A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Director-Standard of the Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr. Osita Okechukwu, in this interview with ONYEDIKA AGBEDO, lauds the performance of the Impartial National Electoral Fee (INEC) in the effective perform of the governorship election in Anambra State last Saturday. He also sheds light-weight on why APC executed inadequately at the election, urging the leaders to regard Report 20 of the APC constitution, which frowns on the imposition of candidates.
How would you amount the carry out of the Anambra Point out governorship election last Saturday with regard to the general performance of the Independent Countrywide Electoral Fee (INEC) and the protection organizations?
My submission is that the Bi-modal Voters Accreditation System (BIVAS) and the earlier wise card audience are vaccines versus vote-rigging. Methinks that in no distance long term, our electoral technique will be one particular of the most credible, no cost and reasonable. Normally, the credit history goes to INEC. Indeed, there had been hitches as is always the case in the early usage of any sort of know-how. Appropriately, I give INEC a pass mark for reinforcing the religion of our men and women in democracy.
There is no doubt that the card reader and its brother, the BIVAS, will be our saviour. The flip-flop witnessed in Anambra will be our most effective teacher in potential elections.
Why are you so assured that the intelligent card reader and BIVAS will fortify the faith of Nigerians in democracy?
There is my father’s technological innovation tale, which reinforced my religion in how engineering can improve the generational frame of mind of cynic people today like Nigerians. Technologies, no doubt, will boost the social agreement concerning the elected president, governors, legislators and the electorate. Technological know-how has commenced the transformation of the psyche of politicians to be much more faithful to the citizens than godfathers. It is a revolution, for if it is federal could, APC could have won Anambra squarely. This was the folly of all those who carry on to hope to rig elections at collation centres.
What was your father’s story about technological know-how?
In summary, my father of blessed memory was a bicycle repairer serving the coal business in Enugu in the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s. He had a young college student good friend who generally visited his uncle, a coal miner, during holidays. When his uncle goes into the coal web page, the young pupil would invest time with my father, supporting him in his workshop. In 1958, he got a scholarship to Imperial College to study mechanical engineering and my father celebrated him with his tokenism. In a thank you reaction, he advised my father to go and find out how to mend motor automobiles. My dad was extremely angry. His anger was based on the simple fact that there have been not up to 10 cars in the total eastern region then. He refused to adhere to technological innovation and remained on a bicycle. Not very extensive, vehicles of all manners started out streaming into Nigeria and bicycles ended up practically phased out. My father regretted rejecting the suggestions and informed us to constantly stick to new technology. Methinks with large improvement in our electoral process, if we continue to adopt new systems, it will be the very same.
Are there spots you believe the INEC and other stakeholders in election administration should enhance upon heading ahead?
Undoubtedly! Enhancement is required in the early deployment of adult men and supplies. Also, knowledge in managing the BIVAS, a vaccine to vote-rigging, specifically as we are approaching the subsequent standard election, is pretty vital if INEC can’t deal with an off-season election seamlessly, where the contestation is only in 1 state out of 36 and FCT, what will materialize in the standard election? INEC needs to double up from whom considerably is presented a great deal is anticipated.
There had been expectations that the APC would use the election to make more inroads into the Southeast but it came a distant 3rd in the outcome. What happened?
In fact, we were being psyched and optimistic based on numerous motives. A person, we were next successively in 2013 and 2017 and predicted to come 1st this time. Secondly, we experienced almost attained buy-in from main stakeholders that likely by the zoning of the presidency, it is the turn of Ndigbo or as some want, Southeast. That the individuals of Southeast will embrace APC. I’m expansive in this matter. We drummed it that, to set an conclude to the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and all method of separatist agitations, the finest point to do is to give APC a seem foothold in our geopolitical zone. Thirdly, we have fantastic infrastructure narrative than the Peoples Democratic Celebration (PDP) in the geopolitical zone. PDP promised Next Niger Bridge for 16 years to no avail but President Muhammadu Buhari came and awarded the N200 billion deal for the bridge, lifting the initial bag of cement, first iron rod and initially shovel of gravel. Ditto the Enugu-Onitsha Road, Enugu-Port Harcourt Road reconstruction.
Likely by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing report, there are 35,000 kilometres of federal roadways, out of which about 13,000 kilometres are underneath design and some have been done by the Buhari’s administration from 2015 to day. This history is unprecedented.
