Dr George Moghalu, the National Auditor of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in this interview with Bode Olagoke, speaks on Igbo presidency in 2023 and sundry issues.
What do you think of the travel embargo IPOB placed on Igbo political leaders?
What embargo are you talking about? If there is any sounds very unreasonable. Based on what authority and wisdom would they place such embargo? What have the Igbo political leaders done individually or collectively to warrant such unreasonable embargo?
For me, it does not add up and if they are placing such embargo based on the assumption that they did not fight Igbo course, I will ask them what Igbo course they are talking about? I don’t see any course the Igbo political leaders are supposed to fight for that they are not fighting.
Is there any other best approach to fight a course in a democracy other than by argument, negotiation, consultation, convincing people and lobbying? I want to be told how they expected us to fight what we are not fighting otherwise, I would tell them that I don’t understand what they are talking about.
If they expect us to do what Ayo Fayose did in Ekiti as governor, giving the herdsmen ultimatum, I will tell them that it is not reasonable. The most important thing is that we are in a democracy where every decision is by consultation and convincing people because it is a matter of number.
We agreed to do it by consensus before we entered into democratic process. Whatever we want to do must be a function of number. We must convince people to see it from our prism. What we need to do as people is to continue negotiating and expanding our horizon.
We must reach out to as many people as possible so that we can fight our collective interest. We must unify ourselves, pursue a singular agenda and be honest about it. These are the realities I think we should be talking about.
Did the attack on Ike Ekweremadu give you any concern?
Of course, it gave me serious concern and I was not happy about it. It is not right to any right thinking person, no matter the way one wants to look at it. The action is condemnable and not the right way to go. Let us assume that the way to go now is to beat and tear the dresses of Igbo political leaders abroad, what will it change, how will it better our lots as a people and how will it improve our condition as a people?
The way to go is to bring our leaders to question and get them to account by rejecting them at the polls. If they claim that the leaders have not done a lot, what specifics do they want from them?
It is true that I may not be holding any elective or appointive position today to make impact, but the point remains that there is little or nothing those occupying the positions could do. The option left for us is to get members of the state Houses of Assemblies to pass laws that are of peoples’ interest and get the executives to implement them.
We have to organise ourselves into pressure groups to present common interest agenda to the federal government. We have to negotiate with other political interests and blocks as the way to go in a democracy not members of IPOB beating up Igbo political leaders abroad. If they think that the political leaders are not doing it well, they should teach them how to do it and encourage them.
Are you among the Igbo leaders uncomfortable with travelling outside the country as fallout of Ekweremadu’s attack?
Why should I feel uncomfortable or afraid of travelling outside the country? It is also wrong to think that if they could attack a PDP member, it may be worse for some of us in the APC. Like the Igbos will say, it is person carrying a load who should be afraid that it may break. I have nothing to be worried about. It is wrong to look at it from the prism of political party.
Are you satisfied with the way South-east governors and stakeholders have handled Ruga policy of the federal government?
It goes beyond the way they have handled the policy. The governors, who are the chief executives of various states, know that Ruga is not compulsory. The choice of having Ruga is optional and government has come clear on that matter.
Those who want it should go for it and get it. It is for the chief executives of our various states to liaise with the state assemblies and those we elected to represent us to look at our interest. If we think that it is okay with us, we can pass it and go for it, otherwise, we stop it. It is optional not compulsory that we must do it.
What do you say about the feelings among the Igbos that President Buhari did not assign juicy ministries to ministers from South-east?
What is incontrovertible is that Mr President gave ministerial slot to every state in the South-east and even appointed two from Anambra. But I have always argued and disagreed with people on this issue of juicy of political appointment. There is nothing like juicy ministry as far as I am concerned because all the ministries take the memoranda to the Federal Executive Council.
There is no senior minister at council level. I am satisfied with the portfolios Mr President gave to the ministers from the South-east. The highest ministerial position in America, with the model we are coping today, is the Secretary of State. We have Minister of Foreign Affairs from the South-east yet we are still complaining.
What is unimportant about Minister of Science and Technology in a country thinking about tomorrow? We have Labour and Employment, Minister of State for Education and another for environment. We have challenges of erosion left, right and centre and we have been given a minister to look after it, yet we are complaining. Since it is not for anybody’s personal pocket, I don’t see anything juicy about the ministries.
Will you still contest the 2021 Anambra state governorship election?
I am somebody driven by divine directions and principles. There are still lots of time, but all I need now is to be praying, engaging in consultations and knowing the will of God who gives to who he pleases at his own time. If it is his will, it will be done. It is not going to be easy for APC to wrestle power in Anambra, but we have to work very hard for it.
Are you comfortable with the report from the governors of Kaduna and Kano that APC may sacrifice zoning in the 2023 presidency?
I don’t want to think about 2023 now because it is still a very long time. The reality is that we will cross the bridge when we get to the river. If the South-east wants the presidency of Nigeria, we must work for it. Power is not given, it is taken.
We work for it by consultation, uniting ourselves together, identifying the need and our desire to get it. Though it looks as if we don’t have an Igbo political figure to coordinate our affairs, however at the appointed time, God will speak. Our biggest problem is excluding God out of this equations and calculations. I am one person who believes that God’s will must be done and if it is His will, nobody can stop it.
How true is the claim that APC is collapsing on the heads of the National chairman and national leadership of the party before the recent meeting with the Progressives Governors Forum?
There is no iota of truth that the party is collapsing on the head of our national chairman and the national leadership. Although I was not part of the meeting with the Governors’ Forum because I was burying my uncle in my village, the speculation that the party is collapsing on our heads is not true.
You see, I am getting tired of this speculation where people sit down as draw conjectures of what they think should happen. We should outgrow the realm of conjectures to what happened. I can confirm to you that there is no heat from the governors on our chairman to resign as much as I know.
As for the plot against him from the governors, I can tell you that politics is all about plot. However, I am not aware like I told you earlier and our chairman has not told us of any such plot or heat on him. I am aware that the DG of the Governors Forum wrote after similar letter from Lawan Shauibu, but I am not surprise about those letters.
If the DG of the Governors’ Forum wrote a personal letter to the chairman and thinks that the best thing to do is to make it public, that is his problem and I am sure the chairman will address it if he thinks the letter is necessary.