Chief Emma Enukwu is the National Vice Chairman, South East Zone of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC). The Enugu State born politician spoke to Ochiaka Ugwu on the chances of his party in the zone, noting that they are set to take the zone in 2015 contest. Excerpts:
Lets congratulate you for your new position, the zonal vice-chairman [South- East] of the All Progressives Congress [A P C]. How does it feel, occupying this position?
Thank you very much. Occupying the position of National Vice- Chairman, South-East, some people make mistakes and say it is zonal vice chairman. National Vice- Chairman [South- East] is like you are the chairman of the party in all the states that make up the South-East zone. And in that context, you are expected to engineer the party to victory in those states. Whatever the National Chairman of the party represents in the party nationally, is what you represent in the party in the zone.
Therefore, you have a very big assignment of turning the tide of the party around; making sure that the party wins elections in the South-East. So that is a big shoe and I am doing my best to make sure that a very good story is told of the APC in the South-East come 2015.
That is the reason I started on that premise because I know it is going to be a herculean task ,especially in the sense that a lot of propaganda is being unleashed on your party in the South=East, like what happened during the governorship election in Anambra State, in 2013. The propaganda was that APC is not an Igbo party, APGA is Igbo party. How are you handling that, with regards to the forth coming general elections in 2015?
You know, initially, during that Anambra governorship election, we thought we had come of age where issues would be discussed. We thought that political parties will come to tell the people how they will flood the state with dividends of democracy. And we brought out a man whose antecedents are well known in Anambra State, Dr Chris Ngige. We were optimistic that he was going to win the election based on what he did when he was Governor.
But you know, when his opponents saw that they couldn’t find any way to fault the man and they couldn’t find anything to label or blackmail the party with, they then resorted to the cheap and baseless propaganda that APC is not an Igbo party, APC is Hausa party, APC is a Yoruba party. Of course you know these are sentiments. And at the end of the day, they said APGA is Igbo party. I was always asking myself, if APGA were to be an Igbo party, how come that we have five states in the South-East and APGA is not controlling any of these states except Anambra? If it were to be Igbo party, it could have been controlling all the states in the South- East.
In Enugu State, there is nothing like APGA. In Ebonyi State also, there is nothing like APGA. But that sentiment came up because Ojukwu incidentally was from Anambra and because of the key role he played in the civil war, they were using it to say that APGA is an Igbo party. The truth has manifested now. It is obvious now that there is nothing like APGA being an Igbo party. Those parroting this view are political jobbers who are taking Igbo for a ride and using Igbos to make sure that they actualize their individual, selfish ambitions in politics.
All these gimmicks and political intrigues of the recent past have finally abeen exposed. For instance, the former Governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi, it is clear to everybody now that he has gone to the PDP. So if APGA were to be an Igbo party, why would Peter Obi dump ‘our APGA’, which is the image and party that Igbos are known for? Why would he dump that party that Igbos are being identified with, to go to PDP, to be called a house boy to the President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan? At least I know that the party he is joining cannot be said to be an Igbo party, that is, PDP. In the same vein, most of their legislators in the Federal House of Representatives, from Anambra State, have all joined the PDP, which is indicative of the fact that there is nothing like APGA being a party for Igbos.
Also in Imo State, if APGA were to be an Igbo party, the Governor of the state, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, who is very deeply interested in and very much concerned about anything that has to do with the Igbo man, if it were to be an Igbo party, he would not have left APGA to join APC. His leaving APGA to join APC, just like others leaving APGA to join PDP, shows clearly, that APGA represents no Igbo interest. Of you know that today, APGA is fizzling out fast.
So it was just a ploy that they used to black mail Chris Ngige, who was the only giant, politically, in that Anambra governorship election on November16, 2013. They couldn’t find any other thing to label him with; they couldn’t find any other thing to use against him, except to say that he was contesting election on a platform that was not an Igbo party. And secondly, I want to tell you my brother, that this idea of saying that the APC, is , some say a Moslem party, some say it is Hausa party , some say it is Yoruba party, it does not hold water.
So what is APC?
APC is a political party that came as a result of the merging of political opposition parties which were looking for a strategy to contain and whittle down the menace of the ruling PDP which obviously, has become a huge threat to this hard won democracy in Nigeria. These opposition parties, after brainstorming for a long time, found out that there is strength in coming together. And these political parties came together and in that coming together, Igbos were there, the Yorubas were there, the Hausas were there. It is the only party in Nigeria today where all the ethnic nationalities in the country were fully represented at its formation.
