Obinna Odogwu, Awka
Former National President of the Youth Wing of Ohanaeze Ndigbo worldwide, Nze Tony-Uche Ezekwelu, has told Ndigbo all over the world not to go to bank with the declaration by the Southeast governors that they would be coming up with regional security to aid effective community policing in the region.
Ezekwelu, who is also the chief executive officer of Jubilee Star Engineering Ltd, said that the declaration ended on the pages of the newspapers. He said that the governors, based on the information available to him, are not serious with the arrangement and only made the statements to pacify the people and give them false hope.
In this interview with Sunday Sun, he also supported the call for the sack of the Service Chiefs, saying that they have failed Nigerians. He also spoke on other issues of national concern. Excerpts:
Are you impressed with the way Southeast governors are going about the formation of regional security in view of what their counterparts in the Southwest have done with Amotekun?
Well, not at all. More of sceptical and confused about what our governors are doing; whether our governors are actually concerned about the feelings, the wellbeing and welfare of the Igbo in the South Eastern Nigeria. In fact, to a very large extent, for the Southeast governors to come out to tell us that they have adopted the Nigeria Police system of community policing is rather quite disappointing. I feel highly disappointed and scandalized by our governors and what they are doing. Where the whole leadership of Igbo land under the umbrella of Ohanaeze Ndigbo have gathered for us to sit down and take a decision on the way forward for Igbo as a nation, our Southeast governors decided on their own to adopt the Federal Government’s system. The same Federal Government’s security and policing system that have kept us under this high rate of insecurity and killing and destruction in our land that necessitated the meeting of our people and formation of Amotekun and other regional security networks, meaning that our governors have just betrayed, sabotaged the security of lives and property and the interest of the Igbo in the South. That is exactly how I see their moves. May be the Federal Government went and promised them some money and other things. If the Nigerian government cannot fund its own police, Nigerian Police are being funded by our states; the Federal Government cannot provide the police with logistics, welfare. It is the states that have been doing that. The amount of money wasted on police in Anambra State, for instance, Enugu State and other states, is so humongous that I wonder if actually this is a federal police or state police that we are running. So, what the Southeast governors have done is quite unbecoming and unfortunate and unfair. Instead of working with their people, they decided to be working with outsiders who have been, to a large extent, responsible for the same insecurity – killing and destruction of lives and property – for which we have met to decide. So, I don’t accept what they are doing and I think that what they are doing is against the interest of Ndigbo. Till date, Anambra State government banned the movement of cattle on the roads in the state, but every evening herds of cattle move along the expressway here in Awka. Cows enter into the Government House, Awka to graze both in the day and in the night and our governors are toothless and cannot do anything because it is the same police that protect them. Southeast governors have sat before and passed an order banning herdsmen from moving along the roads and other areas with their cattle, but herdsmen have disobeyed that and nothing has happened. Southeast governors are toothless bulldogs.
Are you saying that Southeast governors engage in empty media propaganda?
That’s the direction I am going. Apart from that one, what they do is media hype. And most of the things they say, they don’t mean it. They are not serious about it. The Southeast governors, to a large extent, are deceiving us. They are more loyal and interested in protecting the outside interests outside the Igbo states they are governing. Since the Yoruba came together with their own people, have you ever heard that cattle are trekking along the highways, roads or nooks and crannies of Yoruba land? Those herdsmen and terrorists have ran away from Yoruba land. Now, Lagos has banned Okada. I was in Lagos when it was done. You see them carrying their motorcycles in trailers. I saw about seven trailers carrying motorcycles moving out of Lagos with speed. You know, most of these terrorists use those bikers as intelligence officers and those they use to monitor the environment. If you look at what the Southwest did, that is where we have governors; governors who have concern about the welfare and wellbeing of their people. Governors elected by their people. Southeast governors do their own jobs in the media only. Most of them have performed below average. In fact, former governors in the Southeast performed better than these present ones with just one or two exceptions. Our governors have different interests and agenda against the interest of the Igbo of the Southeast and we should open our eyes and start watching our governors now. That’s why I want to advise the Ohanaeze Ndigbo and other pro-Igbo groups especially the youth wing of Ohanaeze; they should come together and continue in the line of the formation and consolidation of the Ogbunigwe Security Network that we have been working on. I think it’s time we ignore the governors and protect ourselves.
You accused the Southeast governors of serving their private agenda other than that of the people. Are you trying to align your views with some insinuations here in the Southeast that some of the governors are serving their northern masters?
