre and be able to attract federal government attention to the state.
But the impression we get about the state is that all is well under the incumbent administration; do you feel there are broken areas that require mending?
How can you say all is well in Abia? It is only a sick man that will vote for PDP in 2019. Anybody that says all is well in Abia State, then the person needs to be taken to a psychiatrist for a checkup if this is how a well state should be. It is sad that after 28 years of the creation of Abia State, we don’t have a Government House. That all the entrances to Abia, are dilapidated, that people are still suffering in an oil producing state. If you go to a place like Aba, you will see people dying of cholera and Lassa fever as a result of heap of dustbins here and there. How can all be well? Is there any achievement by the present administration in the state? Is there any result to show that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu deserve a second term? To every Abian, no is the answer. Second tenure is based on performance not a right.
What will you do differently if you become the governor of Abia State?
So many, at least you can see the little I have achieved in the private sector. The people know that I have the Midas touch that if I take the mantle of leadership of Abia State, I will turn the state into one of the best and most beautiful states in Nigeria.
How do intend to unseat an incumbent governor, taking into cognizance your 2015 experience?
Do I look like a faint hearted? I’m equal to the task. Governor Okezie Ikpeazu is seating on a stolen mandate because I won him at the poll and in court in 2015, but I assure you, he won’t be lucky in 2019.
Why do you prefer Buhari’s second term to Peter Obi’s Vice Presidency, don’t you think the slot will be more beneficial to the South-East?
South-East don’t need Vice President, Vice President is a spare tyre. What will Igbo need Vice President for when we are going to get the presidency in 2023? Since Igbo will get the president in 2023 if we vote for President Buhari’s second term in office, why are we going for Vice President in 2019?
Many in the zone believe that the slot is a step closer to clinching the presidency?
Tell me how many Vice Presidents became President? Except for former President Goodluck Jonathan and it was because of the death of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. In spite of all the support former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar gave to his former boss, Olusegun Obasanjo, did Obasanjo handover to him? Power is not given, but negotiated. Power is contested for and never given. That is what the people of South-East must understand as we approach another election.
You sound so confident that President Buhari will be re-elected, what makes you believe that Nigerians will vote for APC again in 2019?
The issue is that President Buhari is a man who loves the country. He is a man who believes in the future of Nigeria as one united country. Buhari is an uncommon Nigerian with no house anywhere in the world only in his village, Daura. He is a man of my type and that is why I’m rooting for his re-election. Buhari has good intentions for Nigerians. Today, you can see that the fear of Buhari is the beginning of wisdom in Nigeria. That is why immediately Buhari became the president, contractors who abandoned projects were running back to go and complete those projects. Are you not aware?
But the administration has come under heavy criticisms for failing to fulfill its campaign promises. What about that?
Because there was no Nigeria before the coming of Buhari, there was nothing to show for the 16 years of PDP reign. The PDP government had N68 billion foreign reserves and by the time they were leaving, we had N27 billion. The question Nigerians should ask is what happened to N40 billion? They did not put it into any infrastructure rather; it was transferred outside Nigeria by few individuals. There was nothing we could lay hand on to say this is what we used the N40billion for. So, why won’t Nigerians suffer? Today, we are trying to save the same reserve once again. The present government is building something on nothing and that is why there is hardship in the country. I expect us to suffer now because after suffering; there will be light at the end of the tunnel.
But the Igbo are insisting that the region is not well represented in appointment index of this government, what is your take?
Buhari got only 894,000 votes from the whole of South-East while states from the North gave him over 10 million, yet he gave us juicy ministries. These are ministries of great importance such as ministries of Foreign affairs, Trade and Investment and Ministry of Labour and Employment. It is worthy to note that the two ministries, Foreign Affairs and Trade are very important ministries because every investor coming to Nigeria must pass through these two ministries. What Igbo should be conscious of is to be sure if the persons that occupy these positions are using it to improve the region or they are using it for their personal aggrandisement and not for the wellbeing of the Igbo.
Would you say it was what informed the recent visit to President Buhari by the South-East leaders led by the Deputy Sen- ate President, Ike Ekweremadu?
Yes, because they have seen the sincerity of President Buhari towards infrastructure development of South-East. We are waiting for the signing of the South-East railway line loan which will criss-cross the entire region linking Cross River to Kano. That has been approved by the president. The government is planning to create a free trade zone in Aba. You can see how the PDP governors acknowledged that President Buhari has done better in three and half years than when they were in power in South-East. So, which other pass mark do you want? It is left for you as a journalist to write and tell Nigerians that South-East governors have applauded President Buhari for surpassing PDP records of 16 years in three and half years.
You have been accused of reneging on the Abia Charter of Equity, what’s your take?
What do you call equity? Abia was not created on the basis of senatorial zones, rather, it was created on the basis of five entities namely, Afikpo, Aronchukwu, Bende, Isiukwato and the Aba zones. The Afikpo zone ruled through Dr. Ogbonaya Onu by share divine intervention. After then, Bende ruled through Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu and naturally power should have shifted to Isuikwuato zone, but Orji Uzor Kalu still gave it to Senator T.A Orji who is equally from Bende leaving out Isiukwuato saying we are minority. Only for T.A Orji to hand over to Okezie Ikpeazu from Aba zone leaving Isiukwuato zone. So, who is marginalized? Since Abia State was created, no Isiukwuato person has ever been appointed SSG, deputy governor or governor. Who is being cheated? Is it not Isiukwuato? Are you saying that governance should be based on minority or the best candidate? You mean that majority should be ruling minority even if the minority have better candidate?