President-Basic of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and former Minister for Info, Chief John Nnia Nwodo spoke to journalists in Enugu just lately. JUDE OSSAI was there.
You’ve gotten maintained the decision for restructuring towards the agitation for Igbo presidency in 2023. How can we reconcile this?
It’s undoubtedly the flip of the Igbo to run for president in 2023 below the current structure. Anyone who denies this truth is intentionally throwing the nation into chaos. It’s incontestable and if there should be justice and equity within the system, it should be the flip of the Igbos and I implore all political events to take cognizance of this truth.
On the problem of restructuring, I’ve been misunderstood as a result of I’ve repeatedly mentioned that the one technique to cease this sectional politics and deliberate management marginalisation is to restructure the nation. And I seek advice from the pre-independence interval once we had a structure that was agreed to by our forefathers, which I’m praying that all of us ought to return to and which achieved higher end result for our financial system. The Premier of Northern Nigeria rejected the decision to be Prime Minister of the federation as a result of the area was extra highly effective than the federal authorities. In a restructured Nigeria, the loopy to turn into the president or prime Minister of Nigeria and to find out it in response to zoning will fizzle out as a result of the restructured impartial parts could have sovereignty of their pure sources and the true financial development of Nigeria shall be decided by the areas not by the federal authorities. The federal authorities’s duty is restricted to defence, exterior relations, customs and excise it received’t be engaging to folks. Proper now, the presidency is engaging to folks due to the overwhelming majority of the sources of Nigeria which is centrally being held and which has tried to destroy the sovereignty of Nigeria. The president of Nigeria has a lot energy due to the quantity of the federal authorities which he controls and anyone who desires to make use of it to feather his personal nest will accomplish that, so long as he has legislative majority and that has been the sample time beyond regulation because the 1999 structure took off. All I’m saying is that after the 1999 structure is overthrown and there may be an settlement by Nigerians to restructure the clamour to the place the president will come from will not be one thing engaging. It doesn’t vitiate the purpose that so long as this structure continues to be there, the flip by flip custom can’t be stopped as a result of it’s the flip of the Igbos. After we had regional authorities, we had been doing higher and our establishments had been working.
It’s apparent that the current leaders have failed the nation. However it didn’t begin with them. So the place did we get it mistaken as a nation?
You realize that the incursions of the military into governance in Nigeria destroyed the evolution of democratic phrases. The dearth of absolute transparency within the electoral system that led to thuggery and typically rigging, however at current, what occurred in these days that we detested are incomparable with what is occurring nowadays. The thuggery and rigging have developed into a classy scale, far in extra of what obtained once we had the regional authorities. The truth is, the rationale why there was a state of emergency within the authorities of Nigeria was that the coalition of NCNC and Motion Group received the election, however the election was declared in favour of Akintola’s celebration and with the intention to present Akintola that he didn’t win, the coalition determined to make sure that there would be no governance in Nigeria. They mentioned if you realize you will have the numbers that received the election, come and govern and allow us to see. They filed the fits; they [went after] Akintola’s followers. It was clear that almost all of the individuals who had been in a position to occupy the streets in Nigeria had been the individuals who received the election and the federal authorities who was siding Akintola determined to nominate Majekundomi because the administrator of Western area. The unlucky factor is that individuals of this technology haven’t been given alternative to learn historical past of what occurred up to now and so once we say these items, it seems like we’re speaking from guess work, that it’s not grounded in historical past. However the fact is that these of us who had seen it, will really feel so demoralised as a result of we had a greater life.
