Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Washington DC Nigeria and other debtor countries have been warned by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of risk associated with debt repayment following growing global debt levels. This is even as the IMF has warned that voters’ disillusionment raises the threat of political developments that could destabilize a range of economic policies in…
From Okwe Obi, Abuja
Chief Chyna Iwuanyanwu is a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He said 50 percent of the PDP’s problem was self inflicted by the members, just as he declared that presidency and its agenda are All Progressives Congress (APC) greatest enemies.
Do you think it is too late for the PDP to bounce back?
My interest is the reengineering going on in PDP, if we get it right, it is goodbye to APC and that is why I am praying, singing and begging, let us do it right. This is a party that has been in government for 16 years and a coup called amalgamation of parties, which is the biggest fraud in Nigeria happened. I call it a fraud because up till today, CPC and Buhari have their own agenda. As for the other parties, you can see the fragmentation inside that place and that is why there is fragmentation, agitation, crisis in Nigeria.
The National Assembly and the president are not in good terms, and we have all kinds of things because we do not have one party called APC. Now PDP is one party, check the origin of the party, a group of prominent Nigerians from across, various political divides came together and formed it. It was not a party formed on anger of let us remove Jonathan or that party must go to the north. The ideological foundation was strong, patriotic, and national, we may have gotten it wrong because of some people that we brought into the system. If they sit here with me I will tell them that you contributed this, we knew what they did. Did we have a failure, yes we had a failure, have we learnt from it, that is what we are saying, this is a human mind thing, while we are doing that, some people are already picking tickets in the dream.
They are working, manipulating, so that the tickets of presidents, vice Presidents and all would be given to them, those are the ones that are anti PDP, but this party has been here for 16years, before circumstances brought it down. Fifty percent of its problem was self inflicted the wrong choice of leaders and wrong choice of policies. We have greater opportunity, having learnt a lesson to be able to rise again.
If APC had provided a credible alternative, it would have been goodbye to PDP, but unfortunately, my people say if a woman marries two husbands, you will know the one that is better, not when you marry one you start saying this man is a very dangerous man, leave and go and marry another one, then you know the one that is danger and dangerous. Nigerians have married two wives, what we are seeing today is not an APC government; Buhari had his own agenda rode on the platform of APC and got to where he is. So the greatest enemies of APC are the presidency and its agenda. You cannot have a political party unleashing pythons and gorillas and hyenas in a whole zone of five states when the election is coming tomorrow, a good political party thinks of winning an election and they don’t say to hell with people. So you cannot possibly out of 14 heads of security agencies in Nigeria, 11 are from one part of the country, two from the south-west, south-south just one which is Chief of Naval Staff, in the south-east, not even the civil defence man. So if there is a meeting of national security architecture, nobody would represent the south-east. So there are lots of things they have not done and it is too late for them to do them.
I can tell you that right now in the minds of hungry Nigerians; the last Christmas was their worst. All this GDP, OPD and others are world bank songs that don’t matter, what matters to the Nigerian citizen is how much is rent, how much is Garri, how much is yam and we have seen that the foreign exchange situation is very bad. What we are seeing is motion without movement and they have admitted it to some extent. I am saying if we put our house in order, there would be a mass movement of people and once there is a mass movement, the rest is history.
Buhari’s administration has been characterised with many scandals, would you say the president is condoning corruption?
Obviously, there is corruption, this president may be an honest straightforward man, but if an honest man surrounds himself with dishonest people and they are destroying his integrity and up till today he has not fired anybody, then something is wrong. A tree cannot make a forest; the government of Nigeria cannot fight corruption because the corruption that is killing Nigeria is perpetuated by government officials. The only people that can fight corruption is the people of Nigeria. The government must give the ownership of that project to Nigerians, but if it is a government as it is today, government instruments for whipping the bad boys into line has already failed on arrival. No credibility, no integrity and if the president does not see it, it is his own well known integrity that is being rubbished and we are sad about it.
What do you think is wrong with the structure of Nigeria?