When the owners of the ruling party knew and understood that APC was going to be a serious headache for them, they went into their laboratory, to research on what they will use to blackmail the APC. They came out with such fake claims that APC is a Moslem party or Hausa party or even a Yoruba party. I was watching the television the other day and I heard this man from Osun State, the former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani Kayode, a literate man like him who had been a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, opened his mouth to say that APC is the political arm of Boko Haram.
You know there are things you don’t play politics with. Such lousy talks coming from such a person, is terrible. At times you begin to wonder if such a person’s head should not be subjected to proper medical examination. How could any sane mind in this country classify APC as the political arm of Boko Haram? Boko Haram has persistently unleashed terrible mayhem on APC –controlled states in the North –East. Majority of the casualties that we have from Boko Haram’s attack are from APC states.
Go to Borno State for instance. All the developmental projects that the ANPP which joined in the formation of APC, Every developmental project that the present Governor of that state has put on ground for his people, has been destroyed by the Boko Haram. In the same vein, Yobe State is an APC state. Everything that they have put on the ground there, from the time of Bukar Abba Ibrahim, till today, is being ravaged and destroyed by Boko Haram.
So if Boko Haram were to be the military arm of APC, as was claimed by Femi Fani Kayode, in one of his several effusions against this party, why then will they be destroying our own states? Do you follow the logic? If you have military, they go to fight your enemies. They don’t come to your territory to destroy you. May be, in the perverted sense of logic by Fani Kayode, Boko Haram could be the military arm of our enemies, who have deployed them to destroy the APC states.
So the simple thing there is that, the Boko Haram, if it were to be attached to any political party, it will rightly be attached to PDP, because they have used it to cause confusion and mass destructions in APC states. And they have used it to put state of emergency in these APC states, to the extent that they are even tinkering with the funny idea of not holding elections in those states in 2015 because of the menace of insurgency and Boko Haram. But I can tell you that if our people can look clearly, beyond the propaganda of the PDP and some of its attack dogs like Fany Kayode, they will find out the real patrons and owners of Boko Haram.
So APC is a party that has come to save Nigeria from the total dehumanization, destruction, corruption and impunity of the PDP that this country has suffered in the last 15 years. And because they know that this party has come and resolute to uproot them in their plan of ruling the country for sixty years, as they had boasted in the past, when they saw that this boast will no longer be actualized, with the APC around, they have to label the party and because they control the Federal government owned electronic media, they are using these to their advantage, in addition to our common wealth that they are starching away in their private pockets, which they are using to work against the people of this country and against the APC and other political parties that are not with them.
Let me come back to the South-East and the issue of dominance in politics. Whether you like it or not, if you remove the APGA, you still have the PDP to contend with. What strategies are you going to use to convince the electorate in the zone to vote for your party?
Our strategies are simple. Politics is all about giving the people the dividends of democracy, changing the lots of the people for good. Politics is like a competitive market. When you bring your own ware to the market, the other person will bring his own ware to the market and people will look at both wares and whichever is better for them, they will buy. That is what democracy is all about. In the zone that we are talking about, look at Abia State for instance, there is a failed government in the state.
The man has not performed. All the roads in that state are in deplorable condition. Tell me, is there any project in Abia State that is working which anybody can point at and say it is being done by the Abia State Government. The people of Abia State have already been mobilized. They don’t even need any campaign. The government in Abia State itself has campaigned for us. That is why he is fighting terribly against the APC, to make sure that the party does not exist in the state. We know his reasons because he has failed the people of the state. Ebonyi is another state controlled by the PDP. You see what the old man there has done? He has left Ebonyi worse than he met it. That is another place that he has campaigned for APC.
The things that they are supposed to put on the ground, they don’t have it. They are busy campaigning on television. They put infrastructures that don’t exist on the ground in television and radio. But these things are not there. The issue is that you are elected to give those who elected you dividends of democracy. You have to better their lot. You can make them realize that during your tenure, you brought in something that helped to change their lives. Where are these things in Ebonyi State or any of the PDP states?
Of course the only place where they are making a little impact is Enugu State, where the governor is concentrating on constructing and building roads because of the percentage he is collecting from the Arab Contractors he brought into the state.