Once I went to CIC to do my secondary schooling, two of my classmates had been recipients of my father’s scholarship and as recipients of my father’s scholarship, they had been beating me in school. Their father was comparatively economically decrease by way of earnings. That doesn’t occur immediately as a result of, I can’t be given scholarship to youngsters who attend identical college with my youngsters or permit my youngsters to attend the identical college with my driver’s youngsters as a result of my driver is not going to afford it along with his little earnings. I’m compelled to take our youngsters to the non-public college for the sake of high quality which isn’t obtainable within the public faculties. Proper now, we all know that electrical automobiles calls for in Europe, America and China, far exceeds fossil oil automobiles demanded in these locations. That implies that the demand for oil goes down. That implies that the academic bias is rising in such a technique to throw away outdated strategies of manufacturing and the educating in these international locations which can be creating these applied sciences have left us behind. Even our academics haven’t any capability to show our youngsters new modules as a result of no one has skilled them for it. Netanyahu informed us a couple of months in the past that they’ll decide the chemical part of a plant through the use of a drone scan with out getting into the farm and that they’ll treatment the deficiency within the farm through the use of a drone injection with out getting into the farm instantly from the air. America has additionally developed a warfare expertise by which they’ll use drones by which they’ll rout troopers within the battle discipline.
While you blame army incursion for the issues of the nation, one will start to wonder if you weren’t a part of it because you served as Minister below Basic Abudulsalami Abubakar?
After we served within the Abdulsalami Abubakar regime, it was a transitions authorities. We had been sworn in to authorities in August and we handed over Could. So we principally stayed in authorities for eight to 9 months and the only real agenda was to return the nation to civil rule and as Minister for Info, it was my duty to mobilise all of the transition brokers with the intention to be certain that the folks had been conscious of the electoral guidelines and process for election, voters rights and guidelines governing the method. So since we had been centered in direction of having a brand new authorities, there was no want introducing recent insurance policies that we couldn’t full. It doesn’t imply that due to the eight months of the Abdulsalami Abubakar administration, each Minister who served should be held answerable for the underdevelopment of the nation. For me, what I did for info had not been erased. As Minister of Info, I modified all the tv studios of NTA and FRCN. I gave prompt broadcasting capability to NTA and FRCN utilizing motorised studios. Previous to my assumption of workplace, folks purchased second hand services that didn’t last as long as one yr. In my time, I insisted that the producer provided us they usually provided us at a reduction and the engineers from the 2 firms watched the assemblage of the services and that’s the reason they’re nonetheless working. I purchased new automobiles and new cameras.
You’re one of many Igbo leaders marked for assault by IPOB and you’ve got supported this group for a while. At what level did you disagree with them?
I believe IPOB is misguided and what I really feel is that typically when their income is low, they search for low-cost publicity simply to create the impression that there’s disunity in Igboland. No one has defended IPOB in Igboland greater than I’ve finished and I’m questioning whether or not some us deserve what we’re getting from them. Just a few days in the past, an envoy despatched me a movie of the invasion of the Nigerian Embassy in Conakry and I’m but to grasp why it was invaded. The individuals who invaded them are clearly Igbos and a few of them, with Biafran flags they usually had been chanting in Igbo “Iwe n’ewe anyi” that means we’re indignant. They didn’t even disguise the truth that these are Nigerians. They made it apparent that we’re Igbos . The place is the Ambassador (ebea ka ono)? They torn the Nigerian flags; they went with Biafra flags, they broke air conditioners, they broke home windows. For crying out loud, why would you fall into the Nigerians entice of claiming you’re a terrorist? Individuals who do lawful demonstration, is that how they do it? I discovered it humorous. These people who find themselves doing these items if there may be battle immediately, will they have the ability to battle? I used to be a Biafran solider at an impressionable age of 17. These boys can’t be extra Biafran than I’m. I labored below Col Onwuatuegwu of blessed reminiscence. Who did they work below? I carried rifle to the battle entrance however the privileged place of my father as a Minister. Those that stay in privileged houses overseas and who will not be dealing with the issues we face right here, it’s attainable to seat at arms chair