Okey Sampson, Umuahia
Prince Benjamin Benedict Apugo is a member of the Board of Trustees (BoT) and also a member of the national caucus of the All Progressives Congress (APC). In this interview, the Umuahia, Abia State –born politician takes a look at the Supreme Court judgment in Imo State, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe’s call on President Muhammadu Buhari to resign over insecurity problems in the country and other national issues.
How do you feel about APC’s victory at the Supreme Court in respect of Imo governorship seat?
I feel very happy, we (APC) had Imo State when Chief Rochas Okorocha was there, but he made us to lose the state, unfortunately. Now we’ve regained Imo as APC state, I’m happy.
The judgment that gave APC victory in Imo State appears to be controversial, some people are wondering why somebody that came fourth in an election would be declared winner. What’s your reaction?
Well, many things have happened in this country concerning election.
It happened in Zamfara State; like everybody is saying, we won the whole of Zamfara, and the Supreme Court gave it to PDP that never won one seat. It also happened in Rivers state where APC was stopped by the court from fielding candidates in the last election and Supreme Court affirmed it. So, I don’t see why we should be worrying ourselves, talking about what happened in Imo.
What’s your reaction to the protest by some PDP leaders against the Supreme Court judgment?
No, no, no, no. What they did was not the right thing at all. I’m ashamed of the Igbo that involved themselves in that protest. When you say Igbo, the other regions will not know that it is not every Igbo man that joins to do wrong things. There are many Igbo leaders at home who are not happy with what others that go to Abuja to do in the guise of Igbo leaders. How would you explain the fact that you see people like Peter Obi, Sen. Adolf Wabara, Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe, Achike Udenwa matching in the streets of Abuja, going to US and British Embassies protesting for a judgment which the Supreme Court gave. Is it not a shameful thing? It’s never done anywhere.
Are you saying those protesters should not be seen as Igbo leaders?
No, the people who protested were some PDP members and not Igbo leaders and let me tell you something, the Igbo nation, particularly my State Abia, no longer believe in PDP at all. The party has stayed here for over 20 years and there is nothing to show, except looting of the people’s commonwealth; from the beginning till today, it is looting. I have said it time without number that if you come to Abia, there is no road, no schools, no water, no light, no airport, name them. There is nothing to show we have government in this place, PDP has failed us woefully.
Can we say then that within these five years of APC in power at the centre, your people are fairing better?
No, I wouldn’t say so; the fact remains that President Muhammadu Buhari is over relying on PDP governors in states where APC is not in power. For instance my state Abia, everything the Federal Government wants to do, it passes them through the state governor who politicizes everything and at the end it would not have the desired result. Take the school feeding programme and agriculture for example, the Federal Government has been pumping billions of naira to these programmes in the state, but there is nothing to show for them because they go through the state government.
Abia State has no known agricultural programme that could engage the youth and take them off the streets, yet the government at the centre keeps pumping money in this direction. Do you know that here in Umuahia, the Federal Government did enumeration of people that will be given N10, 000 each; the money was sent, but up till now, nobody received a kobo. That’s why I keep on calling on President Buhari to appoint Presidential Liaison Officers (PLOs) in states like Abia who would handle the Federal Government projects in the state.
With APC taking over Imo, can we say the party will sweep the South East in 2023?
I’m not going to say that, rather what I will say is that Hope Uzodinma, the governor of Imo State should try his best to look into other states in the South East, as an anchorman which Okorocha could not do. He should do everything that will help strengthen leadership of APC in the South East because God has made him to be there for us.
Are you sure APC’s victory would last because Ihedioha has gone back to the Supreme Court asking it to reverse itself?
You see, there are things that may happen and there are things that cannot happen. That’s my answer to that question.
APC is having serious crisis in Edo State, don’t you think that may limit its chances retaining power in the state after the governorship election?
I am not happy with what is happening in Edo APC and I had expected Mr. President to wade into the matter because as the leader of the party, he is in a better position to resolve it.
Senator Abaribe recently called on President Buhari to resign over insecurity in the country. Was that call in order?
Insecurity is something that affects everybody. If anyone has called on Mr. President to add more vigour in the fight against insecurity, that person is doing so for the entire nation and I will support such advice. But I will not support anybody who will just wake up from his