Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife (Okwadike Igbo-Ukwu) is a Harvard trained economist and former governor of old Anambra State. In this exclusive chat with, the elder statesman he told LINUS ALEKE that the ruling All Progressive s Congress (APC) is synonymous with failure in statecraft. He noted that the mad rush to APC by some political bigwigs in Anambra State ahead of the scheduled governorship election is a disaster. Dr. Ezeife equally berates the performance of the electoral umpire in recent elections, arguing that the ruling party cannot win even a local council election in a free and fair contest.
Though official timetable for the campaign ahead of Anambra state governorship election schedule to take place in November is yet to be released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), political bigwigs in the state are already oiling their political machinery ahead of the time.
While some are still busy consulting with major stakeholders in the state on the best line of action to take in an effort to outwit the others who are interested in varying for the exulted office, some others had started jumping ship in a desperate move to pursue their political aspiration in a political party they consider most viable ahead of the scheduled governorship poll.
Meanwhile, an elder statesman and former governor of the state holds a contrasting view on the decision by many politicians in the state to pursue their ambition on the platform of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), describing such move as a disaster.
According to him, “I will be very honest with you; if you say that most politicians in Anambra state are decamping to APC in order to win election in the state, in my opinion is a disaster and I will cry over it. Why are they rushing to APC? To win election! Well, I have nothing personal against APC, but what the foregoing implies is that most Nigerian politicians have accepted the total failure of Nigerian politics.”
He nonetheless questioned the rationale behind the mad rush to APC, while raising a barrage of other rhetorical questions. “Why should anybody go to APC to win election? I repeat, I have nothing against APC but as things are in Nigeria under APC, I do not expect that in an honest election, APC will win a local council election and that is the ultimate truth that every citizen is aware of.
“On performance, APC would not record any victory in a local council poll but why do people clamour to win governorship election under APC platform? Actually, the answer is not farfetched. It means an acceptance of corruption; acceptance of impunity, acceptance of illegality and acceptance of every known failure.”
The former governor however, pointed out some anomalies in the Edo, Ondo and Rivers’ state elections, as well as the arrest of judges by the Department of State Security (DSS), in a passionate quest to buttress his position on the issue under scrutiny.
His words, “It is general knowledge that when APC was not ready with its plan to win Edo election, they forced a postponement on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and after the election, the electorate said that they voted for a particular candidate and INEC declared another candidate.
“Now, the same thing happened in Ondo state, the electorate also complained that the candidate INEC declared was not the person they voted for. In River state parliamentary rerun, with blood and everything flowing, the people said that nobody carrying APC card won the election, that INEC just put them there. So it appears that a decision has been made by APC to rig election blatantly.
“I cannot also forget the case of judges who were treated like touts and many of them have given reasons why they were so treated. Their refusal to give judgment that favours APC; some however, did and were spared and every effort is been made now to tell everybody that cares to know that APC wants judgment in their favour, as well as elections rigged in their favour.
“The Abia case is been dusted up and down because APC wants to take Abia by hook or crook. Therefore, any Igbo person who is rushing to APC to pursue political aspiration is a counterfeit Igbo. Genuine Igbo people should regard such people as anti-Igbo. You will leave APGA or PDP and go to APC; a party dishing out punishment to Nigerians, a party that with their mouth invited recession in Nigeria. APC may become a party that is worthy of consideration but that is after it has changed so completely and moved away from blatant rigging.”
On whether he would mobilize against INEC in an event where the scenario that played out in Edo, Ondo and Rivers repeats itself in the coming Anambra election, Dr. Ezife responded thus:
“What I will do against it is what I am doing now; let no true Igbo son or daughter vote APC. The Igbo person who leaves APGA or PDP to join APC in the circumstance that we have now, where the party has not shown any ability to govern or even to understand, where the party is now the most corrupt element in Nigeria is not doing Nigeria any good.
“What we should be looking for is how to remake Nigeria and not how to continue with what was there before APC. Now, APC is even worse to us than PDP, what I would do is to analyze the campaign and show that no meaningful, truthful and respectable Igbo man should jump to APC in order to win election and since the person is calculating on winning by rigging. Our people should boycott any candidate who wants to get into position of trust through fraud as such candidate does not have any good thing to offer.”
He nonetheless, explained that Nigerians are worried and concerned about the way and manner the electoral umpire is gradually metamorphosing into the ruling party puppet, while stressing that “every Nigerian is concerned and that is what we are talking about and that is why some people are jumping ship to APC because they know that APC controls INEC and that the control is total, so I am concerned.”
On whether Nigerians should continue to fold their arms and allow such anti democratic tendencies to fester, he said that Nigerians are talking but decried the role of Police authority in the River case.
“No, Nigerians are not folding their arms, Nigeria are talking, it is not just what you think, imagine that the police attached to governor Wike had been dismissed by the police high command. The police hierarchy expected those police officers to disobey the governor and obey their rigging order.
“My problem is that when I go to the Christians and complain, they will tell me that the weapon of warfare is not carnal but spiritual, well, we must get the spiritual thing right. But I do not want any Igbo man or woman to lead any form of protest because they would be gun down by the security forces, it I a trap.” He warned.
Dr. Ezeife also made the foregoing proposition as the only credible mechanism to engender peace amongst political gladiators in the state as well as eliminate skirmishes about marginalization.
“What I had proposed is a rigid zoning of the office of the governor to the three senatorial districts of the state. Rigid means that when you zone the governorship position to Anambra North for instance, the people of Anambra north should be allowed to produce the governor for the required two terms allowed by the constitution.
“Meanwhile in an event where the incumbent governor from the area is not doing well, all the political parties must field candidates from that zone, but it must be stated clearly that the person who is coming to replace the incumbent from the zone is coming to complete the turn of the zone and therefore not entitled to a second term.
“Why does an old man like me propose such? Because we will get better people to rule the state where such principle of zoning is operational; the cost of campaign will also go down, the governor will come with the zeal to serve the people and not himself and there will be peace and harmony amongst the political class.”
He also condemned the mounting pressure from APC for the Deputy Senate President to decamp to APC as the pre condition for his continuing in office.
“I will suggest that the Deputy Senate President Dr. Ike Ekweremadu be left to make his own decision but to decide to join APC in my opinion is selfish, it will be a wrong decision to make. It will be easier for him to say ok, if you push me out for no just cost I will go out but to change to APC no.”
On the Southern Kaduna debacle he takes the case to the door step of the supernatural power, noting that “there is God in heaven, he created the heavens and earth and the things in-between, and all powers belong to him. He sees what is happening in southern Kaduna and everywhere else and unfortunately nobody is talking even the president.”