of their consolation zone and with funds that had been donated to them by Nigerians all around the locations and make pontifical pronouncements. It’s fairly unlucky. I’m a two-time minister however nonetheless residing in my father’s home. I’ve a bungalow within the village. So the identical type of folks have masterminded every kind of issues. My home within the village was burnt. I get phone threats on a regular basis and I’ve absolved them up to now. However now, I’m going to prosecute all those that are fingered in a few of these issues as a result of this isn’t in our character. Inform me why Ekweremadu, in whose dwelling the technique for Nnamdi Kanu’s launch was conceived, needs to be handled the best way they did? The previous governor of Abia State, Theodore Orji, was the one it fell on to take Nnamdi [Kanu] on bail however he was additionally on bail from a trumped-up cost by EFCC towards him and you can not take someone on bail if you end up on bail. Due to that, Ekweremadu advised to Abaribe to take him on bail and Abaribe agreed and all of them supported Abaribe. The previous Minister of Aviation, Chidoka, volunteered his land as a part of the surety. Neither Abaribe nor himself nor any of those that ensured Kanu’s launch had been contacted by IPOB since their chief jumped bail and we right here have been pleading with the federal authorities to forgo the cost.However what can we get in return? There is no such thing as a Igbo man who has attacked the Buhari authorities greater than I’ve. I’m not skilled to be insolent. In attacking Buhari’s authorities, I assault his insurance policies and never his particular person. If he began having youngsters early, he would have most likely had a baby my age as a result of he’s about 18 years older than I’m. So why ought to I insult someone who’s as older as my father although I don’t like his insurance policies? They name Nigeria a zoo; they name folks every kind of identify. That’s not our level.
Our level is that we’re being marginalised in our nation. We’re being handled like a second-class citizen; the system we’re working on is repressive and it seems like there’s a pre-conceived association to carry the Igbo down after the civil battle, as a result of all our financial savings had been turned to 20 kilos. We got solely 5 states whereas others have a minimal of six. We got 95 native governments whereas others have over 100. Our demographic character has not been mirrored as a result of the census board doesn’t say your ethnic group. After we got give up discover in Northern Nigeria, and I took a census, I came upon that there have been over 11.6 million Igbos within the northern Nigeria. Within the final election, there have been over 3.6 million registered voters in Lagos State alone. My government despatched folks to Ghana and we came upon that there have been a million Igbos residing in Ghana. There are extra Igbos residing exterior Igboland and clearly our inhabitants is sizeable. Now Fulanis are invading Nigeria, crossing our borders, registering as Nigerians in our nationwide identification card scheme, overthrowing our immigration and worldwide legal guidelines. That is bunkum and I say it daily. What do they need me to do? Take up arms and battle the federal authorities. No technology survives a battle twice.
How do you react to the insinuations that Enugu Worldwide airport was intentionally closed to maintain the financial system of South-East down?
The current authorities has proven that it has bias towards the South-East and concentrating each improvement within the northern half. We’ve got issues right here that might enhance our financial system if the federal authorities has curiosity on the South-East. The folks in Aba don’t have energy to spice up their commerce. They know that the airport was taking place and that the runway was not good and refused to keep up it till it grew to become a hazard. You closed it for security causes and mentioned you’ll restore it earlier than the tip of December and instantly, you realised that you simply had no cash to do it and you realize that that motion of products and companies in that area the place the airport is located is likely one of the issues that may catalyse the financial system of that area. The warehouses there have been destroyed by the rains and no one cares. The terminal constructing has been deserted for lack of fee. However in lower than six months, we constructed a world airport in Kaduna which no airline operates. The governors have resolved to go as a gaggle to the president, as a result of if you happen to ask the South-East governors to convey cash, I have no idea how they’ll elevate 10 million naira with out mortgaging the airport. If they’ve to boost it by mortgage, they have to get a assure from federal authorities that every one revenues accruing to the airport should be returned to the federal government coffers and even when they elevate the cash, they can’t be allowed to do the job with out the permission of the federal authorities by our structure.
Allow us to speak in regards to the justice system. How impartial are the judiciary and INEC below this authorities?