So what went wrong? Why did your get together lose?
Mpu! Never overlook that mpu as an Igbo word was adopted by English, as a dwelling language, into impunity, exact same this means. I’m not declaring that Senator Andy Uba was not capable to run, much from it. But the course of action, the primary election that manufactured him was extremely untidy. Which is what just one highlighted over.
The lousy outing of your prospect appears to advise that the persons of the Southeast detest the APC?
Funds no! We ended up taught in political science class that when a political social gathering has a reduced approval rating, the ideal solution is to go for the most well known candidate to sq. up, especially when everyone appreciates that in terms of infrastructure APC is head and shoulders above PDP. On the situation of marginalisation, the ideal solution is for an Igbo to preside over Nigeria for the 1st time. As I mentioned earlier, there are many benefits going for Nigeria president of Igbo extraction.
There have been scathing responses about the figures the APC applicant garnered all through the main election that made him when in comparison to the votes he acquired at the most important election. Are you of the impression that the result of the election validates the situation of these who assert that no this sort of election was held?
The real truth of the make any difference as highlighted higher than is that none of us is joyful to comment on what transpired. 1 is not even delighted discussing the election as it reminds one of all those utopian tales we had been explained to when we were younger.
Numerous political observers observed what performed out in Anambra as a ability sport concerning the founding members of the occasion in the Southeast and defectors from other events. The existence of a rift was very noticeable as the bash neither had a mega campaign flag-off and closure nor the presence of important stalwarts as it canvassed for votes across the condition. With the final result of the election, do not you consider the Southeast APC has laid the basis for a permanent dichotomy in between the old guard and new users?
Yes and no. It is not in the perception that some migrants from PDP did not watch APC as a rehabilitation centre, though many others watch our system as a rehabilitation centre. These who look at APC as a rehabilitation centre are the types with who we are at loggerheads because they are food items-is-all set politicians. We have quite a few of them in Enugu State APC. They entered with no person, no contribution of any kind but confusion and factionalism. They claim that they are ex-this, ex-that, but have no electoral value.
Regrettably, some of our leaders outside the house our zone price them really superior without having due diligence. And when you stage out their political value hollowness, they will counter and admonish you to embrace your brother. I never blame them for they forget about the republican character of our people.
You are a single of people that supported the extension of the tenure of the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker/Incredible Conference Organizing Committee (CECPC) of your social gathering. With what performed out in Anambra and the crisis ravaging many state chapters of the occasion adhering to the carry out of congresses, would you continue to say he has managed the occasion well?
It won’t be honest to give a failure mark to the CECPC led by Buni, for we can not easily fail to remember the reconciliation, registration and revalidation they handled seamlessly. And no one can say that the ward, area governing administration and condition congresses unsuccessful nationwide. It succeeded additional in the North and unsuccessful mostly in southern states the place the persons are much more republican, like in the Southeast. For this purpose, the blame is not common it can only be traced to a couple members of the CECPC in the South who unsuccessful to diligently check with as envisaged by Write-up 20 of the APC’s Structure. The party’s constitution, in Report 20, clearly warns us that imposition breeds discontent and disaster.
Can you expatiate on Short article 20?
When a single, with nostalgia, remembers the efforts of Aremu Segun Osoba and Co in the structure sub-committee of the APC’s merger committee at Main Tom Ikimi’s Maitama house, one weeps.
Once, I confronted Osoba that one particular considered it was far better for him to be a part of us in the manifesto sub-committee as a media guru. He said I really should go and read Posting 20, that that’s why he chose the constitution committee. The Write-up 20 reads: “All party posts approved or implied by this structure shall be filled by democratically performed elections at a respective national conference or congress issue, exactly where feasible, to consensus. The place a prospect has emerged by consensus for an elective place, a vote of “yes” or “no” by ballot or voice shall be called to make certain that it was not an imposition which could breed discontent and disaster.”
The consequence of breaching this all-important write-up is our decline. I weep that what Main Osoba and Co ingrained in black and white in our good bash as a norm, we intentionally breach at each individual turn. And it has continued to haunt us considering that 2013, especially in the 2019 typical election.
Imposition-impunity was why we dropped uncountable legislative seats and gubernatorial elections. And we could have lost the presidential election but for President Buhari’s 12 million vote-bank. We misplaced states like Bauchi, Zamfara, Sokoto but Mr. President acquired vast majority votes.
