From Iheanacho Nwosu,Abuja
Dr Ezekiel Izuogu is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC). In this interview he spoke on a wide range of issues including his party’s handling of agitations for the restructuring of the country.
There has been a huge buzz in the polity over restructuring. Last week, the Gen Abdulsami-led committee advised the federal government to review the 2005 conference. Do you think it is a good step?
I don’t know why they mentioned 2005 because I have been to two conferences. I was in the 2014 and I was in the conference that took place 20 years ago. In each of these conferences, restructuring of Nigeria featured prominently. People are not happy with the way the country has been made a unitary system. Remember that Gen. Ironsi was the Head of State and northern leaders were accusing him of running a military system. The northern leaders didn’t like it. But after Ironsi, all the successors had gone into military system. So, Nigeria became a military system. The different parts of the federation, the economic interest and their desires are no longer respected. That does not make for a united federation. I believe in the unity of Nigeria. But in that unity of Nigeria, I will want a Yoruba man because his motive is objective. I want an Igbo man to believe that his ideals as an Igbo man are being achieved under his scheme. I want the Tiv, the Niger Delta, in fact, different parts of Nigeria to see that their own nationhood is also recognized and they are developing economically, socially and politically along those lines. That is what will make Nigeria a great country. If you do that, you will find a section of Nigeria that will invest in the manufacturing of cars and sell it and they would start manufacturing cars and the image of Nigeria will grow because Nigeria is manufacturing and exporting cars.
I believe that those who want to secede from Nigeria are clamouring out of frustration. The separation is not the solution. I believe in America. It is a country with so many tribes and races, yet they are able to manage the country and everybody is virtually happy because there is genuine federation. California is on her own, they can do a lot of things in terms of the economy better than 50 countries put together in Africa. So many other states are along the same lines because they have the capital to run an emancipated economy that is not subject to the dictates of the president.
But your party has also said it will not implement the 2014 conference. Are you disappointed?
I am disappointed. I am surprised that my friend, Chief John Oyegun, the national chairman of APC, has been a progressive unionist for many years. I am surprised that he is saying that. I am yet to see him on it. I cannot believe in a party that does not believe in restructuring the country. If you don’t believe in it, then what are you saying? How are you defending the progressives? Restructuring matters to the progressive person very much. If you remove it, you are now putting dictatorship. Whatever you dictate is what you believe in. So, I was very disappointed when I saw that in the papers, that APC is saying they don’t support restructuring. What then do you support?
The belief out there is that politicians are the ones talking about restructuring?
Let me be honest with you, there is a lot of insincerity in Nigeria politicians. I am still looking for sincerity in Nigeria politicians. It is the insincerity that is causing the problem. They know that there is great joy in restructuring. Restructuring is saying use whatever you have to grow the state and the nation economically. In synopsis, it means that everybody should work hard for the good of Nigeria and the world. But if we don’t support it, idleness will be encouraged. The account of the federation is money contributed by states. In other words, if you want to stay idle and want other states to contribute for you to live life, which is not good for the average common man.
Those who are kicking against the implementation of the 2014 conference report are also saying that in that report, delegates recommended the creation of 18 states and regionalism as it is being canvassed at the moment. What is your take on this?
I don’t think that is correct. I can go back to that report again and the report was very strong and restructured. Everything we decided there was based on restructuring. Creation of state police and all that was restructuring. Give individual states enough power to develop their own economy in the interest of the Nigerian economy. During the conference people didn’t sleep. We had the committee of South-South, South-East, South-West, and also Middle-Belt. We spent hours on each of these points and we finally agreed and signed it. Some people who are now disbelieving our decisions are doing so out of influences.
We have in the last few days seen the presidency and senate going back to the trenches over the issue of Magu. What do you make out of this?
I am not happy that the senate is doing that at this time. Buhari is in the hospital and the acting President, Yemi Osinbanjo, is trying to manage the country. They should have supported him. They should not engage him in a war. They are trying to engage the acting president in a war. They know that his position is weak. They are reasonable people in the senate. They should not start a war with the acting president at this time. They should work with him and manage the situation with him. Some of them are saying that they are going to impeach him and so on. They want to create confusion in the country. If you impeach the acting president now, who do you want to put in? Somebody must be eyeing the post. Why is he eyeing the post? We should be sane. The issue of Magu cannot cause a war in Nigeria. The president will soon come back. If they want to take up the post, no problem, but when the president is away and they want to create enemies with the acting president, then it is not good.
What is your take on the proposed South-East Development Commission because some people are saying that it was not done in good faith?
