Goodnews Eichie aka John Africa is a veteran journalist and was one- time the Features, Political and News Editor of the Benin based Nigerian Observer Newspaper in the eighties. He was also the Chairman, OMPADEC Contractors Association.
Now based in PortHarcourt, the Rivers State Capital, Mr. Eichie who is the National Coordinator, South- South Ideological Forum in this interview with Gabriel Enogholase in Benin speaks on the impeachment threat of President Goodluck Jonathan by the House of Representatives, his perceived move to contest the 2015 Presidential election, the war against corruption and other national issues.
On move by the House of Representatives to impeach the President:
Well, there is no need to impeach the president because the issue that are been canvassed or that are precedent to the impeachment threat are themselves what all those who are planning to impeach the president are guilty off. You see, we seemed to all be guilty of negligence and improper responsibility for our national discourse, development.
There is today a complete lack of vision in every segment of our society. Talk about the Churches, talk about mosque, talk about the government itself, talk about the presidency, talk about governors, all of us, we are suffering from a situation of National Apostasy and Denudation. We need to revamp, we need to rejuvenate, and we need to think straight, there is complete visionlessness; People only talk about money and not the issue. You can see today the structure of our country is in high rising building of individuals while the roads are suffering from potholes all over the country.
Jonathan is not only the guilty one, but perhaps Jonathan himself has not been able to actualise the divine mandate that God has given to him. Jonathan became the President not because he is the best Nigerian, not because he has campaigned, not because he has wanted to be president, but because God wanted to prove to Nigerians that he is God Almighty, he is the mighty man in Battle, he is the I am that I am, he is the only one able to prefer solution to our problem.
That is why he picked a man from the minority of minorities, a gentle man who is not even overtly ambitious, who under normal circumstances will be struggling to be a governor or a deputy governor to become the first in the history of Nigeria and in the History of this continent. He was nominated as a deputy governor, by providence. He became a governor, by providence, he became nominated as a Vice President by providence he became president.
The Lord God Almighty was there for him removing every obstacle from his way; Jonathan should sit down and do his work. I am one of those who have received vision about Nigeria president. And it is a very simple thing; the Lord has said that Jonathan should know and accept the fact that He himself made him president and all the glory of his presidency should go to Him and not man because no man would have worked this miracle.
He was forced to be a deputy Governor then from there he became a governor. By the Error and commitment of another person, then he became president by providence by the death of another person.
Today he is the King and president of the Country. He doesn’t need money, all this corruption the first thing the Lord expect him is to do is that he should be a model. Give the Lord all the Glory that His Majesty made him the president of this country and then the next thing is to model a vision for national development. That will start by himself, his wife not been corrupt; not looking for government fund.
In that case, it will be possible for him to deal with the issue of corruption. If everybody know that the president does not take money or anybody around him does not take money, people will sit down and say no we don’t want government money; the president is not corrupt and then in that way what do you find, corruption will plumage automatically, it will come down to the barest minimum.
Today, we find a situation where issues of the government are been trivialized; trivialized into minor issues.
Those of us who are the leaders in the Niger Delta Region have pained because Jonathan is our love son, he is our noble person, honourable person. The issue of impeachment does not even arise. If the national assembly say, Mr. President come and tells us, that it is an exercise in trinity that is going on in the country.
That is the presidential goal, otherwise what is even wrong with principle officers of National Assembly say, okay let us go and meet the president. So they themselves are guilty as Mr. President, even guiltier than Mr. President. I mean it is an issue of going to Equity with clean hand. We must all be ready for the good of the country.
The National Assembly is house of iniquity; all forms of iniquity that you need are there; from the case of Lawan, it is obvious there is no hallowed man in the National Assembly. They are men and women of varied devastation level. However there may be a few that are on the sideboard.
However, we need progress in our country; we now have a vision and the tegisvastation level. However there may be a few of them who may be above the board. However, we need progress in our country.
The Lord gave so much power to the president that even the Boko- haram we are talking about now, the Lord said that if Jonathan follow law the rule Jonathan will make a broadcast, Boko- haram will say, we will drop our guns for the sake of Mr. President.
Jonathan did not do any campaign but there was a national awakening, emotional drive for him to become president. What is the issue of Permanent Secretary, a wife of a president who governors go to way for. What is the issue permanent Secretary. Those things are aberration.
They are not necessary. We should begin with important issues. For instance took at the Jos crises. I had an NGO in Jos, Peace Building Network and in Jos, some of the crisis is a result of economic determinants. When the Jos Steel Rolling Mills was working and everybody was gainfully employed, there was no time to think of whether you are a Hausa Muslim or Christian.
The Christians and Muslims worked together. Today people are idle, there are no jobs and so with little irritation, there is extreme anger, extreme quarrel and at the end of the day, this quarrel will now start accusing emotional balancing and conflict.
The issue of crisis in Jos can easily be resolved; resolved by some certain commitment to peace process. I have been to Jos several times in the recent time. The Hausa, the Biroms and other tribes Want peace, but there are people who are probably not from Jos, who armed them, give the guns, give them uniform and that continue to aggravate the problem. Ordinarily, the Hausa/Fulani Herdsmen are very peaceful people.
Today, because there is somebody that is aiding them, they are given guns; they have since attained a new dimension. So, there is in the in the first instance, a need and a commitment to the peace process, similarity and honesty. All the money we need in the country for development, if you depress corruption you will find that you have more than 50% of our country budget to work with.