That is the one nation the place politicians who clearly belong to completely different political events who run elections appoint electoral physique solely. Why do I say that? The president nominates members of the electoral fee to the Nationwide Meeting and the Nationwide Meeting approves it. The president was elected on a celebration platform. The Nationwide Meeting members are elected on a celebration platform and on this occasion, each the president and a majority of the Nationwide Meeting members come from one celebration. So the members of the electoral fee are chosen by one celebration and given to the Nationwide Meeting they usually rubber-stamp it. The implication of that is that, it’s he who pays the piper that calls the tune. Now what’s system in different jurisdiction? In South Africa, the judiciary appoints the electoral fee they usually accomplish that by a public advert which requires nomination from each citizen of the nation in regards to the folks they really feel are certified to be within the electoral fee. When the nominations are finished, they are going to shortlist the names of these nominated and the general public requested to critique them. After they’ve obtained these complaints from the general public, they sit in judgment and take away these they assume adequate proof of their bias have been discovered. They promote the listing of these they haven’t discovered wanting and offer you one other alternative to critique and, thereafter, they do the second screening and publish their findings. These folks will consider they’re appointed by the folks they usually owe it to the folks in addition to their integrity. And that may elevate them to the extent of independence.
In the UK, what they do is to make sure that each celebration is on the electoral fee. In order that at each assembly of the electoral fee, each celebration is represented. That is the one nation on the earth the place after an election, you spend over 180 days in courtroom disputing who received the election. Inform me every other nation on the earth the place election petitions have lasted for six months after an election, the place individuals who have been six months in workplace had been eliminated by the courtroom as a result of they weren’t correctly elected and, after all, the identical within the judiciary. The governors appoint the judges within the state; the president appoints the judges on the federal courts, the Court docket of Enchantment and Supreme Court docket. This isn’t proper. Within the earlier regional association, the bar affiliation would nominate these folks. Our income system additionally doesn’t permit a consolidated fund for the judiciary. So if the judiciary desires to purchase a automobile, they go to a governor; they need an workplace, they go to a governor; they need police, they go to the Inspector Basic of Police. In different jurisdiction, the courtroom has its personal police in order that when there may be an enforcement of judgment towards you, the courtroom police will go to implement the judgment. They take orders from the chief decide. The judiciary has minimal contact with these in government and legislature. However that’s not the case right here and no one desires to handle it.
What’s the method out of the insecurity in Nigeria?
After we had been below the regional construction, native authorities supplied safety. They enforced judgments of courts, rules of native authorities, however it’s not the identical immediately. The effectiveness of the police lies within the smallest models of the organisation. It’s inconceivable that you’re a prison in your city and folks received’t know. In case you are wealthy instantly in your group, folks will all the time know. It doesn’t disguise itself. So you can not have a police preventing crime in a group and you place a Divisional Police Officer who shouldn’t be from the world and doesn’t even perceive their language; he doesn’t perceive the geography of the place and the entire essence of crime prevention is info gathering. Between Enugu and Onitsha, I counted over 30 checkpoints and I took digicam and recorded them accumulating cash from motorists. This IPOB that’s chasing us all over the place, don’t they see them? Can’t they expose them [the policemen] or is it as a result of Nwodo is the one saying it? That is how we’re contained in Igboland.
What’s your response to the controversy surrounding the choice of President Buhari to withdraw the nationwide financial committee from Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo?
I’m detached. If it’s a vote of no confidence, they need to tell us. However I believe it smacks of disrespect to the workplace of the Vice-President. He’s the chairman of the Nationwide Financial Council with all of the governors and now you appoint one other physique that advises the president with out the workplace of the Vice-President. Once more what’s the concept behind creating ministries for companies that had been beforehand below the supervision of the vice-president? If it’s a vote of no confidence within the vice-president, they need to give us the explanations for all these. And whether it is consistent with the allegations of mismanagement of funds occurring, the vice-president has debunked the propaganda arising from this and has supplied to surrender his immunity with the intention to clear his identify. However since he made that supply, no one has come out to problem him and I believe this has silenced them completely. It’s a part of the politics that we play in Nigeria.