Let us look at it from this angle. We have the South East Governors’ Forum as at present under the leadership of Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State. For quite some years now, he has been the forum’s chairman. But if you look at his leadership so far, there has not been any single serious Igbo agenda or interest he has protected throughout this period. If you compare David Umahi’s leadership with that of the former Governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi, or even when Governor T. A. Orji of Abia State was Chairman of South East Governors’ Forum, you will see that Dave Umahi and the other governors are using that governors’ forum to serve their self interests. And they also seem, like the people have been insinuating all over, that their major interest is to impress and to protect the interest and agenda of the northern oligarchy. You cannot tell me that you have South East Governors’ Forum, anytime we sit down to discuss about the insecurity in the Southeast, small time they will be summoned to the Presidential Villa, Abuja and immediately they come back they change the tune of what they are saying. And I wonder whether Dave Umahi and his colleagues are Fulani governors of Nigerian extraction or Igbo governors of Igbo extraction. I wonder if the Fulani oligarchy interest is what they are protecting. In fact, it is more in the positive that they are protecting the northern interest than the Igbo interest. At times, people like us wonder if people like Dave Umahi are actually Igbo. Go to Ebonyi State now, it is a safe haven for these Fulani herdsmen and terrorists. In fact, the last time l went to Abakaliki in Ebonyi State, very close to the Government House, there was a kind of an estate that was being done. This is where I saw thousands of these Fulani herdsmen. And I doubt if most of them are Nigerians that are quartered around there. So, I think that what Dave Umahi is doing as a person is that he is interested more that the North will make him President in 2023 which is a fallacy; they will not. Dave Umahi should stop deceiving himself and being deceived by these people up there because they will not. They will only use him and dump him like they did to the others. These people are good at deception – use and dump. Even in his state, the people of Ebonyi State are also complaining about his leadership there. Give it to him; he has done good roads and bridges in Ebonyi State. But the security of lives and property of your people is the fundamental reason you are there as a governor. What he and his colleagues are doing as Southeast governors is anti-Igbo agenda and anti-Igbo development. And let me tell you, we are Igbo before becoming Nigerians. When Nigeria ceases to exist, we will still remain Igbo because Nigeria cannot continue to exist this way. Nigeria can only exist if the ethnic nationalities that make up the British contraption that was designed and put in place by greed and corruption of the British man, if it must remain as a country for long, the whole ethnic nationalities must come together to decide how it will be run or else, I bet you that Nigeria owes its existence just in few years to come. But what we don’t want is for it to end with war. But, however, if it becomes inevitable, we will defend ourselves and our territory. We are Igbo. My final take on this is that Dave Umahi is failing the Igbo very critically and seriously with other Southeast governors. We are no more happy at all with them. They are toying with our heritage, our lives, our future and it is no more acceptable. And on this note I stand firmly and completely with the Youth Wing of Ohanaeze Ndigbo under the leadership of Ambassador Dr Arthur Uchenna Obiora and other Igbo groups that we need Ogbunigwe Security Network in the Southeast and the governors should buy into it if they want to remain accepted as leaders of Igbo land. Or if they are tired of that, I think if you are too afraid to confront external agenda and protect your people, they should resign.
Some Nigerians have been calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the Service Chiefs because of rising cases of insecurity in the country. In response to that, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, said that they won’t be sacked as there are processes before that could be done. Where do you stand here?
You said some Nigerians. No! Majority of Nigerians are calling for their sack. Majority of the stakeholders in Nigeria – religious leaders, ethnic nationalities, stakeholders in the military, youths, students and others are asking for the Service Chiefs to be sacked. And as long as the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Muhammadu leaves the Service Chiefs as they are, we know that they are doing business with insecurity in Nigeria as has been insinuated by the CAN leadership and others. They are doing business with insecurity in Nigeria. Some people are gaining some money; some profits by the atrocities of the Fulani herdsmen terrorists, Boko Haram and bandits. That is why they are allowing them to continue. This is business that they are doing with the lives of Nigerians both economic business and political businesses. I don’t think that the Federal Government wants this insecurity to stop because that is the basis upon which the APC government of Buhari came into power. They said that they will curb insecurity. And that is the basis upon which maybe to an large extent, they also were able to hoodwink Nigerians that if they don’t re-elect Buhari the insurgency will increase. And maybe that’s what they want to use in 2023. But the fact of the matter is that those Service Chiefs must have to go. They are not useful to Nigeria. They are rather a burden. In fact, all the Service Chiefs are security threat to the corporate existence of Nigeria as at present.