Today you want a contract. People are asking for the mobilization and extra before you are given a contract and when those people come to the public and start talking, you have to do your contract, I mean those are negative public proclamation because the public proclamations not in consonance with the private proclamation.
It is obvious that there is anti Jonathan Sentiment which is responsible for the present hula- ballo in our political system. In the past some people in the North particular of the Hausa/Fulani pedigree were use is just government and taking form government and taking from government and all that. Today, with power leaving them for some time, that has becomes an exercise in futility; impossibility.
Will the chaos in the country and the anti- Jonathan sentiments and the move by the North to have power back by 2015; do you think Jonathan can survive his first tenure in office?
The survival of Jonathan depends on Jonathan. God said Jonathan is the only one. God has given him leadership.
It is for Jonathan to make a good use of the power, the mandate that God has given him. God has said, give me the glory, he did not give God money for God to give him presidency.
So he does not need money, he does not need corruption in the presidency for him to become president or to remain as president. That is one; the Lord say Jonathan should model leadership by showing that he will not be corrupt, himself and his wife. Two; he should integrate the country; bring Hausa/Fulani/Birom/Edo/Esan/Ibo together as one country because we have lived together for took long. There is no need for us to separate now.
And to separate now will be costly. Costly in the term of friction and tension that will bring bloodshed, bloodstain, we must avoid it Jonathan should remove all stain of cacophony dejivastations, men of iniquity, the men that will tell him what he want to hear.
September is around the corner. Are you not sending him a signal to do what the National Assembly says he should do?
You, the press are not doing your work. Before the election I told you that the Lord gave me a vision, has any of you be able to sit down and articulate my vision word for word. Before the Election I told you that this man is going to have an overwhelming majority and there is not going to be a run up; that he was going to win over 60%, now how many of my interviews one time have you published word for word from the beginning to the last.
There has been no error. God revealed those things to me in a vision and the power of the president, God revealed all to me if the president is doing it right. The president himself should do his work.
The National Assembly is saying, implement the budget; the budget should be implemented. We do know that the National .Assembly themselves are not honest; they are looking for money to do their constituency contract and you know that in this country most of these contracts are not well done the National Assembly members are involved.
Where a contract of say a N100,000, the National Assembly will put it as N3, or N4 million. Are you not aware? The National Assembly what they are doing is a subterfuge; they are setting trap for Mr. President because they have discovered that even then before the president there are omission and commission. They neither can say we are going to equity with clean hands, but the president should realize that there is divine mandate he has to execute and once the president is right everything will go on well in the country.
Don’t you think Jonathan created the room for corruption since he refuse to publicly declare his assets.
I do not think that if he did not declare his asset, but there are laws guiding all these things. For instance, even if a president was corrupt, a president can decide, okay, these things are wrong. It was done before in this country. When Gen. Murtala Mauhammed stated his own revolution what did he do? All the things he had he gave them up. Today there has been what we called national corruption, even those who are not corrupt.
Those who are over corrupt force you to do it. You do a contract and do it well somebody I will not pay you until you give me money. So there is no single man in this country who is not corrupt, who is not a sinner. Those of us that are saying we are holy and today, they have tied you leg and hand so every body have been involved in all form and corruption. We must check it, we must reverse the trend, and the president should model it.
There should be a different in the habit. There is an issue of former president wife Turai and the incumbent president’s wife fighting over a land. What is land, if the former president’s wife needs a land. Forget it, give her the land, the husband is late. Should those things becomes an in issue.
Why can’t we restrict our greed for the interest of the country? The country needs the unity of vision and governance and this will define the quality of performance, the quality of delivery, the quality of articulation.
Today we have around the president a few individuals who are desperate for position instead of been part of success of the regime. The short coming of the regime did not start today. It started form the Babangida’s regime but however, today the mandate is Jonathan presidency and he cannot run away from the fact. If he has the mandate by the grace of God he must provide solution to Nigeria problem. Most importantly, the anti-Hausa/Fulani Jonathan sentiment, because they are of the catalyse of destabilization of the country by those who have boasted that they must destabilize Jonathan’s regime. However its of note that those that are threatening to destabilize Jonathan’s regime so that he will not be able to run for a second term don’t even have the interest of the country.
The centrifugal presence is dislocating the country balance and their call is questioning the corporate existence of this country. They can do any thing with impurity, those who carry gun and shot people in their place of worship they themselves cannot be at peace when the road to Kigali is in place because right now we are working towards the road to Kigali where within two months, more than 100 people were killed and because we have a larger population, what happened may be a kids play.
There is disaffection and disaffection. This is not the time to play, to misbehave. The leadership of the Niger delta must take blame because most of them are interested in what they can get from Jonathan presidency than offering him quality advice. Babangida, Buhari, Obasanjo cannot be excluded from the shortcoming of this country because they have answers to the president. They cannot wait for the country to collapse for them to be happy. We must corporate with each other and give the due leadership if there is problem in the country. War will not select those who will die.
Any attempt by anti- Jonathan elements to remove Jonathan either by a coup or impeachment will be counter production. We need dialogue, we need good government and you cannot have dialogue and good governance when you yourself you are always begging for contract, men who love this country should not be looking for what they will get from the government; This is the only way we can avoid the journey to Kigali.
Nigeria cannot stand as one nation because a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand.