Chief Nduka Anyanwu, an Ex-officio member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is one of the core Buharists in the South east. In this interview with BODE OLAGOKE, he speaks of the agitation in the region, and the need for President Muhammadu Buhari to reshuffle his cabinet, among other issues.
Agitations in the South-east
The agitation is not necessarily because of the issue of restructuring which has already been captured in our party’s manifestoes to address all the imbalance. What disgusts me most is the way and manner our people are agitating in the South-east. Since 1999 in South-east especially in my state, Abia State, I can tell you that things are not really working.
If I were Nnamdi Kanu, I would have agitated against the people that have ruled that state since 1999. I would have asked questions such as; what have you people done? Can you give us account of your stewardship since 1999? You can see in Abia State that all the infrastructures are all dilapidated. You can see poverty everywhere. If you visit there at night it is like a ghost town, nothing is working.
I can tell you, I stand to be corrected, 85 percent of the youth are jobless. Why do they agitate? They say an idle mind is the devil’s workshop because these youths are not doing anything, they are vulnerable. That is why Nnamdi was able to penetrate and direct them on what to do.
The issue is the governor, they should begin to ask the present governor what he has done and what he is doing to better the state. For the past two years, I can tell you that I have not seen any project in Abia state. The leaders just sit down at the Government House and share the money and it ends there. Nobody is speaking: Abians are not speaking, everybody is afraid.
The problem is not President Buhari but their leaders in the state. Let there be a good road and other infrastructures, even the Government House in Abia state is like three-bed room flat. All the elders in Abia state are not speaking because of what they are getting from the governor. I can say this again that this is the right time for EFCC and ICPC to visit that state and begin to ask questions. If they don’t get to the root of this matter, today IPOB has been proscribed, tomorrow it might be one because poverty is visible in Abia state.
What do you see as remedy for these agitations?
The remedy should be total re-orientation of the kind of leadership we have now. The government in Abia state should begin to do the right thing because all the schools are dilapidated. All the hospitals, If one gets sick today in Abia state, he or she will die because hospitals are not functioning. The best thing is to create job opportunities for the youths, rehabilitate dilapidated structures, give hope to the hopeless youths; that should be the remedy.
Was the Biafra issue mismanaged by the government?
Government did not mismanage anything. President Buhari did the right thing. It is like you are the commander; somebody is facing you, telling you all sorts of things, because if Buhari didn’t react, didn’t ask these people to go there to calm things, it would have shown that he is very weak. The federal government should rehabilitate those youths that are not working.
How strong is APC in Abia state?
Abians are very likely to vote for Buhari in 2019 if he re-contests and indeed we are going to ask Buhari to run in 2019. Nigerians need to believe that Buhari is the best thing that has ever happened to this country. Sadly, few persons that are working for him in the South-east are not really taking care of that zone, they are not doing much.
Like in my state, the minister isolates himself from the people, he is un-marketing President Buhari in the state. Is he the minister only for Abuja? I don’t think he has visited the state APC secretariat. I don’t think he has electoral value in his ward. That is we have called on President Buhari to reshuffle the cabinet, bring in somebody who loves and is loved by the people. I expected the Minister of Trade and Investment (Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah) parley with the agitators but the man has never spoken a word on the agitation.
If you want to appoint a minister, you must look for somebody who is ready to work for you, not somebody who delights in using high sounding words to confuse the people. Politics is not a child’s play, it is a very serious business. We need experienced politicians. There are a lot of us that highly educated in Abia state who can do the job better than him. We are saying this because of the issues of agitations in South-east. I am asking them to look at core party people that had worked and will work for President Buhari in the South-east.
The one that is representing us in Buhari’ cabinet now is not representing the interest of Abia state, we don’t know him, he’s not part of us. All the time we were campaigning, using our money to do all sort of things, they called us all sort of names, he was not there with us. Why is he a minister in Buhari’s cabinet? We need an experienced person who will be able to reach all parties to bring things together. I am saying that we want Abia state to be an APC state by 2019 but with the way things are going now, if we don’t make changes quickly now, we won’t get there.