Home / INTERVIEWS / APC Betrayed Trust of Nigerians By Jettisoning True Federalism – Chief Chekwas Okorie

APC Betrayed Trust of Nigerians By Jettisoning True Federalism – Chief Chekwas Okorie

The month after, we proceeded to apply for this new party ,UPP, where we are now, that is it. Before returned  it with pain in my heart, with heavy heart, I had made some pronouncements, to the effect that I have gone away with the soul and spirit of the party and what I left for them was a mere carcass. They will not know any peace. It was more like a curse on, mission being re-enacted this time with some benefits of experience and so we are better prepared for the challenges ahead.

What is your relationship with your political rival, Chief Umeh like?

He is out of the scene now; he is no longer chairman of APGA. For the relationship, I have since forgiven him. He is not the only one that hurt me, there are many of them even Peter Obi who was the major beneficiary of what I call my blood and sweat, was the one that funded this whole crisis. Umeh did not have anything to sustain that type of battle but I have since forgiven all of them. It  is not as if I carried any animosity, after all God has blessed us  with better platform, better than the previous one.

What informed your forming UPP?

Like I said the original vision and mission for founding APGA was derailed by those who didn’t key into that vision, so after so many years of trying to bring the vision back on track and we failed we have to, visions don’t die, they are like spirits, so we have to set up another party to pursue the very same vision. But this time as I said even with sharper focus, for instance at that time what was in vogue or what was worrying was true federalism, resource control, devolution of powers, all of those things were in the APGA manifesto, but today in addition to those ones the issue of restructuring, self-determination, state policing and community policing and other aspects that will make people feel yes we are one equal citizens of the country and now being  topical, we have incorporated all of them into our new manifesto; we just had a convention in Anambra State 29th of  June and in that convention we updated our manifesto to include all of these things and what we have done actually, is to bring  the major highlights of the 2014  National Conference recommendations. The main highlights we brought them back into the manifesto to make them campaign issue because they are political instead of people demonstrating and agitating they should go through the political process to address it.

Apart from restructuring and self-determination, what are the other themes in the party’s manifesto?

As a matter of fact, what you find in our manifesto outside of this very outstanding issues  will be what you find in most of these party’s manifestos, that’s why I didn’t want to go emphasising them. The issue of the economy if you go through all the manifesto, they will be saying about the same thing. Same with the  economy, electricity, good road, job creation agriculture, health isssues, educational policies, merit and all that they are common issues that repeat themselves in most manifestos. There is no political party that exists in Nigeria today, that has self-determination in its manifesto; none that has restructuring in its manifesto, none that has state police and community policing, what I am mentioning are things that are unique that make our manifesto more revolutionary and progressive than the others.

Some Nigerians may take self-determination akin to breakup from the country; can you throw more light on this?

That will be wrong because this is something, even the United Nations Charter, African Union Charter, which Nigeria also has domesticated. Self-determination is approved, it is allowed. There is no where it means separation. We are talking about self-determination of all the ethnic nationalities in Nigeria. For example in the equality, where there is self-determination of all ethnic nationalities  who are treated equally. Somebody may say how can you treat all ethnic nationalities equally when you have some ethnic groups with large populations and some others with small population.

When  you have a country where there is equality of all  nationalities, and not only that you are treated equally wherever you may find yourself whether you are majority or minority there will be peace. So, we want to see a Nigeria, where your own children will not be charged discriminatory school fees on account of where they are staying because they are not from that area, if you have self-determination as one  national policy that is one of the first things that will disappear.

A recent  press report  quoted you as describing APC as a fraud. Can you shed light on what you  mean by that?

Is true, it’s a monumental fraud. There is no way a political party, like UPP which is preaching self-determination and then you are preaching devolution of power. Once we get into power by the grace of God at the national level, some of the executive bills will be sponsoring to the National Assembly will be reflecting the things we promised Nigerians because your manifesto is a social contract between the party and the people; it is an article of faith, and when you use what is in your manifesto canvass for votes, it is assumed that if you are voted into power, people consider  all those things and if you get into power through the people’s vote and the first thing you do is to jettison what you promised the people, there is nothing more fraudulent than that.  APC has true federalism in its manifesto, they also  have devolution of power. These two were the very first key things in their manifesto and as soon as they got into power, these true federalism and devolution of powers were jettisoned. So, majority of their people were there and majority of the National Assembly are APC as we speak but the President of Nigeria said to the whole world he will not read that recommendation, that he will have nothing to do with it. The political party lacks moral strength  to tell the President this is what we promised the Nigerian people, don’t forget you are going   back to them sometime in the future;  what are we going to tell them? Somebody makes you a promise and you rely on that promise, you hand him over your mandate and he reneged  on that promise. What is the meaning of fraud again? And if it’s a political party such fraud becomes monumental.

What is your take on the President’s ill-health?

Very unfortunate, because honestly nobody, nobody will wish another person ill-health and I am one of those praying fervently for his speedy recovery and when I heard recently from a  statement credited to his wife, the prayers of Nigerians have worked and her husband will soon come back and this was followed by  the Acting President who visited him and he said he found him hale and hearty and that  he will soon come back. I am happy over this.  He should come and complete his tenure to the best of his ability then when we return to the field, we will do everything to make sure that he is voted out. We don’t want him to lose that position on account of health or on the hospital bed, we want him to be hale and hearty and watch Nigerians take their pound of flesh for what he has done to them.

