National Conference report clear on ailing president
By Lawrence Enyogahsu
Chief Goddy Uwazurike, President Emeritus of Aka Ikenga and a delegate at the last National Conference has stated that the report of the last national conference stipulated how long a president could be declared ill. He also said the clamour for Igbo presidency clamoured was in order, but that it would not favour the region.
According to Professor Ango Abdullahi, the North is ready for secession. Does it mean that they have come to terms that the country will be better off if its federating units choose to go their separate ways?
Prof Abdullahi is misleading us when he said the North is ready to secede. There is no ‘One North.’ Those that have been ruling Nigeria are the Hausa-Fulani. Military power resides with the Kanuris. In this government, the Fulani’s are fully in charge. So, when they say ‘We, the north,’ I am sure they are not talking for the Berom and those that have been slaughtered in Benue and southern Kaduna, they are not talking for the Tivs and Idomas. When someone sits in Zaria where he was once a Vice Chancellor and makes such a comment, he is just grandstanding. What I understood from what he said is that rather than allow the power to come to the south, the north will secede and I dare him to do so.
I dare him to really speak for the north, but I know he does not, and he won’t. He knows that the north needs the south. The economic power of this country rest in the south, even though the operators of those economic powers are from the north, by this, I mean the oil bloc. As long as the economic power is in the south and the political power in the hands of the Hausa-Fulani, there is nothing like secession for the north. To be real, where will their boundary be, when in almost every state you have pockets of Hausa-Fulani? They use these pockets to control the indigenes. This shouldn’t be. There must be power sharing. Power does not belong to anybody. Power must go round.
As you said that power must go round, do you think 2019 is South-East’s turn or should they wait for 2023?
2019 is achievable. I can tell you, in the struggle for power, nothing is impossible. You must say “I am” before people say “you are.” In other words, we from the southeast, we are ready. All we ask is the same understanding that was used in 1999 that produced Olusegun Obasanjo and Olu Falae, the same understanding that produced Muhammadu Buhari and Yar’Adua. We are not asking for much. Igbos are downtrodden. They are looking through the glass ceiling, while their counterparts from other ethnicities climb higher. They are denied for no better reason than where they come from. 2019 is achievable. I stand by it.
How can you say that Igbos are ready when some of them are already saying they should wait for 2023?
I thank God that I don’t belong to any political party so I can speak freely unlike Governor Rochas Okorocha who can’t speak freely. Whatever he says would be perceived as him speaking the mind of the party. As it is today, APC is still looking up to the man whose whereabouts is unknown expect that the man says he has extended his leave. Rochas can’t speak for Ndigbo. Igbos know themselves and they know their leaders and we speak with one voice, forget that once in a while we have some persons that will fall off the line and gesticulate as if Ndigbo is their command.
Who and what political pedigrees will Ndigbo consider in making a choice for 2019?
I don’t think there is anything exceptional about Ndigbo producing a president. But I say the person must be of Igbo origin, intelligent and wise to listen to the voice of the people. He must be sociable because Ndigbo alone can’t make him president. He must be ready to assuage the fears of the people. Igbos have built wealth for themselves with little or no government help; other tribes built with government loans and grants, not the Igbos. For these, he needs to be ready to allow others learn from him. An average Igbo man is hard working; it is that hard work he is bringing to the government. He would not relent because he knows that he is carrying the image of the entire Igbo race.
Can Igbo save this country from recession?
This I tell you, when an Igbo man becomes the president of this country, he would create a level playing ground. He is not going to favour Ndigbo with export grant. He would favour all that wants to establish here in the country. All an Igbo man wants is electricity and roads. It is painfully these are the things missing in the country, most especially in the south-east. These roads are federal roads, not states road. Therefore, if you provide the appropriate electricity, the Igbo man will do wonders. He does not need to travel to Lagos or Abuja for contracts. Igbo suffers for everything in this country and still makes it. What most people don’t like about the Igbo man is that he does not forgets where he is from. It is also in the nature of an Igbo man to be outspoken when things do not favour him.
Speaking of being outspoken, different groups have joined the southeast in demanding for a better Nigeria. Why are men of God not protesting?
That is not true, in my church last Sunday when the priest was preaching, anger was written all over him. He was asking why these people decided to kill us over faith. Many have asked the people to protect themselves. Let me put it this way, it is the primary responsibility of the government to protect the people. It is there in the constitution of the country, they see it, but when they are in office, they become blind towards it. Look at the man in Kaduna State telling us how he paid off those who were killing people. He didn’t arrest them, he paid them off. Other are there justifying the killings. Like he said some years ago, that some of those who were killed previously offended their killers. In the court, killing is murder and to the best of my knowledge, no Fulani person is facing trial for the atrocities they are committing. The same federal government that declared that these people are not Nigerians did nothing but watching. What is the DSS doing? If these marauding killers are not Nigerians, the government needs to send the military after them because what they did is invasion. They are invading part of Nigeria. The military should go after the invaders and leave pastors and Biafra agitators alone.
If it is in the constitution that invaders should be tackled with the military, is it in our constitution that the senate can relieve President Buhari of his office over his unknown health status?
I will give you a straight forward answer. The president rules under the constitution until his term of office expires, or he resigns, or he is impeached. Impeachment is the one that requires explanation. There are two types of impeachment. There is one that can be initiated in the National Assembly which needs a vote of one-third of the house to commence procedures and a finally two-third vote to implement it.
The other instance is where the president is ill and unable to perform his duties as president. In such case, the cabinet is mandated to pass a resolution by a certain number and taken to the National Assembly where a panel would be set up and doctors, including the personal physician of the president will verify his health status. If they find out that the president is ill, then the same National Assembly will vote. In all of this, there is always a role to be played by the chief justice of the country. As it is today, under our constitution, the president is expected to transmit power to the vice president. We thank God he has done that, but only for him to extend it, this time, indefinitely. At the national conference, we deliberated on this and we made it very clear that it is not supposed to be ad infinitum as is the case now. Unfortunately, the national conference findings have not been implemented.