Elder Statesman Chief Mbazulike Amechi, Advises Atiku To Save Himself Stress And Resources As A Muzzled Judiciary Won’t Work
The presidential election is done and Buhari has been declared winner, but not all Nigerians agree that he won fairly, the main opposition party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar along with his party, the Peoples Democratic Party PDP allege gross election malpractice and claims to have enough evidence to prove it, they have however taken their case to the court.
This claim and counter claim of election malpractice has polarized the Nigerian society with different individuals having one or two things to say, and it is with this that the Sunday Sun correspondent went to hear what one of Nigeria’s foremost nationalist and elder statesman, Chief Mbazulike Amechi, has to say about the presidential election 2019.
Here are some excerpts from the interview
How keen have you been at following the whole political process? What impression do you have on the elections so far?
I followed the election as much as I could. And I must say that even before the election took place and before the postponements by INEC, anybody who knows the history or the nature and character of politics in Nigeria and Africa generally, would know what was going to happen. From the time the judiciary was intimidated, terrorized, muzzled and reorganized, I knew that it was all in preparation for the election. And anybody who saw what happened knew that the result would either be what it was or if it was otherwise, it would be rejected by the incumbent. So, I wasn’t surprised at what has happened.
Now PMB has been declared the winner, what do you expect from his second term in office?
I expect him to be Buhari, and to act like the usual Buhari of 1983, and 2015. He won’t change.
But what are some of the things you’ll desire to see changed in this next government?
Well, for example, how can you have a country where the wealth of the country is produced, at least as at now, by one side of the country, and the wealth is being managed, controlled and owned 100 per cent by a foreign body? Oil and gas are the main sources of wealth of Nigeria as at today. Oil and gas are produced in the Southeast and South-south and some parts of Southwest. Yet the commercial and industrial bodies that control oil and gas are manned by people from outside, and the whole wealth coming from oil being managed by people who are outside the oil and gas producing areas. It does not make for peace. Maybe the militants are mellowing down because they’re being given some money. There’s a need to reorganize the country. We need to restructure the country so that people who produce wealth can at least have a say in the management of the wealth they produce.
This call for restructuring has lingered for so long. And President Buhari has said he believes that we need to focus on enhancing the processing of running the country, rather than agitate to restructure. Have you taken time to ponder from the PMB’s perspective?
How can he be the master of everybody? How can you know everything? So, whatever comes from his mouth or brain becomes an order or law in a democracy. It is not good.
Aside restructuring, what other things are your expectations?
The government should aim to restructure the country, improve on security, the economy, and reduce unemployment, and then there will be peace in the country and everybody will be happy. To me, it doesn’t matter who rules, what I’m after is good governance, whether the president of Nigeria is from Itshekiri, Hausa, Igbo or Yoruba, it doesn’t matter. What I want is the best man to rule the country. I want a true Nigerian to be at the helm of affairs. I want a patriotic Nigerian to be the head of the country. And to rule well, that’s all. Not everybody would be president at the same time, there can only be one president, so to me, I’m bothered about not who is president, but how well is he doing.
Ohaneze, and Southeast in general, where again on the losing side at the just concluded presidential polls. Do you see this playing against Ndigbo again in this dispensation?
I am not a prophet. I wouldn’t know what is going to happen. But I know Nigeria belongs to everybody. Nigeria belongs to all Nigerians. And no section of Nigeria should take the country as their own while others are slaves. There should be equality in the country.
Why do Ndigbo seem not to be getting it right politically in Nigeria?
I don’t emphasize politics in Igbo land. I’ve told the Igbo, take up the gift which God gave you and rise. God gave the Igbo the gift of sojourning, enterprise, sacrifice, hard work, trading and industry. Let Ndigbo comeback and set up industries in Igbo land, instead of going to Lagos, Abuja and Kano to trade. Let them come back and economically develop Igbo land. Then you’ll hold the economic power of the country, and then, you’ll be respected. If political power eludes you, because of the nature of politics of the era, then take advantage of the gift that God has given you and grab economic power, because it is there for you to grab and excel.
Don’t you think to have political power can halt and control those with economic power…?
No, no. There’re ways we can do things. For example, I’m here in my village where we have mineral deposits of Kaolin. Those in political power cannot come and stop me from doing something here. If Ndigbo want to set up a ceramic industry to produce tiles with what they have here, how can the man at Abuja stop that?
The Igbo have been pointedly accused of playing the wrong kind of politics to gain relevance in the scheme of things in Nigeria. Even Igbo leaders like Governor Rochas Okorocha at a time made the same suggestion that…
(Cuts-in) Who is Rochas? Is Rochas an Igbo man?
Are you asking of Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State?
Yes! Is he an Igbo man? Please make your research, you’re a journalist. Anyi ma ndi bu ndi-igbo (we know who the true Igbo are).
He bears an Igbo name, and is governor of…
(Cuts-in) He is a kind of governor. Are those the kind of people you quote that speaks for Ndigbo?
But would you agree that Igbo have not really played the right type of politics?
Well, I don’t know. People these days play politics in their way. We played our own politics of nationalism, patriotism and sacrifice. So whatever they are doing now good luck to them.
What would be your advice to Nigerian politicians at this election period?
I am now talking as a father because whether Nigeria likes it or not, God has made me the political father of the country. There is none older than me in the politics of Nigeria today. And so, my advice would to the two principal actors now. Buhari has won the election. And my advice to him is he should relax his rigidity in his next administration. He should strive to be more accommodating, forgiving, liberal and more Nigerian. And on the other hand, I’ll advise Atiku. He may have a very good case, and I think he has a very good case to head to court for his mandate. But I don’t see him succeeding. Not with the present reorganised judiciary. I don’t see him succeeding, and so if I were to advise him, I’ll tell him not to bother and allow things to be as they are. He shouldn’t go into litigation because even if justice is on his side, would he get that justice at the court? The judiciary has been terribly intimidated, muzzled and reorganised. So, why waste his money and time and energy.