The truth is that all the structures you see here came up during the war as a way of removing the resource areas, oil and everything against the east to make sure that they don’t rise again. They then created this humongous, very expensive administrative structure that is now consuming us. In the process, they gave south-east us only five states; North-west has seven, so already there is an imbalance. In the national assembly, they have six senators ahead of us and this thing that happened is a game of number, so we have been disadvantaged by six already.
When you look at the structure of Nigeria, it breaths injustice and we say can’t it be corrected and you give us another one. All the conferences they have attended had said they should give, but a particular section of the country said it would never happen, because they think that they won the war and that the booties of the war would continue to be shared. They shared it for 15years and even at that they are not developing, something is wrong. Whether you like it or not they did a unitary system and carried the proceeds of what we drink there in Lagos which they don’t drink, to develop the in the north, they brought the whole vat to Abuja and Yobe and Sokoto to share what Ambode and others drank in Lagos. If you don’t drink, why take the vat from there.
Then if you analyse the situation, you realise they are getting what they don’t deserve. Bayelsa that is the main oil place has eight local governments, Kano has 44, every month, all the local governments come to Abuja to take equal share, so Bayelsa that brings the oil goes home with eight, and this is not fair. All the federalism that we knew is that people decide to come together, not somebody at the top bringing everybody together by force, which is what happened during the civil war. So we are now saying let the federating units, Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo sit down in a conference and decide how they want to live together.
Several conferences have been held, Obasanjo scored through his own because we removed Ten Ten from there. We had gotten everything but there was an element he wanted -to perpetuate himself as a Pharaoh and as soon as that was thrown away, he also threw the thing away. So Jonathan was weak and said let him wait until he comes back. So the position of the north is that they would lose something, they would lose all they have been taking unfairly for 15years, but they will gain something, it will force them to look inwards because this cashier type of arrangement every month, governors rush to Abuja to get money in hotel, share with accountant and fly to London with the rest, will not help the region.
The north, in spite of the huge money they are getting, remains the headquarters of poverty, headquarters of ignorance and headquarters of illiteracy and diseases. The day these people will rise to find that their real enemy are their leaders and not the Igbo man, not Yoruba man, not the Hausa man, not the Ijaw man, there would be a revolution in the north that can consume their leaders. So it is important that they create an environment that will make them take their destinies in their own hands because oil will soon go, that’s what we hear.
How do you think Nigeria can get it right politically?
Once the head is rotten, the body follows, leadership is our problem. This is one of the most blessed countries in the world. Why would Nigerians choose a President who doesn’t have school certificate in this knowledge driven world. Where we are today is a product of leadership, leaders are people who help God to look after his most precious creation which is man, but these ones use all the resources God gave to us for nothing. Just look from Sokoto, massive land passing through different climates, there is nothing we want that we cannot get. Look from Borno straight to Badagry, God put some under and some on top, management, which is leadership, is what we are lacking.
The process of recruiting our leaders is corruption and imposition, but they don’t want this change, even the change they are preaching, change means restructuring, now they say they don’t know the meaning, change is not Igbo, Hausa or Yoruba language, you offered me something when I was in my house, you told me this is what you want to do for me and I bought it and voted for you, then you turn round and say it begins with me, back to sender, it begins with them.
They have to give us what they promised us in 2015 that is the only way we can move on. I am a beneficiary of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Immediately after the war, I had scholarship in Federal Government College, Warri, I am the national president of the old boys. The society welcomed me, gave me Federal scholarship, from there I went to University of Lagos, from there I started walking round the whole country, today I am in Abuja, I have seen the beauty of this country, I will not want anything that will take me back to a banana republic. This is an opportunity, but we are saying let there be justice, fairness, let us have a leadership that will galvanize the energy of the younger generation so that they can move us into the next level.
With all due respect to President Buhari, he has been a herdsman that is why his constituency, no matter what they do in Nigeria, he will not touch them, it is a conflict, so we want young boys that went to good schools, to take the driver’s seat. Let us go back to creating a level playing field, justice, fairness, equity and enable the people of Nigeria to choose their leaders.