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Exclusive Interview With Igwesi USA On Problems Bedeviling Nigeria

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Chief USA Igwesi was a member of the 5th House of Representatives, but before his emergence to the Federal Parliament, he was elected to represent Enugu South Urban constituency in the Enugu State House of Assembly where he emerged the leader of the House.

 In this interview, Chief Igwesi bared his mind on a number of National issues, including Nigeria President of Igbo extraction.

Question: Agitation for a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction.

Answer: The agitation is necessary and proper given not only the crack in the foundation of Nigeria but the imbalance and the marginalization targeted at the Igbos. An average Igbo man feels that his geopolitical Zone escorted other Zones to Nigeria and her reasons are not farfetched. One is the imbalance in the structure, composition, government positions and allocation of resources, which were designed to relegate the Igbo man to the background.

Secondly, the plum job of the Presidency has been lopsided and skewed to one ethnic nationality without due respect and reverence to the tenets and the tradition of rotation and Federal Character principle as enshrined in the Constitution. But the naked truth is that power is taken and not given.

The Igbos have to come together, cross fertilize ideas and begin to understand that power is in the oven and not in the fridge. In other words, they should be prepared to have their hand burnt before taking the power. The issue of wanting to be President is not a recipe that will be served Ala-carte.

 It is a business of continued engagement, sustained negotiation and steady conversations aimed at convincing other ethnic nationalities that Igbo’s have immaculate and reliable characters that can navigate the sinking ship of this country. We have creative, enterprising, industrious and above all intelligent people with natural capacity to provide leadership that can douse series of disturbing tensions in Nigeria presently.  It will also be dangerous and unpalatable for the major political parties not to move in this direction, since this is the only Panacea for the agitation for self-determination. Yielding the slot to the Igbo’s ,this critical period of our history will definitely assuage the restiveness and incessant agitation from the Zone.

Question:  General Insecurity in Nigeria.

Answer: The fundamental objective of any government is to provide Security and protect lives and properties, and the inability of any government to provide this basic necessity of life will amount to anarchy and pandemonium which is a wrong index for responsible and responsive government. Nigerian state is presently going through the worst in her history. School pupils and students in the northern part of Nigeria were abducted on daily basis by the dreaded Boko Haram Sect. schools are shut down indefinitely for fear and apprehension of various degrees of insecurity in the Zone.

This disturbing trend had increased geometrically the number of out of school children, in that part of the country, and this indeed is worsening and compounding the security situation in the Zone, since these school drop outs turn around to be willing tools in the hand of these monsters. Imagine what is happening in Katsina State the home State of Mr. President, where the helpless Governor Aminu Bello Masari had asked the masses as matter of last resort to begin to carry arms and defend themselves.

In Plateau State, the situation is not different since the crisis have reached a point that most states especially in the southeast have started repatriating their indigenes from the state. The indivisibility status of the country has been attacked and degraded to the point that no citizen is now safe in another state.

The crisis in Plateau State is increasingly unabated and both personal and public economy has been on receiving end. If citizens’ rights, lives and properties are not protected then what is the essence of government ab-nitio. A society without protection and leadership is like a war front and for the same government to continue to recycle the so called repentant bandits and insurgents goes to show the seriousness of the government who claims to be fighting insurgence.

Look at what happened in Kaduna, Nigerian Defense Academy, where bandits had ransacked and even killed our young soldiers etc.

Question: Arrest and the prosecution of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho.

Answer: Agitation for self-determination are normal in a democratic set-up and is provided in the supreme law of the land. If one of the parties of a marriage is feeling cheated and no longer believe or have faith in the marriage, the best and the ideal thing for the other party to do is to ascertain the course of the resentment and anger and address it to keep the union. But when you ignore the concerns raised by the other nagging party and begin to behave like things are normal it may definitely boomerang at the expense of peace and oneness. I think that what is needed at this point in time is to proffer political solutions to the matter. In other words, the Federal Government should tread with caution and employ all the wisdom and intelligence by providing needed fatherly leadership in other to keep the country together. Prosecution in the court of law is not the answer rather a more comprehensive political solution should be engaged to stabilize the polity which is presently a keg of gun powder.

The President should have a one on one with the likes of Nnamdi Kanu and his counterpart in the west to ascertain their grievances and subsequently find lasting solutions to their concerns and reservation as it was done in places like Bayern in Germany, California in America, and Catalonians in Spain etc. when they faced similar situation. Moreover by virtue of his office not only age, he is a father to all and is expected to play that fatherly role when his children are agitating for a better deal and welfare. Continued exploration of judicial interpretation in the matter will definitely not solve the issue rather will worsen and compound it.

