Deputy National Coordinator, Informal Sector, Mr. Chidiebere Okoh call for the recognition of the South-Eastern region by the Buhari- led administration.
The All Progressives Party (APC) has zoned the Senate presidency to the North East. Where does that leave the South East?
The Igbo should be represented in the leadership of the National Assembly. The Senator -elect representing Abia North, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu is very qualified to lead the 9th assembly and can work with the president to improve the living conditions of Nigerians. If he is elected as Deputy Senate president, the feeling of marginalisation by some Igbo will no longer be there. The Igbo would be glad because Kalu is the one who assured the Igbo that there would be genuine commitment to development of the South East region if the region voted for the APC.
Six senators-elect are gunning for the position of Deputy Senate president at the moment, what is your prediction?
It is normal for people to jostle for position and there would be just one winner in the end. I believe when the senate decides it would be proper for them to back Kalu to get the position. It’s only fair to do that and I know he will get the support from both parties. It’s not about APC now but the interest of the Igbo. The Igbo in the senate will support their brother, regardless of the fact that the APC failed to zone it to the South East. Despite the rumour going on that the position would be given to another region, I am convinced that Kalu is very qualified and should be rewarded for his hard work for the party. He has contributed to the development of the party in the South East region. I believe he will make it.
Considering the influence of god –fatherism, do you think lawmakers can rise in unison against the choice of one man?
Tinubu should emulate Awolowo and leave a legacy that can surpass his own. He is one of the strong leaders of our great party and we appreciate his contribution. The challenge is that new narrative will begin to spring up that will put in check the excessiveness of one man’s choice. Moves are already on to stop one man’s influence in the choice and decision of majority in the house. Findings have shown that the decision was influenced. It is supposed to be the choice of the party. What the party should be concerned about is having a Senate president who has a great example of character, charisma, who would be consistent and intellectually resourceful to drive the affairs of the nation, someone who will use the opportunity to serve the country not his own selfish interest.
Some Nigerians appear not to have confidence in the APC- led government because of the poverty level in the country.What is your take?
I disagree with that statement, Nigerians still have confident in the Buhari -led administration. His re-election is a proof that Nigerians have confidence in the ability and capacity of the president to continue to steer the affairs of the nation for another four years. The challenge is that those who make noise never had their PVC, they just cause confusion and stir trouble instead of supporting the government. Nigerians need to grow beyond party politics but the interest and development of our country should be the concern of every one.
Although, we are all aware of the current hardship confronting the people, it would be a thing of the past because the crisis rocking the nation’s economy is what the administration is bent on tackling. The necessary things to get Nigeria working again is what the president has been working on. The president is aware of the hardship and he is ready to turn things around.
Do you see any improvement in Buhari’s second term and what is your advice to Nigerians?
My message to Nigerians is patience. They have to bear with the government of the day. Our economy will bounce back. Nigerians should expect development, growth and robust economy in Buhari’s second term. The various challenges confronting the nation include resurgence of insecurity and other threat to national unity would be addressed. The president is working on the path of development and growth and I believe as a nation we should rally round and support the government of the day in order for it to be successful.