By Chukwudi Nweje
Former Local Government chairman in Enugu State, Pastor Sam Iyiogwe has urged the South East governors and the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo to make a formal request for the release of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
Iyiogwe in this interview, also condemned the sit-at-home in the South-East among other issues.
Do you think the South East leaders have done what they are supposed to do concerning Nnamdi Kanu’s arrest?
For you to conclude that someone has not done what he ought to do is when you assess holistically what they have done. Leaders many a times don’t drum certain issues and strategies in the market place especially when it has to do with security issues.
They may be making efforts underground knowing that the matter is already in court. I passionately appeal that the South East governors and other leaders from the zone especially the Ohanaeze Ndigbo should champion a very strong team to see that Nnamdi Kanu is released.
From my understanding of what Governor Ugwuanyi is doing in Enugu State, I think he can lead that team. I am happy that a lot of responsibilities are being vested upon him by the PDP which shows the capacity he represents. It also shows his humble approach to issues; and his acceptability by different class of people in Nigeria. I think he can do it; he can play that role; he can reach out to his colleagues and different leaders of the South-East. He can also reach the Federal Government because to me, he is most cherished and loved by the presidency and people of Nigeria; he is a friend to everyone.
Yes, the matter is in court but it is the federal government that took the man to court; it’s also the system that arrested him.
Why are you asking for his release?
You can see that his arrest and detention has not solved the problem, rather the situation is worse. When you review your steps and actions and discover that there are no good results, why not change your steps? If you look at it, before he was arrested, the situation was not as tensed as it is today. The Federal Government has used every means to bring him back to Nigeria for prosecution but has it brought peace? Has it solved the problem? To me the problem has increased.
Some people will say oh, the sit-at-home is only affecting the South-East Economy, but it’s not true, it’s affecting the entire country and it’s a national embarrassment.
If you are holding somebody in your cage and people are sitting at home for you to release the man, it suggests that people are in support of his messages. If people will listen to orders from somebody they don’t know, somebody you are not seeing, then something must be wrong with your actions.
Let the Federal Government have a rethink of her actions because we are embarrassing our nation; we are embarrassing ourselves and we are not helping our people. On daily basis people are being killed; as a nation we are losing our people, blood is being shed everywhere in Nigeria. Mind you, any place or nation where blood is being shed ruthlessly, the land cannot move forward.
As I call for the release of Nnamdi Kanu, I am also calling for the release of all detainees whose issues are politically related. We should try the option of dialogue, let us look the way of genuine and sincere reconciliation; let us tell ourselves the truth because falsehood has taken over our nation. One of the major problems we have in Nigeria today, is that truth is not being told. We are not telling ourselves the truth. Many people around our leaders are not telling them the truth. We don’t need to pretend, we don’t need to deceive ourselves; we don’t need to pretend that all is well.
You see the outright marginalization against the Igbo and you want them to be happy with you? For instance, is there any reason why the South East Zone should have five states when others have six and seven states? What is the justification that no Igbo man is qualified to be among the Service chiefs? What is the justification that all the seaports around the South East are not operating? Why should a journey of about 45 minutes from Enugu to Onitsha take people about 5 hours; the same with every federal road in Igbo land.
If we tell ourselves the truth, we actually will come to a conclusion that the Igbos generally have been pressed so hard, we have been suppressed, we have been cheated, we have been denied a lot of things especially by the present administration; since 2015. We only get leftover if we are remembered at all.
What Nigeria needs now is genuine dialogue.
By this reconciliation, dialoguing, the President should listen to these people all over Nigeria; all the people that are complaining and agitating for one thing or the other. Please sir, hear them out and urgently resolve the genuine ones. The President himself is a father to all and should look at every genuine complaint.
The government has tried using guns, arresting and killing people but it has not solved the problems; let us go the way of genuine dialogue.
What is your take on the 2023 guber race in Enugu especially the vexed issue of zoning?
In Enugu State, I have been part of the system for a very long time and I know for us in the PDP, change of baton has never been a problem and I don’t think it’s going to be a problem come 2023.
Some people are just trying to distract the governor; troubling and disturbing him unnecessarily. People talk about zoning and more; all of which may be important; they may be part of the political system but my appeal is that we should allow governor Ugwuanyi to concentrate and finish his job well. And being adjudged as the most peaceful governor and Enugu as the most peaceful state, we shouldn’t do anything that will threaten the existing peace in the state. Security wise, he is trying his best to ensure that lives and properties are secured. At times, issues will come but what matters is how the issues are handled and I think he should be commended for how he handled the issues that came up.
Enugu is a one party state, we are all PDP. My prayer has been, ‘God use your hands and choose who will take over from Governor Ugwuanyi. Let there be no mistake in choosing the next governor for the state because it will bring much setbacks.
Are you supporting zoning?
First of all, let’s ask ourselves why people are talking about zoning? It’s because of what is happening in our nation, which is bad leadership. Some people feel that they have been forgotten, that they have been cheated in the affairs of governance. Towards 2023, people from the three Senatorial zones of the state are laying claim to it. In all these claims, I have not seen any problems with it. Governor Ugwuanyi has said that it will go by the way of dialogue, fairness and equity. I totally agree with him. The leaders and major stakeholders will sit with our governor and decide who comes next and whoever God approves will be the next governor.
My own prayer is, ‘God choose the best person”. How it will come, God knows. Who it will be, God knows. How it will be done, God knows but let it be done very peacefully.
Ugwuanyi is the most blessed governor of Enugu State. For over six years of his government, there is no opposition in the state. Nobody is fighting him. Our people have cooperated with him; other parties have cooperated with him. Past and present leaders have cooperated with him. He is working amicably well with all the National Assembly members; with the party; with the former governors. He is also working well with all the State Assembly members. That’s why I said he should lead other governors and Igbo leaders for the release of Nnamdi Kanu. Also that grace God gave him to bring all those fire brand tensions and issues in Enugu State to stand still, the same God will still give him grace to ensure a smooth transition. It will be his greatest achievement. He cannot afford to fail God and Enugu State people that have given him so much support and love.
What kind of person would you want as next Governor of Enugu State?
One who fears God and also respects humanity.
It must be a person who knows Enugu State well. One who knows the local government areas and her communities and feels the pains of Enugu people; a person of firm and bold character and one that will be committed to serious duty.
He must be a person that will articulate all the abandoned projects in the state and work towards reviewing them for completion in order of importance.
I want someone with the will power to select dedicated team members that can humbly tell him, sir we are doing it wrong when it’s so.
I do not know who the person will be but I have been asking God for years now to raise such a person for our state. How He will do it, I don’t know.
Will you be in the guber race when the time comes?
I am qualified constitutionally. When the time comes, everyone will know whether I am interested or not. Whosoever that loves his family will be interested in how the affairs of his family is being run to better their lives.
However, my major concern now is the situation in Nigeria generally; killings, killings, and destruction of properties all over the nation. My worry is about many of our youths in various detention camps. My worry is many people especially the youths without employment. My worry is the closure of many businesses in the country. My worry is much hunger and suffering in the land.
I strongly believe that as we dialogue over the issues over Nigeria and with prayers to God, peace and prosperity will be restored to the country where fairness, equity and justice will be for every citizen no matter where he comes from. It will once again be a nation where we love and cherish one another despite the tribe and religion.
Many systems and nations have passed through multiple crises and they came out strong. I strongly believe that Nigeria will overcome her troubles and become greater as we unite together to fight the common enemy of our nation.