Mr. Emmanuel Okotie-Eboh is the son of First Republic politician and Finance Minister, Chief Festus Okotie-Eboh. In this exclusive interview with our South-south Regional Editor, Shola O?Neil, the TV producer and founder of apolitical Progressive Alliance Movement (PAM) speaks on the performance of APC-led Federal Government, killings and Tuesday?s mass defection from the ruling party, among other issues. Excerpts
ON problems of killings and national unrest Recently, I read a publication made in a national daily it was a communiqu?, which touches on insecurity and killings in Nigeria. The communiqu?, signed by some prominent Nigerians on behalf of PANDEF, Northern Elders Forum, Afenifere Socio-Cultural Group and Ohaneze Ndigbo, appraised the security challenges and poverty in the country. While I salute their courage in this regard, I differ on one of their resolves, which amongst others is ?to insist on the emergence of a visionary and dynamic leadership which will effectively deal with our security and economic challenges, and ensure good governance in the country.?
Before you ask why I differ, let me quickly explain ? without any regret ? that it is unfair to say that a government that has the likes of Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Vice President Osinbajo (SAN) among other young and vibrant Nigerians who have excelled in their various fields and politics, is a visionless government. This is more so when the people who are asserting this were around corridors of power at one time or the other and similar things happened during those era which they never spoke out against or addressed.
None of these people cared enough to criticize the government of Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan during his six-year reign at a time when Boko Haram was annexing parts of our Federal Republic, carrying our carnages and wanton destruction of lives and properties were on the increase on daily basis. Then, where were these people who are now making such statements? You cannot help but to read political tone to what they are saying.
It is not every matter that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria should be held responsible for. For instance, the killing of a PDP Chairman in Lagos and the alleged attack on the life of Senator Dino Melaye, should they be linked to President Muhammadu Buhari? Issues of Boko Haram and herdsmen killings are creations of some individuals in Nigeria who want to score cheap political points by using it as a campaign instrument.
I don?t think I would have reacted if people like Generals Yakubu Gowon, David Ejoor, TY Danjuma, Abdusalami Abubakar and their likes were behind that statement; the reason being that they are not in the political arena but they are leaders who have managed to stay away from partisan politics. I also would not have reacted if they had done this during the past governments. I don?t believe that we have any bad tribe or religion. It is the individuals who are bad and politically tendered.
Criticism that Nigerians are worse off under the present government
The state of Nigerian roads prior to the emergence of this administration was nothing to compare to now. The East-West Road, Lokoja-Abuja, Ibadan-Oyo; Benin-Ore, Oshodi-Apapa, Lagos-Ibadan, etc., have been re-constructed to aid smooth travelling thereby creating security on the highways.
There are some states which have been under the reign of governance by a political party from 1999 till date, people are still saying that the governor of the states have not done enough for the people, not to mention a party that just came on board in less than four years. There is no magic in governance; we all know that human beings are the most difficult to lead.
Take for example the mass exodus of companies from Warri that has turned Warri to a ghost town; was it caused by Buhari? In fact it was during the era of President Olusegun Obasanjo, but the individuals in the political space of Delta State in collaboration with other supporters brought about the hunger and the rains of destructions that have driven Shell and their likes out of Warri. These were the handiwork of some political undertakers.
Yar?Adua cannot be fully assessed, as his reign was short-lived. President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, with the opportunities and goodwill he had, would have done better if he had not surrounded himself with sycophants, who would not tell him when he erred and advised him against future occurrence by telling him the truth when the need arose.
It is my humble suggestion that if the elder statesmen see anything wrong with the way the country is being run, they should make arrangements to inform the President on the lapses and give him suggestions to correct them. Also, the President should open a line/desk office where such complaints can be received and attended to by qualified persons who should in turn brief the President.
On the role of ?elders/leaders? in nation?s politics
The elders/political leaders should also use merit in choosing and adopting persons they allow to represent them for elective/appointment positions. People of questionable characters should not be presented. It will help in shaping the future of the country if round pegs are put in round holes and not the other way round. The bane of Nigeria is greed, lies, desperation for power by individuals who are the followers including, aides who abuse their delegated duties.
We have to change our dance steps for a better Nigeria. The blame goes to us all, to keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done; if not, restructuring alone cannot bring peace. First, we have to restructure our ways of doing things. Charity must begin at home.
On Tuesday?s cross-carpeting at the NASS
I have said it severally, the problem of this great country, Nigeria, is not APC or PDP; it is the problem of lack of political ideology and integrity by the current crop of politicians. That is the big difference from the days of the First Republic, NPN, UPN and others. It is a shame that people now see political parties as a vehicle to their selfish gains.
Yesterday, it was the APC that they were jumping into in droves, today it is the same party that they are leaving and returning to the PDP that they jumped from on the eve of the 2015 elections. They castigated the PDP, insulted the leaders that are now receiving them all because of their quest for power. This is very shameful, considering that our children are seeing all these things on television and they are reading about it in the papers. This is no longer politics; this is opportunism and a few people taking the Nigerian nation and the larger percentage of the people for a ride.
What we are seeing now is, if you don?t get what you want today, you jump to another party. The defectors have been there from the beginning; most of them were with Goodluck Jonathan and now they have gone back to the same PDP they derided and castigated. They are dogs eating their own vomits. If they have any modicum of shame, they would know that this is shameful.
Sadly, Nigerians are gullible; the villains of yesterday are today?s saints. We must know that the President cannot solve all the problems in three years. The people, who cannot get what they want from the present dispensation, are deceiving Nigerians, encouraging the killings and destabilisation of the country. They have all jumped somewhere and destroyed were they are leaving behind in their attempt to destroy the President, not minding if they destroy the country in the process.
How do this and other political events affect the peace and security of Nigeria?
This do-or-die politics is heating up the polity. With what they are doing now, they are encouraging the killings and insecurity in the country. The action is not encouraging; if we are looking for peace, how do we achieve that when all the attention is diverted to the drama of these men and women who should be setting the pace. In the past, politics was for the wise and cunny, but today, it is for the wicked and the greedy.