Muslim-Muslim Ticket Of APC Clear Agenda Of Islamizing Nigeria – Ogenyi
Godwin Ogenyi, Enugu State gubernatorial aspirant of the Peoples Democracy Party (PDP), in this interview with PATIENCE OGBODO-IWUAGWU,
speaks about All Progressives Congress (APC) Muslim-Muslim ticket, insecurity in South-East among other issues. Excerpts
How can you assess the three major presidential candidates of APC, PDP and Labour Party ahead of the 2023 general elections, in terms of who has the capacity to solve challenges facing the country?
The issue of rescuing Nigeria from the current situation should first of all be a decision of Nigerians. Every leader and every nation gets the kind of leaders they want and deserve, so first of all the nation must articulate what her problem is; it was after articulating the problem that we can begin to think of strategies and who has the capacity to implement it. My perspective none of them can rescue Nigeria. No, no can because there’s no programne of action. The people of Nigeria are not even willing. The greatest problem confronting this country is the sincerity of the tribes that make up the country. No presidential candidate or president for that matter is going to force sincerity on us. We have to be willing to build our nation, have a nation called Nigeria in the way other nations are viewed, a nation that has boundaries, respect for human rights, and sees value in her citizens. We should have a nation of values, a nation with high yields and builds the necessary infrastructure to develop these yields. A nation that sees her survival as internal not necessarily going outside to get everything we want, including taking decisions that they cannot fulfill. They will start programmes that they will not implement. We need leaders that can solve their citizen’s problems by matching their words with action. If they can start doing this even as the campaign is going on, then we will begin to look at who has the capacity to achieve that right now, but that has not been done. Nigeria is an entity made up of human beings until we have somebody who is passionate about education, formal and informal, who understands that when somebody is informed, he can make the right decision, we will not have achieved leadership. We need to jettison religious and ethnic differences and begin to think of every individual as a Nigerian. It doesn’t matter where the president comes from. We want people who can render service, leaders with vision who can render selfless service. So we want quality leaders that can give all Nigerians level playing ground and bring transformation in the lives of our people.
Analysts believe that the current insecurity in the South-East is as a result of activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), what is your take on this?
There is no proof that the people who want Biafra are the ones killing people. There are killings all over the country. People are killed in other parts of the country every day. People are killed everywhere, in Zamfara State, people can’t go to market for fear of being attacked or killed. Nigeria is in a desperate state, because people have lost confidence in this structure called Nigeria. People have lost confidence in the leadership and in the ability of the security operatives to be candid, honest and secure Nigerians. It was in the news that they discovered billions of naira from the former Army Chief of Army Staff, and since then what has happened to him? Is it not our ambassador today? Has he been recalled to answer to it? So there’s no determination on the part of the government to query the status quo and secure the country. Hunger, poverty, disenchantment of the Nigerian people are products of bad leadership, and have nothing to do with IPOB. I do not equally think that we are ready to proffer solutions to the situation. IPOB is agitating because of injustice. Just recently, they brought a list of 34 Appeal Court Judges, only four are from the South and out of those from the South, only one is from the South-East, the other 30 Judges are from the North. Are you suggesting that nobody in the South is qualified to be an Appeal Court Judge? So these are the kind of things that swell agitation so the South-East people should be accepted as Nigerians and be treated equally like other Nigerians. The people are marginalised so the government should listen to their cry and treat them fairly.
What is your take on the Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket of the APC?
If they like, let them bring two Imams or two bishops. The problems of Nigeria will continue. President Muhammadu Buhari is a Muslim. He brought Yemi Osinbanjo, a Pastor as the Vice President. Has anything changed in the last eight years? Christians are still being killed everywhere, so whether they bring Christian-Christian or Muslim-Muslim, it makes no difference. It is even better to have Muslim-Muslim ticket, so it can be very clear they have completed the agenda of Islamizing Nigeria. For me, what we need in Nigeria now is transformation. We need leaders who have the capability to transform this country.
What is the way forward for the nation?
When Goodluck Jonathan was the President, we had a National Conference in 2014, and Nigerians came up with the best of brains and ideas of what to do to transform Nigeria but unfortunately that document has not seen the light of the day because the people, who think that they are favoured, swept it under the carpet. How do you explain the fact that every important position in this country is held by Northern Muslims? Is that what you do to ensure comradeship and relationship in people? What we have at the moment can be likened to a slave master relationship. The citizens of this country need to sit down and redefine how they need to live together, work together and progress as a people. Right now Nigeria is 100 years backwards and it will take us a long time to come out of the dungeon because the truth about nation building is trust, confidence and that has been lost completely. We need to go back to the drawing board and ensure trust; equity and fairness is the guiding map.
Can you react to the statement credited to the APC Presidential candidate. Asiwaju Bola Tinubu that the Labour Party will labour for life?
It is certain that every man must labour, any man who will not labour is not realistic. Tinubu has also been labouring, so I don’t know why he is still working. He ought to have retired actually but he is still laboring so that is of no consequence. He is free to say whatever he wants.
Enugu state has been ruled by the PDP for over 16 years, do you see the possibility of an opposition party defeating PDP in 2023?
Enugu State is a very blessed state with ample opportunity to excel. The power to excel is resident on the will of who becomes the leader. I wish whoever becomes governor well. I was a commissioner during the administration of Sulivan Chime and whoever is here will agree that Sullivan Chime brought a lot of transformation to Enugu State. It was not because he was in PDP but because he was Sullivan Chime and a leader with a transformational agenda. He took the best opportunity to transform the state. After him, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi emerged and evidence of his work is there for all to see. I pray that the next governor, whether it is from PDP, APC, APGA, or Labour Party will also come in with a transformational agenda because what we want is a man who has the people at heart. We want a man who is willing to build a better Enugu state, a man who knows that the future and destinies of the multitude of the people, especially the young people, rest on his hands.
What is your reaction to the lingering Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), strike?
I graduated from the university 30 years ago, and there were strikes then, though they used to be shorter, but the strikes now last longer than necessary. From the look of things education standards have collapsed, poor infrastructures are all offshoots of the prolonged strike. Majority of the kidnappers, prostitutes and armed robbers on the road today are Nigerian graduates and this does not speak well of the country. I think that Nigerians, the government, parents and other stakeholders need to sit down and think on the way forward.