Why Igbo leaders are backing Atiku against Buhari – Prof. ABC Nwosu

By Tony Edike on 26/11/2018

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Prof ABC Nwosu
Prof ABC Nwosu

*APC govt should accept blame for failing to deliver 

By Tony Edike

Professor ABC Nwosu, former Minister of Health, in this interview, speaks on the present state of the Nigerian polity, the recent summit of Igbo leaders in Enugu and expresses doubt on the ability of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to conduct credible election in next year general election.

Nigeria seems to be at a crossroad with uncertainties in the polity. How do you look at the present state of the country?

Nigeria went into problems the moment it took six months to appoint ministers. The APC government wasted six months taking briefings from civil servants instead of appointing ministers who are to fine-tune and execute policies, programmes and projects for the welfare of the people.  The world’s financial systems that hate uncertainties and ambiguities reacted leading to the foreign exchange confusion of that period; the beloved Nigerians got foreign exchange at N200 to a dollar while the not so beloved Nigerians got at N500 per dollar.  There were no ministers to react to this volatility and so the Central Bank of Nigeria had to step in to now bring it to N360 per dollar, yet the APC government refused to accept blame for its inability to govern in the first six months after taking powers, rather they blame the fall in oil prices and the 16 years of the previous government.  Any government that refuses to accept responsibility preferring to blame everybody but itself is a recipe for downturn in the economy and parlous state of the nation.  That is my view.  The suffering in the land is palpable and everybody feels it but government prefers to advise us that it takes more than four years to correct the mess of the last 60 years since independence.  That is nonsensical.

I often hear some former PDP members now in APC saying that PDP did nothing in 16 years that it held sway and should not be given another chance. How do you react to this?

For me this is proof that government is not interested in fighting corruption but is more determined to remain in power.  For example, how can an uncommon governor that had eight years of uncommon transformation of his state indict himself that he did nothing in eight years, which is half of the sixteen years?  Another example are the super ministers of the APC government, who were PDP governors before they turned to APC in the evening of their tenures.  What are these people running from if not so that the APC government will not use its attack dog, the EFCC on them?  I therefore don’t take them seriously; they are only protecting their tails from being chewed off by EFCC.  I don’t think they should be taken seriously because the achievements of the PDP in the 16 years are clear.

What are these achievements sir?

The first in my opinion is that PDP snatched democracy from the tyrannical regime of late General Sani Abacha and has sustained it till date including handing over to the opposition without the full results being announced and without going to court. The Electoral Act and Reforms of today are to the credit of late President Umaru Yar’Adua who remains the only President who had declared his assets publicly as required by transparency.  Every other declaration is shrouded in somemago-mago.  The PDP is waiting for the APC to launch its campaign on integrity so that everything shall come out in the open.  For example the APC chairman as governor, came back with Mr. President from United States and announced that they were told by the State Department that a Minister had $6 Billion in an account.  Some of us wondered: $6,000 million in a single account by one minister? Up till now they are yet to name any minister preferring a generalized term of looters in order to continue their propaganda and deceit of Nigerians to continue in power because they have found that to remain in power, corruption propaganda is the best deceit policy.  So we shall wait for the campaign to start.

Back to achievements of the PDP, Nigerians have the right and freedom of speech and movement, and President Goodluck Jonathan was the most abused and vilified Nigerian president.  Let people use the kind of words they used in abusing Jonathan in this present regime.  The Unity Fountain in Abuja ceased to function as conferment arena for Bring Back Our Girls, Occupy Nigeria etc. Let people go there now and meet Police Dogs and Armoured cars unless you are in favour of this regime. The experience of BBOG andOur Mumu don do in this regime are enough examples that we have rapidly descended to the state of un-freedom. This should be the greatest challenge of Nigeria.  Other achievements of PDP such as mobile telephones and massive growth in ICT sector, debt relief, the modernization of the airports, the Bank reforms, railway etc, speak for themselves, ditto for the institutions for the prevention and fight against corruption, ICPC, EFCC, Public Procurement Act, Treasury Single Account, TSA. Need I say more, when the campaigns start PDP will list what it has done and challenge the APC to list what it has done other than blaming everybody.

PDP convention in Port Harcourt had been applauded as one of the best. Was emergence of Atiku anticipated?

The emergence of Atiku or any of the aspirants was not anticipated. You will recall that events before the convention frightened some Nigerians into thinking that PDP will go to Port Harcourt and disintegrate  but PDP demonstrated attributes of a great political party.  First, after surviving the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff scare, it re-invented itself and went to Port Harcourt to conduct one of the best primaries ever seen in Nigeria.   Secondly, as soon as Atiku emerged the winner the other eleven aspirants simultaneously went and congratulated him and the party is uniting to fight the coming election.  Thirdly, the party has expressed its gratitude to Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State for facilitating the peaceful and excellent convention.  You may wish to compare what happened in PDP and what happened and still happening in APC. 

Shortly after the convention, former Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State was nominated as Atiku’s running mate.  How do you see it?

It is Atiku’s prerogative to choose a running mate and he did so.  I think that the declaration of Igbo leaders at Nike Lake Hotel on Wednesday 14th November, 2018 is clear evidence that Ndigbo are thankful for Presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar and the PDP for assuaging the feelings of the people of the South East.  The message from that one-day summit was loud and very clear and needs no further elaboration.

But some Igbo groups have opposed the decision of that summit?

Which Igbo group?

Like the Igbo Amalgamated Traders, World Igbo Assembly, etc.

I don’t know these groups but they are entitled to their opinions. However, my advice to them will be to quit the pages of newspapers and go and call their own summit of who-is-who of Ndigbo to express  their opinions.  It is then that the public can judge which associations are authentic.  The simple truth nationally and internationally is that the choice of Mr. Peter Obi has been well received and generally Ndigbo are very unhappy at the way the APC government has completely excluded them especially in the security agencies in the past four years.  Even Igbo ministers know this.  So, the endorsement of Atiku/Obi by Ndigbo should come as no surprise to nobody especially given the 97 – 5 percent policy of this administration.

Why did you say that the choice of Mr. Peter Obi has been well received?

He is young, he is knowledgeable, he is competent and he is humble.  His achievements as two-term governor of Anambra State speak volumes of his competence and point to him as a round peg in a round hole for a country that is seeking to come out of recession; for a country that is seeking massive creation of jobs; for a government that badly needs prudence in government expenditure; for a government that wants to fight corruption effectively by plugging the expenditure leakages, etc.  Peter Obi’s knowledge of the economy, business both big and small and management of public funds will serve this country well.

Do you have confidence in the ability of INEC to conduct credible elections in February 2019?

No.  I am too scared of what happened in Osun to believe so. After the elections were completed and the results for all the local governments published in the dailies, it was decided by INEC that cancelled votes made the election inconclusive.  Who cancelled the votes?  Osun had too many unanswered questions for me.

What do you suggest should be done for you to believe?

First, the Permanent Voters Cards should be audited. We must make sure that the PVCs are owned by real persons and not persons we won’t see like the Dino Melaye’s case where less than 10 percent came to authenticate their signatures.  Second, we must have less presence of the coercive agencies of state at polling points.  Thirdly, citizens should be able to take pictures of infractions of the Electoral process during voting.  INEC insisting that cameras at voting centres are to check vote buying doesn’t stand up to logic.  It simply looks like they don’t want infractions recorded and results also photographed to stop electoral malpractices.


Source The Advocate

Posted 26/11/2018 12:47 PM


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