Patron of Okpoko Igbo, a Pan Igbo socio-cultural organization,Tobby Anumaka, has blamed the people of Mbaise for the recent political travail that ousted Chief Emeka Ihedioha as governor of Imo State.
He said what happened to Ihedioha was a divine intervention, adding that God gave Ahiara, Mbaise Catholic Diocese a Bishop to Shepherd them, but they rejected God’s anointed and in return, God rejected their son as governor.
He spoke about the qualities of the person Okigwe people expect to succeed late Sen. Benjamin Uwajumogu in the forthcoming Imo North Senatorial District election and the chances of Igbo to produce the next President in 2023.
Anumaka gave reasons he supported Princess Onuoha of All Progressives Congress (APC) who defeated the incumbent and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the just concluded Okigwe North Federal Constituency election.
Before the conclusion of Okigwe North Federal Constituency election few weeks ago, you predicted that Mariam Onuoha of APC will defeat the incumbent and candidate of PDP, Obinna Onwubuariri; are you satisfied with Onuoha’s performance in the Green Chamber so far?
To the glory of God that my prediction came to pass, hence, I was not surprised that Princess Mariam Onuoha won the election because she has the wherewithal and all it takes to defeat an incumbent in any election. She campaigned very well and as a grassroots politician, the electorate knew her and entrusted her with their mandate to represent them. So, that was why they had no option, but to vote massively for her. She has the contact and connection that can earn her the support of her colleagues whenever she moves a motion or sponsors a bill. Above all, she is God fearing. So, when you are with God and the people, nobody can challenge or defeat you in any contest. To answer your question, I will say, so far, so good because the second day of her appearance in the House, she co-sponsored a motion with Nkiruka Onyejiocha on the sporadic shooting by security men attached to prominent individuals in public place or places of event. Since that time and now, she has been moving motions on issues of national importance and she has been making quality contribution on the floor of the House. Just recently, she moved a motion complaining about insecurity in the entire Okigwe zone and Okigwe North in particular and she called on the President, Security Chiefs, the National Security Adviser, the Inspector General of Police and the Commissioner of police to come to the aid of her constituents. This is what is called real representation which has eluded our people in the last six years. She cried to the world that the lives and property of her people are in danger due to insecurity and demanded that something should be done to secure her constituents. So, I’m very impressed about her conduct so far. Even though I’m not surprised because before I threw my hat in the ring in support of her, I knew that she is capable. That was why I worked and ensured she won the election.
Imo North Senatorial District election will take place in the next few weeks, what is your expectation considering the caliber of persons across party line that have shown interest to contest the election such as Sen Ifeanyi Ararume, Mark Uchendu and Dr. Chidinma Ejiogu, senior sister of late Sen. Benjamin Uwajumogu?
As Apex leader of Okpoko Igbo and the Director General of Princess Miriam Onuoha Campaign Organisation (POCO), it will be too early to support anyone. All these people you mentioned above are our leaders, friends, brothers and sister. Sen. Ararume is like a godfather to me, Chidinma who is the elder sister of my late friend, Sen. Benjamin Uwajumogu who died recently became close friend through her late brother. Also, Mark Uchendu is another close person to us. So, we are still weighing the options and after consultation with our principal, all the (POCO) family will decide who to support.
While the aspirants wait for your group’s decision, what are some of the determinant factors you want Uwajumogu’s successor to posses?
The kind of person we expect to succeed late Uwajumogu is one that has national spread and contact in the six geo political zones. The person must have experience especially, in legislative matters and have national spread so that if the person is routing for a particular bill, it will fly. Also, the person must be in touch with the grassroots. He or she must be God fearing, bold and sincere. I mean somebody that will call a spade a spade and not a working instrument. Fortunately for us, all those who have signified interest posses all these qualities. That is why we have decided not to rush to queue behind anyone pending when we must have consulted widely with our principal. I’m choosing my words because whatever proceeds out of my mouth, most people will consider it to be the view and stand of Miriam Onuoha.
What would you say led to the change of government in Imo State with regards to the political twist that made the Apex Court to declare the man that came fourth in the governorship race the winner?
I will describe what happened in Imo State on February 14, 2020 as divine intervention. There are certain things that happen and we as mere mortals will look at it as mortals, but if you have spiritual eyes, you will realise that it has spiritual undertone. What happened in Imo State is divine mandate because if you check how everything unfolded, beginning from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) point of view, His Excellency, Sen. Hope Uzodinma came fourth, but in the divine result, he came first. What I mean is that, if you look at what happened spiritually, you will realize that it is what the people of Mbaise bargained for that they got from God. Apologies to my Mbaise brothers and sisters, hence, as a born and practicing Catholic I know what I’m saying. There was a time God gave Ahiara, Mbaise Catholic Diocese a Bishop to Shepherd them, but they rejected God’s anointed. Even the Pope intervened and appealed to them, but Mbaise people refused to heed Pope’s advice and they rejected the priest God sent to them. Now, they produced a governor, a good man for that matter in the person of Emeka Ihedioha and God rejected him because they first rejected whom God gave to them. That is what actually happened from my own spiritual point of view. God has shown them the way it pains when you reject or turndown His request. No doubt, Ihedioha would have performed well as governor just as the Bishop would have also performed well. So, the Pope sent another Bishop to them and God has also sent another governor to Imo State, hence, they should cry no more.