Why not? The South-East passed through more terrible situation than the North-East, the pogrom, the war where we lost over a million people, what is there for the institution to take care of the people? They have suffered terrible distortion. The economy was devastated. They were given only 20 pounds for all they had in Nigeria. Where is the compensation? Gen. Gowon said no victor, no vanquish. Where has the slogan of no victor, no vanquish been demonstrated? It is by helping the South-East. I didn’t meet Major Nzoegwu to plan the coup and people have said it was not Major Nzeowgu alone. There were Yoruba, Efik, and Northerners that planned the coup. Why not give the Igbo some compensation? If it is asking for that kind of institution, it is not bad, if you do it for North-East, why not for the South-East? If there is no discrimination in the land, why not do it? We can become a great country if we support one another. I like when Obasanjo stands up and say something good for the other part of the country other than the Yoruba. Jimmy Carter spoke up when President Obama was attacked left, right and center. Jimmy Carter came up and said ‘you are attacking this man because he is black.’ And immediately everybody started supporting Obama. We need elder statesmen like that. We need a situation where former presidents would come up and speak in favour of other parts of the country. That is what unites Nigeria. Fighting mood creates fighting mood and in the attack, then you find war. They should not be opposing the South -East Development Commission.
Are you comfortable with the direction the APC is headed?
The APC is my party and I am one of the founding members of the party. I am also a member of the national caucus. APC was formed to have and pursue progressive ideology. Any time the APC pursue an ideology that is not progressive, I will give up. I don’t think the party has deviated. In fact, the national chairman, Chief John Oyegun, Bola Tinubu, are my friends. So, I can approach them to air my view.
Just recently, the Russian authorities wrote to you concerning your research discipline. What is it about?
Our research project has been on the in-magnetic dynamic machine. Of course, and it is a perpetual motion machine. It is an engine that is not worked by any fueling system and power. It manufactures its own fuel and continues working for an indefinite period of time. It can work for 50 years, 100 years but is a perpetual motion machine. It can work for long. That is what we have been working on. It has not been easy. Few years back, the president of America, Barrack Obama, gave out $2billion to two companies to try to manufacture this machine. They spent the money, but they couldn’t do it. It is a miracle that it has worked in Nigeria of all places and we are very happy that the Russian federation, after studying it for years, decided to patent in it.
Where did they do that?
The patenting was done by the Russian patenting authority and many countries jointly gave their blessing and the Russian patenting authority scientist were surprise because it is something they have not done. Nigerians of all people have initiated it except the production. We are extremely happy.
Did they come here or you were invited to Russia?
No. Everything in patenting is done in the Russian federation. It is the best in Euro-Russia. When it comes to intellectual property, they are the best. They are fantastic. The arguments were not easy. In the end, the Russian scientists said they were highly impressed coming from Nigeria of all places. They were highly impressed by this achievement. And apart from the Russian federation, fifty-something other countries have fully patented including Switzerland, South Africa, Korea etc. Only 99 countries have accepted the work. The work is based on two laws of magnetic dynamics. The two laws work in time of the conservation of energy. In other words, they beat the law of conservation of energy. So, any country that has accepted this invention has actually said no to the law of conservation of energy as far as this is concern.
What was the financial cost of the invention and how were you able to raise the funds?
Well, if I must say, the financial commitment is massive. It is not something an individual pays for. But we have tried to pay for it. Friends have supported us. Friends have put in 65 million dollars or the equivalent of 160 million naira into this. A governor in the west has done that, some other friends have put in 20 million, 10 million, most of them, donations that is the amount of goodwill we have in this country that people trust us.
It is a wonderful thing to receive such funds in a country like Nigeria where there is massive corruption. Some people, in spite of the difficulty to believe the result of research, even professors never believed it. But people were putting money, but those professors believe it. Somebody like professor Anulamu, a retired professor of physics of the University of Nigeria Nsukka, has done wonders. He has gone to the U.S and delivered two lectures on this invention. He has written in a magazine of science where his article came out. So, they have accepted it to the glory of God.
When did this project start?
The project started 36 years ago. But I have read some intellectual law that if you have a patentable invention, you must not make it public. If you make it public, you lose it. So, we never gave it to anybody until finally we found a place. We filed the patent through the internet in Geneva, the headquarters of World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. Immediately we filed it, the computer would receive it and give you a receipt through the internet and that was what we did. Immediately that receipt got into our hands, the invention became yours. They now gave it to their professors to look at the invention whether it was genuine or not. They took 30 months to study it and at the end of it, they said it was a genuine invention. The International Property Organization published it their magazine. It circulated in more than 186 countries of the world. They wrote to us and said; ‘look you can now go to different countries and patent your invention.’ That was when we started going to countries. So, very soon, the result of the patenting process will start coming in. Many countries have not patented because they are scared. They said how can Nigeria be teaching us science and technology? Nigeria doesn’t know science and technology, so how can they be the ones teaching us? And I said it is not about Nigeria. Knowledge belongs to God. It is God who reveals secret to man for the blessing of human beings in the world. And God can reveal that secret to anybody he wants to reveal it to. There is no monopoly. That is why I celebrate the Russian scientists. They are wonderful and humble people. They have gone very far in science and technology and for them to come back and say, look, this one, we have not invented it, this one comes from Nigeria, let us recognize it and put our signature on it.