Do you think that the way the APC is structured its leadership can prevent what you connect with imposition-impunity?
Certainly. Imposition simply cannot continue on simply because APC is a comeback party. We learn from our problems, introspect and modify our tactic. As a issue of actuality, we have to restore the religion of the basis, legacy users of our terrific bash. Mr. President, for occasion, always remind all of us social gathering leaders of the pledge he designed to Nigerians that he will bequeath a credible, totally free and honest election legacy. He admonishes some of us quietly versus misadventure. If you remember, he was type of hesitant in increasing our candidates’ arms. This is not the conclude of the street, even for Senator Andy Uba the choices are open up. Age is on his aspect and he can spring surprises in the closest long term.
However, permit me condition clearly that imposition-impunity is not peculiar to APC. In reality, methinks it was PDP that exported it into our terrific social gathering for the reason that the existing imposition-impunity menace, specifically in the Southeast APC, are not able to be divorced from new migrants from PDP, these food items-is-all set politicians who regard APC as a rehabilitation centre.
Remember to test intently and cautiously, for modesty will not enable me to point out names. The card reader and its brother, the BIVAS, will be our saviour. Failure will be our finest instructor in long run primaries and congresses.
There are rumours that the tenure of the caretaker committee could possibly however be further more extended. Would you support it if the solution is set forward yet again as the APC gropes for steadiness?
To be trustworthy, 1 wouldn’t brain if the tenure is prolonged to let for adequate time to diligently take care of the factions in specified states, specially in the Southeast. There is a faction in Enugu, Abia, Anambra, Imo and Ebonyi states.
A good deal of people will not agree with your categorization they will accuse you of working with your home state, Enugu, as a yardstick to paint each individual condition with a faction brush. Had been you genuine to file Ebonyi in the similar faction jacket with Enugu?
Without the need of staying conceited, I’m neither an emotional nor sentimental individual. All I’m declaring is for the collective desire of our excellent get together, Mr. President and our fledgling democracy. I’m not enjoying to the gallery. Despite the peace of the graveyard in particular states, all is not properly. My worry is mainly because of the cover supplied by BIVAS method of election, which favours the voters. An aggrieved person may perhaps keep peaceful and faux, waiting around for the voting working day to extract his pound of flesh. This is the hazard of the almighty BIVAS engineering.
Quite a few men and women believe that the result of the election will have an effect on the quest by the Southeast to generate the subsequent president of the region on the platform of the APC as it indicated one more full rejection of the bash by the people today. What is your just take?
Yes, but the media seem to be to be over flogging this issue. Allow me to request: When Chief Olusegun Obasanjo became the very first beneficiary of the zoning convention, did he acquire Abeokuta neighborhood council as stipulated by the pointers then? My canvas is that the zoning conference is as suitable currently as it was in 1999. Nigeria is however a fragile point out, additional or a lot less ethnoreligious divided these days than in 1999. I know the sweetness and allure of power. Nevertheless, to stay away from Somalia, let us go on the bonding of our dear country and do all we can to engender oneness.
Methinks that we ought to continue on the zoning conference. My attractiveness to our northern brothers is to put Nigeria 1st, not their self-curiosity or regional fascination. An Igbo might even acquire the North and by extension Nigeria greater. We should not neglect the labour of heroes – Adamu Ciroma, Sola Saraki, Abubakar Rimi, Umaru Shinkafi, Shehu Yar’Adua and others of blessed memory who shelved their personal ambitions for nationwide unity.
But looking at the amount of insecurity in the region and the dwindling normal of living, do you even imagine your party stands a likelihood to gain the 2023 election?
Certainly, for a lot of explanations. A person is the aged maxim that politics is a match of numbers and most critical victory is premised on general performance. On number, APC governs 22 states out of 36. What this indicates is that in the presidential election, APC will most probably poll the greatest votes and make the proverbial and obligatory 2/3 spread.
Methinks that we are even speaking about the probability of APC’s victory due to the fact of the insecurity and consequent economic downturn. Or else, President Muhammadu Buhari’s legacy will be that of Mr. Infrastructure – actual physical, social and unprecedented agrarian revolution. I sincerely believe that that with the whole kinetic and non-kinetic safety infrastructure getting deployed, insecurity ought to abate just before the 2023 basic election. For occasion, the construction of ranches will unquestionably suppress farmers/herders clashes.