Chief Anayo Goddy Uwazurike is a lawyer, President of Aka Ikenga (the Igbo socio-political tink tank) and a delegate to the National Conference in Abuja. In this interview, he reviews the conclusions reached at the Confab and the Igbo benefits therefrom. He says President Goodluck Jonathan needs to do more to justify the confidence the Igbo reposed in him in 2011. Excerpts:
By Tony Nwankwo
Snippets from the Conference showed the core North ganged up against the South-East. What happened?
Well, I think we have what I would call the hardliners from the far North. Remember that North is North that is why we call them the Far North now. And in the North East we have so many Christians. They were not opposed to anything from the South East. Then we have the North Central. When you have the combination of North Central plus parts of the North East, and the whole South, then any opposition will not work. All these areas came with agenda of what they wanted changed in this Confab. But the hardliners from the Far North said they didn’t want any changes at all. That they were not there to restructure Nigeria. That was their swan song.
What did you bring to the South-East at the Confab?
The South-East came out with a lot. We were looking for power rotation, North / South among the senatorial zones, we asked for that and we got it. We wanted state police, we got it. We wanted local government to move from the control of the federal government in terms of funding, creation and making it a state affair guaranteeing its independence, so that once you are elected you cannot be thrown out, and we got that. I don’t think there is any item we proposed that we did not get.
There is this thinking that the Hausa/Fulani North would want to rule this country forever. What do you think informed this thought process?
There was this eminent psychologist who said that the primary occupation of man after food, shelter and wealth, was the domination of his neighbour. That is what is going on. Those who have been in power, as long as I can remember, insist on continuing in power. It is either by power that they allow you to rule, like they told Obasanjo. So, the major attack on Jonathan is that they were not allowed and Jonathan is still the President to the consternation of all. The Constitution says all parts of this country must agree, at least to a certain degree. You must win 25 per cent of the votes in at least two-thirds of the states to be elected president. So, whoever gets it becomes the next president. So, whether they like it or not, power must continue to go round.
The President was fully supported by the Igbo in 2011. Has he done enough to justify further support?
You know in this country, we are only but a part, one out of six, plus parts of the South-South. All Igbo speaking, supported him 100 percent. He is our cousin. It is left for us this time to ask ourselves: “This Presidency we have given him, has he done enough to merit a second term? It is a question we ask ourselves, it will not be done on the pages of newspapers. Also remember that when it comes to our choice, it is always a choice between what we have and what we want. In other words, if other political parties present somebody who is closer to the Igbo than Jonathan, we would make our choice.
But as it was then in 2011 between Jonathan and Buhari, who all he knows about Igbo land is civil war knowledge, and of course a president who is from next door, it is only natural. What is worrisome today is that Buhari is not even making any serious effort to integrate the Igbo into the top echelon of APC. Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, who used to stand beside Tinubu is no longer there. So, when they go for campaign in Igbo land who is going to lead them? Is it the Administrative Secretary? Definitely not. Chris Ngige is a Senator, he is the only one still standing.