2019: Buhari’s Igbo Supporters Are Lazy Thinkers — Prof. Nwosu
Former Minister of Health, Prof A.B.C. Nwosu, has said that some politicians of the All Progressives Congress [APC] extract are “lazy thinkers”.
Prof. Nwosu said this in view of the common belief among APC Igbo members that President Muhammadu Buhari will hand over power on a platter of gold to an Igbo man in 2023 if they support him in 2019.
In an interview with The Sun, Prof Nwosu, who is one of the founding members of the PDP, wondered “that if you let the present order continue, after four years, you just go and pick it because it is your turn”.
He also wondered: “If the Igbo are not aggressive about who becomes president in 2019, and aggressive that they are in the centre of power, and they are represented in the centre of power, how can power where they are not represented be handed over to them in 2023?”
He then asked a torturous question: “What if the power where they are not represented hands it over to another person?”
Read the interview below:
Nigeria seems to be troubled on all fronts, killings here and there, why?
These are symptoms of a very central disease. Just like malaria comes with temperature, all kinds of things including, lack of appetite, we have a central problem. What Nigeria is suffering from is extreme concentration of powers at the centre.
Unless Nigeria restructures, which the major thing is the devolution of powers and responsibility, the country will continue to be troubled on all fronts. As money from the federating units continues go to the centre, all these problems will be occurring. There is the need to have peace in the polity.
Talking about restructuring, following the clamour for it, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has come up with recommendations on how to restructure the country. Do you buy into those proposals?
Some of the recommendations are ok. They should look at the 2014 National Conference, which I was part of. If there is any report that was more far reaching, that had many people involved, it was that conference, but a lot of things recommended are also in the El-Rufai report.
Subjecting the El-Rufai report to APC national committee, etc, is red herring. It’s just applying delay tactics so that Nigerians will say that the elections are near, and is not right. If it goes out by early March, as Executive Bill to the National Assembly, I will be happy.
People are asking why didn’t Jonathan do it; ok, why didn’t Jonathan also win the election? So, if the person didn’t do it, you also shouldn’t do it, even if you think it is the right thing to do. I don’t understand why they are delaying it further; if they mean it they can send it immediately as Executive Bill.
Some people are skeptical about the report because they reason that the president doesn’t believe in restructuring, and his party that cannot override him is coming up with such an idea. What is your view on this?
I believe, but the only way they can prove me wrong is if they send an Executive Bill this week; if they don’t do that, people will keep suspecting them, including me.
What is the shape of things to come in 2019?
We pray there will be presidential election; INEC said it would come. If we don’t do anything about restructuring and we think that the problem is only leadership, I don’t know what leader you would get. Will he be able to stop the herdsmen clash; will he be able to check all the numerous things, including moving the economy?
The entire thing is the courage to restructure and give states more resources. How can states be viable when the Federal Government has pocketed all the money? That wasn’t like that at independence, and instead of facing it, people are telling me that it is about youth and old.
When Michael Okpara was premier of the defunct Eastern Region, he was only 39 years old, and he did so much. Nobody ruled Nigeria before that was more than early 50, until former President Obasanjo came back, and Buhari came back. In their first time of ruling Nigeria they were in their 40s. It is not about age, it is what the person is going to do about Nigeria.
The Igbo are acting very strangely on 2019. They are some lazy thinkers, who think that if you let the present order continue, and after four years, you just go and pick it because it is your turn. It won’t happen that way if the Igbo are not aggressive about who becomes president in 2019.
What is your position of the reordering of the election schedule by the National Assembly with the presidential poll coming last?
The NASS has the right to make laws. How does it matter which one comes first; how did it go before now? Whether presidential comes first or last, what we want is a credible election that is not rigged, where we do not have underage voters. In some past elections, presidency didn’t start, while in some past elections it started first.
Why should people be splitting hairs over the NASS’ ability to make laws.
Talking about underage voters, as witnessed in Kano State council poll, what does this portend for 2019?
Disaster. Some people are already promising five million votes and more to their parties. Are they divisible into five million? You can only promise your vote. This portends disaster.
There is what I can call ‘PVC war’. Every region or state is mobilizing her people for voters cards. In 2015, we had 68 million voters, as at today, we have 74 million voters and registration is still on going. What does this trend mean?
INEC has a law that says you are eligible to vote in Nigeria if you are of a particular age, and guidelines. INEC should follow the guidelines and if there are any discrepancies, it is the INEC’s faults, and it will have serious consequences on the election. INEC should do its job properly. You cannot refuse anybody the right to be registered to vote, but if you go ahead giving so many PVCs such that underage people can have PVC, you are accountable.
How prepared is PDP for 2019?
The PDP is playing its roles as opposition. It wasn’t expecting to be in opposition, but it grew very arrogant and found itself there, and it grew more arrogant and found itself in a major problem, which the Supreme Court sorted out for us. It should teach PDP humility. In the end, it is the will of the people. A party that promises power to the people should in effect try and make itself very popular, and ascertain the will of the people.
It has already done so when it said it was zoning the presidency to the North, that in my view is correct, being one of the founding members of the PDP, who insisted power shift to the South.
In the 1994 Abacha Conference, the major insistence was on rotational presidency. So, when I see people who say it doesn’t really matter, I shrug and say there was a reason the learned people in Nigeria then, talking from the Southeast in that conference – Ojukwu, Ekwueme, Mbakwe ,etc, were there, and they all collectively led the Southeast in insisting on rotational presidency and everybody agreed and it was in that draft constitution presented by Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte.
They looked at it and said it makes for stability.
The same people who are shouting it doesn’t matter will soon shout it does matter when they lose the presidency, and find that is not because they were qualified, but somebody less qualified had used his political muscle to get it.
PDP got it right by that, and I think it got it right by listening to the people, and then we will have a good 2019 election.
What should be the position of the Igbo in 2019?
The Igbo are acting very strangely on 2019. They are some lazy thinkers, who think that if you let the present order continue, and after four years, you just go and pick it because it is your turn. It won’t happen that way.
If the Igbo are not aggressive about who becomes president in 2019, and aggressive that they are in the centre of power, and they are represented in the centre of power, how can power where they are not represented be handed over to them in 2023?
What if the power where they are not represented hands it over to another person?
Then you see the persons again drag out their knives and matchetes and go into the local markets and start shouting, Enyimba Enyi. This is the time to struggle to be part of the presidency.
They will either be the vice president completely and be represented in all national structures of power.
APC is enmeshed in crises; do you see PDP benefiting from that?
I’m interested in what is happening in APC, it is doing what is supposed to be doing as a political party contesting for power.
PDP should map out its own plans and not be looking across the shadow; it is like somebody running a race, when you are in your track, and you start looking left and right to see what others are doing you will not win the race.
I’m focused on PDP; we will try and run our race, pick a good candidate, pick a good vice presidential candidate, and look at the different constituencies, the different wards.
We had our own reconciliation after the convention, and we are still having reconciliation because the Southwest feels aggrieved and we should continue; we should continue, we should not say, let them be.
The important thing is that all of us must come together on the Nigeria project, so that we can define how to solve the central problem.
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