What are the chances of your party in the upcoming Anambra election?

 I am not being boastful but the election in Anambra State in November, by the grace of God will turn out to be UPP versus UPP, that is what they are going to experience in that election.  For instance, APGA is the party in power, so one will have expected that it’s the major contender but his party is in court.  Obiano has deployed everything in the books including those that are not in the books to be able to recover the party to the leadership of his preferred chairman and he has failed up to four days ago and the court gave 15 days for them to be joined, formerly joined in a suite that they granted the other people advantage. And we are talking about Court of Appeal before you get to the 15 days. As I speak the other people have already filed an appeal in the Supreme Court querying Court of Appeal for even willing to join them. That means one will wait for  Supreme Court, that has proceeded on recess. APGA is not going to be available for Obiano and there is no other party he will use except perhaps UPP that he will have any form of chance, even if he comes to UPP, we will not reject him, he will go to primary election like others who are already there. We have the former Minister of Aviation, we have two -term member of House of Representatives, Julius Ofor Odili some other prominent politicians, there are seven of them who are at the moment contesting for the governorship ticket of UPP.

How will you score the present APC administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari?

Nothing more than failure. Here is a President who said he was giving position    97% positions to those who voted for him and the remaining to those who did not vote for him. By that he had declared both himself and the party partisan. This sort of thing has not happened in the history of this country. There is a security council in this country where not a single Igbo person is sitting on it. And this is happening under Buhari. It is like having the Security Council of the United Nations  without the  USA , Britain  and  if you exclude Russia there will be  trouble, if you exclude China, problem and this has happened for the first time in Nigeria and even non-Igbo have said this is unfair. And they don’t bother and there is a saying in Igbo land that whoever is rejected does not also reject himself, so APC as I said, just to put it in a very simple language has declared us as persona non-grata. No a registered voter, I mean a rational person, cast his vote for  APC.

What does your party plan to do differently from the present government in Anambra State?

The fact that the party has already taken the path of revolutionary progressive party simply means so many things will have to change. No state under UPP will be waiting for the so- called National Grid to provide electricity for its citizens and this is one of the key factors in development. Then the issue of education: There are so many things we will change, how can you operate in a country where History  as a subject is deleted from the school curriculum and people are also doing History in the University. So what is the entry requirement to go and read History if it is removed? There are certain things we can bring, we will bring back civics, those are the subjects that we learnt from primary school and by the time you are growing up, you already know what your civic duties are, responsibilities, you know the name of your leaders and so on and so forth, that is in the area of education.

On agriculture, there is no state controlled by  UPP state that will not be self-sufficient in staple food and then of course Anambra is one large market already. You never know when you move from one city to another. What UPP will just do is to turn it one large industrial hub because some of those things that are being brought in to sell can be produced and already some people have started that initiative, we have  other people who are now manufacturing even tomato paste are been produced.

 Anambra under UPP government within one year will be our attraction, an investment destination. It  will be a tourist attraction in terms of security.  There will be nothing like it because whether the Federal Government likes it or not, we are going to ensure community policing, because once you have community policing, there is not a soul, whether is a free born of that community or visiting person that can enter a community without being identified;  when he came in and when he is leaving, the lifestyle he is living must be interrogated because you can go and steal from somewhere and start terrorizing people with your stolen money. All these things are so monitored that you will not have a safe haven for criminals.

What is your take on agitation for Biafra?

It was only in 1999 that Ralph Uwazuruke gathered some people and they started what they called Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra(MASSOB). It started in Lagos  some where in Ajegunle but from there it spread. What they were preaching appealed to so many people who felt frustrated and all that and many of them are graduates who couldn’t find a job, You know some of them are graduates who are driving Keke to make ends meet.  Many of them are graduates who are selling recharge cards on streets, these are men that may go into armed robbery and all that, there were also women that do menial jobs who are graduates, those who couldn’t  take   took to social vices. So, when the agitation came, they found that place as a point to pour out their grievances and as government continued to ignore what they were talking about, many variance of that agitation came up.  We now had IPOB and about 25 different groups, many of them are abroad and this thing has gone international, as a matter of fact, you have 120 countries of the world, you have groups of people talking about Biafra, it’s a very serious matter.

Sir you have spoken about APC led government already, as a lecturer if you are to score them, let’s say you have the marking scheme? 

It is abysmal performance, not because I am in opposition. Security issue, there is hunger everywhere, people are not happy. See this newspaper, some people like what you have written but can’t afford to buy, it will appear as if your hard work is not yielding result, so what about those who are not working at all, because they just can’t get a job.

This government promised job creation but we have had job losses. This is a government that said it would hit the ground running, do you know there are over 300 parastatals that appointments to their boards have not been made? And these boards are the policy making organs of these parastatals, they have been operating without policy, this brings us to this recession. Yes, because if you reflate the economy, the engine of the economy will be turning, people will have money to buy things, those who are producing will sell and so on and so forth. This is a government that is so insensitive to public outcry that Nigerians cannot just wait for 2019 to come. Look at the party itself, it has not been able to constitute its board of trustees.

When was the last time you heard the National Executive of APC met? Because they know that they have so mismanaged the opportunity God gave them. When they assemble under a roof, there will be fisticuff, they will fight one another.

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