BY LEVINUS NWABUGHIOGU
Rt. Hon. Uzo Azubuike is former Deputy Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly. He currently represents Aba North/ South Federal Constituency on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the House of Representatives where he also chairs the House Committee on Public Petitions. In this interview, he speaks on his intention to run for the governorship of Abia in 2015.
As 2015 draws near, the clamour to have an Abia State governor of Ngwa extraction is gathering momentum. What is your take?
First of all, let me use this opportunity to thank the Abia State Governor, our own dear Chief T.A Orji, who is already leading the campaign for an Abia State governor from the Ukwa-Ngwa extraction in 2015, and he has remained consistent in the campaign. He say it anywhere he goes. And his emphases on this has been for equity and fairness, that power should move to Ukwa-Ngwa region.
I know the governor that he does say what he can’t do, or what he does not have the capacity to do. He knows the implication of what he is saying as the sitting governor, and before he came to the public to say, it is a project he will accomplish. As far as Governor Orji is concern, handing over to an Ukwa-Ngwa man in 2015 is part of the legacies his administration is determined to leave behind.
He is not alone in the campaign, I read an interview Chief Onyema Ugochukwu, a very senior Abia State citizen granted to The Union Newspaper recently, he also said this same thing; that power will move to Ukwa-Ngwa in 2015. That means that Abians are united in the campaign. Having said that, let me also say that to us, the Ukwa-Ngwa people, as far as 2015 is concerned, we are firm about it, for us, 2015 is not negotiable able.
But a group known “Enyimba Patriots”, in an advertorial, accused you of saying 2015 has been thrown open to all zones of the state.
I saw the advertorial, but deliberately refused to respond to it because those behind it, as far as I am concerned, are men of myopic reasoning. They’re men of little mind, trying to be clever by half. If they were brave, they should have sponsored the advertorial in their names, instead they chose a pen name. There is no group known as Enyimba Patriots.
Again, to show how naive and unserious they are, they were not able to quote me in their advertorial. That shows they are not serious and cannot be serious. However, I didn’t say what they alleged in the advertorial. May be, the local newspaper that accosted me in my office in Aba, came from them with a mindset to misquote me. I have always said that we, the Ukwa-Ngwa people, should not think because the governor and other well meaning Abians are already supporting us in 2015, that people from other zones will not contest the governorship in 2015.
From 1999 till date, people from all zones have always contested the governorship even when there was an understanding that the governor will come from a particular area. So until those behind the faceless Enyimba patriots decide to show their face, I will not dignify them with further response. But let me say that in 2003, when Orji Kalu was running for his second term, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, in 2011, Chris Akomas also contested. In 2007, when Govenror Orji was runing for his first term in office, people of Ukwa-Ngwa also contested.
What makes you think Governor Orji will keep his word of handing over to an Ukwa-Ngwa man in 2015?
It is normal for those who don’t know Governor Orji, or those who don’t have direct contact with him, to think he will renege on his words. But those of us that know him, know he is a man of his word.
When he said he was liberating Abia from an old order, a lot of people didn’t believe him, but we knew he was not going to leave any stone unturned. Today the story of Abia is not longer the same. Abia has never been united as it now. He made the promise base on equity, fairness, love and unity that he will hand over to someone from the Ukwa-Ngwa by 2015. So those of us from the Ukwa-Ngwa part of Abia State, have infinite confidence him that whatever he says he will do, he ensures that he does it.
We have no iota of doubt that through his support, the Ukwa-Ngwa man will emerge as governor of Abia in 2015, who that Ukwa-Ngwa man will be is a different thing. That will be a matter that will be addressed at the right time, but as for whether that promised he made will be actualize, we know that from his track records, we have no doubt that it is going to be actualized.
How may you asses Gov. Orji so far?
I have said before that there is no reason or basis I for comparison on Gov. Orji’s regime with any other previous regime in Abia State, whether military or civilian. I said this because, the first thing Gov. Orji concerned himself with in Abia was the restoration of peace and unity in the state. Without peace and unity, there cannot be meaningful development.
Some people didn’t like his initiative for peace and unity in the state, and that brought about the inconveniences that also gave him the latitude to liberate the people of Abia State from bondage and to liberate himself. I can remember vividly what the governor said the day the liberation was concluded. He said and I quote him: “Today, our eyes are opened. It is a day Abians have heaved a sigh of relief. I was pushed to the wall and even beyond the wall and I am justified in any action I am taking now.