Question: Crisis in PDP

Answer:   The crisis in People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is very unfortunate and Nigerians who look forward for them as Opposition party to always put the toes of the ruling party constantly on check are disappointed, since they are bedeviled in crisis instead of organizing themselves in a formidable way to take over power from the ruling party. The crisis have reduced the level of Opposition expected from the party. The party has to hasten up and resolve the crisis to enable them play the role as opposition political party. If the crisis is about one man, the person should remember that the party is supreme, we can make sacrifices to grow the party, if you are asked to resign your position in other to redeem the party from extinction, the person should quickly do that, after all no single individual is above the party. But I think the leaders of the party will get right during the forth national convention and enthrone a purposeful leadership that will return the party to the vision of the founding fathers. The zoning committee that was recently inaugurated should be wise to zone their presidential position to the South East in the interest of justice, equity and fair play.

Some of the PDP Governors had been hood winked to joining APC and the party should do everything possible to return these Governors who defected out of fear and intimidation to the ruling APC.

Question: Why do Igbos obey sit at home order without pressure from the IPOB.

Answer: There is resentment, indignation, bitterness and anger in the south east, especially among the down trodden. They believe that they are unfairly treated as a geo-political zone. The imbalance in the number of states. While others zones have six status, only the South East geo-political zone have five states. All efforts to address this imbalance proved abortive, lack of observation of federal character principles as enshrined in section 14 of the 1999 constitution as amended, Infect the general imbalance and lopsidedness in the foundation of the country.

These injustice, marginalization, resentment and bitterness of an average Igbo man were part of the reason why Igbos observe the sit at home order without any pressure.

They believe is better to identify with the ideology and spirit behind the resistance of these marginalization and unjust treatment. If you are in any state of the South East on any Monday you will be amazed how the people of the zone keep indoors without pressure from even members of the IPOB. It is an ideological  movement anchored on the irrefragable believe that people of the zone were treated as if they were slaves in their own country. Even though in some remote areas, some people were usually harassed for not obeying the order, and most often hoodlums took undue advantage of the order and unleash mayhem to law abiding citizens of the zone.  Infact to an average Igbo man the movement is an ideological warfare aimed at seeking the attention of the powers than to address the concerns raised by the zone. Also the extremists in this movement insists that unity and oneness of the country should be re-negotiated and agreed upon on a round table, where facts, arguments and statistics will play out. Even though some people in some quarters, especially Igbo elites decry the manner, process and procedure adopted by Nnamdi Kanu and his group in presenting their case but still believe that what is important is not the messenger but the message. Some believe also that the zone will be better under a Nigeria where justice, equity and fair play will take pre-eminence and not the present day Nigeria.

To me all the states in the South East should jettison the idea of complaining on daily basis and come together on a round table and decide on how to grow their region, economically, infrastructural, technologically and educationally at the admiration of other ethnic nationalities as was the case with Bayern in Germany, California in USA, Catalonians  in Spain etc. Moreover, the Presidential visit to Imo State should have offered Mr. President an opportunity to have a town hall meeting with Igbo leaders and cross fertilize ideas on the way forward.

But all the same I will urge the region to consider the damage this sit-at-home order had done to the Igbo economy. Most indigent and down trodden average Igbo man live on daily income and as such every Monday shut down will definitely deprive them from such daily income. So we cannot because our neighbor hate us, we will also hate ourselves. Our aspiration for a better deal in Nigeria can be on course while we struggle to make ends meet. Let us be wise and regain our strategy and procedure while our target are intact and unscratched.    

Question: The Governorship Zoning arrangements in Enugu State

Answer: Ordinarily I would not have responded to this question, knowing fully well that the end will definitely justify the means, but for the purpose of this interview, let me say there is no controversy surrounding the zoning arrangement in the state. We have a zoning template since 1999 and this template has brought peace, equity and justice to the state political engineering and management. And a good student of history will quickly agree with me that there is no need changing a winning team. If this is perfectly working and accepted by the stake holders and all the senatorial zones in the state, do you need to truncate it at the expense of pandemonium and  distrust. We have a course of action which had seamlessly engendered peace and good understanding since the inception of democracy in 1999 with Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani from Enugu East Senatorial zone, steering the seat of govenance from 1999 to 2007, after which he peacefully handed over to Barr. Sullivan Chime from Enugu West senatorial zone, who was in power as Governor from 2007 to 2015.

He also handed over to his successor, Rt. Hon Ifeanyi Ugwanyi, from Enugu North senatorial zone who started as Governor from 2015 and will be rounding off in 2023, and he is expected to continue the peaceful course action by handing over to the people of Enugu East Senatorial zone having completed the circle of tripod. This is a simple and harmless understanding and equitable transition from one zone to the other, and it will keep moving in that direction seamlessly. You can see that there is an agreement since 1999 and the agreement has invented this course of action from one Governor to the other in a tripod setting. Agreement is an understanding that a certain thing will be done in a particular way with the consent of all the relevant stake holders even if there were dissenting voices.

This is an age long political way of life of the people of Enugu state rooted in peace and understanding and must be respected.  

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