Many in the state have lost confidence in governance because of the way Hope Uzodinma emerged as governor, how can the people’s confidence be restored in the present administration in Imo?
I disagree with you that many have lost confidence in the new government in Imo State. I can assure you that the people of Imo have put what happened behind them and we all have joined hands with the governor to build the Imo State of our dream. Don’t forget that Governor Uzodinma is a product of political party and the party has its manifesto. Governor Uzodinma is a workaholic and he has the interest of the people at heart. I have no doubt that he will perform because he won’t be rigid or weak, but he will be firm in the discharge of his duty to the people of the state. Therefore, based on APC manifesto plus his character, I believe that those who may have lost confidence in governance will have reasons to support the new government in the state.
The former Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwakwanso has alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari has a hand in the dethronement and banishment of Emir of Kano, Sanusi Muhammadu Sanusi, do you share the same view?
With due respect to my friend Kwakwanso, in as much I had shared views with him in the past, it is not in this aspect. I don’t believe the Presidency has a hand in the dethronement and banishment of the Emir of Kano, Sanusi Muhammadu Sanusi. It is not in the character of President Buhari to interfere in the duties of his appointees and elected officials. He gives his subordinates free hands right from when he was Military Head of state to the extent it was rumoured that his second in command, Brigadier General Tunde Idiagbon was in charge of the government. That was the assumption because President Buhari likes to delegate duties. Therefore, when the issue between the former Emir and Governor Abdullahi Ganduje was on, Buhari did not interfere. If you check out now, you see the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo everywhere representing the President unless where it concerns national security or the economy, that is when President Buhari can intervene. So, I believe President Buhari has no hand in the dethronement of Emir Sanusi. May be my leader, Kwakanso made the outburst due to political sentiment and I don’t align to that.
Why didn’t the President intervene to avoid the embarrassment meted out to such high class Emir?
If Mr. President had intervened, he will continue to intervene in other state matters. That is why I said earlier that the Presidency allows the governors to have their way in matters concerning their states. We have federating units and as an Executive Governor, Ganduje has done what he deemed best. President Buhari allowed him to exercise his executive powers because it had nothing to do with national security or economy. That is when you would have expected the Presidency to intervene or call for a truce. And for God’s sake, a traditional ruler is a traditional ruler. You cannot tell me that President of the United States of America is greater than my own President, Muhammadu Buhari or that the British Prime Minister is higher than the Togolese President, a President is a President irrespective of its economic and military strength. So, a traditional ruler is a traditional ruler. Just as the Emir of Kano is the traditional ruler of Kano, so is Eze Anara the traditional ruler of Anara. And I don’t see the traditional ruler of any clan to be more superior to the other. So, any traditional ruler that does anything that warrants him to be dethroned, let them dethrone him and life goes on. Meanwhile, the Attorney General of Kano State said he is not banished. If the governor in his wisdom felt that Sanusi constitutes nuisance in the state and decided to dethrone him, so be it.
Many believed the reason for the former monarch’s travail was because he worked against the re-election of President Buhari in the 2019 Presidential election, what is your take?
The President and APC have not told us that. So, it is a mere assumption. The national leadership of my party has not come out to say Sanusi worked against us. We won all elections in Kano State in the last general elections.
As one of the proponents of Igbo Presidency in 2023, are you still hopeful that the major political parties will zone their Presidential slots to the South East?
Like you rightly observed, I was championing the movement for the actualisation of Igbo Presidency in 2023, but in the recent times, my hope began to dwindle because Ndigbo are not coordinated. So, following the recent political happenings, it will take the grace of God for Igbo to clinch the Presidency in 2023. Going by my effort so far to get our people together to speak with one voice, I discovered that virtually all the Igbo politicians we met, none of them is willing to support the other, rather they make you believe that it is either them or nobody. That is Igbo problem and except we deal with this attitude of “I before others’ , our dream of producing Nigerian President of Igbo extraction will be a mirage. As we speak now, one of the prominent Igbo sons and leader whom we are looking up to as one of our best eleven for the Presidential race, Sen. Orji Uzor Kalu is behind bars and just recently, Olisa Metu joined him. Don’t be surprised that later, you may discover that those who framed up these men are their kinsmen. Igbo kill their generals and when there is a war, we will start looking for a general to lead us